Any Teacher Recommendation Advice?

<p>Hi everyone! I was just looking for some advice about teacher recommendations. I know I'm a little late, but I'm planning to get them done this week. I have a brag sheet done already and I was looking for some suggestions on how to format it. Some of my friends are just making a list and giving that to teachers, others are making tables describing their activities and how long they participated in them. I was also wondering what else I need to give the teachers? I have folders prepared already. I'm planning to put a copy of my brag sheet and then as many copies of the Common Application Teacher Recommendation Form as needed, as well as recommendation forms for the schools I'm applying to that don't accept the Common Application. I will also include a calendar with the deadline dates marked on it. I have also read that I should attach a short, one-paragraph explanation of why I want to attend each school that I'm applying to, but it sounded like too much to me. In your opinion, do you think it's necessary? Also, do you think it's necessary to include my GPA, class rank, SAT scores, and so on? I have also read that some people also include an essay or project that they completed in that teacher's class and a short blurb on what I enjoyed about the class as a refresher, but that sounded like too much to me too. Is it necessary?</p>

<p>Any advice would be very appreciated! Thank you!</p>

<p>you don't need to tell the teacher why for each school (unless they ask you directly). The schools are going to figure that out from your essays, interviews, etc. It doesn't add much to have the teacher say "Suzy tells me she wants to go to X because ..."</p>

<p>The teacher rec is to talk about you as a student and what they've observed of you in the class (interaction with peers, etc). A lot of the stuff your friends are doing is a waste of time. Why do the teachers need a list of activities? So they can say "Joe took part in X, Y, Z activities"? That's already on your app, the teacher repeating it adds nothing new. GPA, rank, etc. on the other hand CAN be useful because it lets the teacher put your performance in context at your school, especially useful if there is no counselor letter to the school.</p>

<p>BTW you didn't say you're planning on doing the most important thing in getting a rec, which is asking your prospective recommenders if they can write a strong letter for you. This is always appropriate, phrased politely of course. Every student should do this when asking for letters of rec. For example, "Am I a student you would write a strong letter of reccomendation for, or do you suggest I ask someone else?" Don't argue or question why if the answer is ask someone else, simply to thank the teacher for their honest answer.</p>

<p>If you could ask every teacher you ever had for their opinion of you, odds are good the result would not be the same from everyone. And sometimes a teacher you assume would like a kid (due to a high grade, for example) sees things differently. There is no shame or dishonor in deliberately selecting those who hold a favorable opinion to write a rec.</p>

<p>And while it can be uncomfortable for a student to ask a direct question like this to a teacher, it has to be done. In the book "The Gatekeepers" is an example of a bad rec.
There were times, I must admit,that I thought Tiffany might have taken a stronger interest in mastering the material in our course. When I saw that Tiffany was a National Merit Semi-Finalist I was a bit surprised. While clearly bright and competent, I had seen in Tiffany neither an exceptional skill for testing nor a particular affinity for the subject.


This rec could have been avoided if the teacher had been asked if they would write a strong rec. The student did not get in.</p>