Requesting Letters of Recommendation Isn’t Simple

Asking for any help requires confidence. And, when asking for letters of recommendation, students must trust that the teachers and counselor will add dimension to their carefully curated application, including a resume of activities developed over years and autobiographical essays drafted over many hours.  Thus, when students are required to fill out multi-page packets detailing their experience, attaching rough drafts…

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Dear Teachers Who Write Letters of Recommendation

Thank you for writing numerous letters every year, often an extra duty added to an already lengthy list of duties.  When teaching, it took me a while to figure out how to write a letter of recommendation, piecing together advice from more veteran colleagues. So, having asked many different admissions officers about useful letters of recommendation over the two decades…

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What the University of California test-free policy means for applicants

Given the University of California (UC) test-free admissions policy, potential UC applicants will need to rethink how they prepare for admissions as well as frame their qualifications when applying, as subjectivity in admissions evaluations will likely increase: As more students may be emboldened to apply, especially those who believe standardized test scores do not reflect their aptitude, thus increasing applicant…

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College Admissions Officers’ Advice about Letters of Recommendation

As a part of college applications, a recommender’s job is sharing anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the dimension and strength of a student’s character. And, in the age of COVID, when admissions evaluations may be more subjective without a standardized test score being required, recommenders can present the students’ qualifications for admissions.  To assist counselors and teachers in writing their recommendations,…

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New COVID Related Questions on The Common App

In order for students to provide a complete and thorough summary of their achievements and qualifications for admissions, The Common Application added two new questions to the form. The Common Application is an online application utilized by almost 900 public and private universities across the US and internationally, which make applying to college more efficient for first year and transfer…

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UC Berkeley Adds Letters of Recommendation for Fall 2016 Freshman Admissions

For Fall 2016 freshmen admissions, the University of California Berkeley will be accepting up to two letters of recommendation from selected applicants. In November 2015, some applicants will received emailed invitations to submit letters of recommendation.   Submitting the letters of recommendation will be optional; therefore, no freshman applicant, including those who do not receive an invitation, will be disadvantaged for…

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Online Grading Systems: Friend or Frenemy?

The typical public high school teacher is responsible for 160 students and teaches at least two different classes–e.g. AP English 11 and Honors English 9–with multiple sections of each course, for example: 3 periods of AP English 11.    So, what does this have to do with an online grading system?   If one assignment is given for our hypothetical…

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