You will want a recommendation that will complement the background information and essay you are submitting in your application. The best recommendation letters come from someone who can speak to your accomplishments beyond just the facts. Someone—other than a parent—with whom you have established a connection and who can provide a personal story or anecdote about you that adds insight to your unique qualities.
Here are key strategies to help get a great recommendation letter:
A Tale of a Bad Recommendation:
While serving on a scholarship selection committee, one of the recommendation letters we received was from a high school counselor praising the student’s academic and athletic accomplishments. Unfortunately, the sport and scholastic achievements didn’t match what was in the student’s application information. The soccer star was now a gymnast. Instead of debate, the student was highly involved in student government. The counselor had a form letter and had used another student’s information.
This is a good example of a bad recommendation. Impersonal and inaccurate, it got our attention for all of the wrong reasons. Often you won’t be able to see the recommendation letter that someone submits on your behalf, but you can take steps to avoid this scenario happening to you.