International students- how do you get your recommendations from teachers?

<p>I go to an average highschool abroad where I am the only student preparing for college in the US. Therefore, teachers here overall are incapable of writing recommendations in English, and even the teachers who teach English are limited in some aspects.</p>

<p>I heard about students from other schools who were also applying to study abroad (outside my country) who took the option of coming up with a list of objectives and contents that teachers could add and chose to get the recommendations written in native language to be translated by another person.</p>

<p>How does this work? </p>

<p>Also, what are some ways I could inform the teachers about writing recommendations?
The most common form of recommendations here are short comments (one or two setences about students performance) and another is a "student recommendation" for students applying to colleges within my country. For both of them, the format and the content is very different from recommendations that most teachers in US write.</p>

<p>For example, the contents are generally academically based, and a lot of general statements complimenting the student are found through out the letter that I found this quite different from sample letters I've read which usually consisted of more personal experience focusing on the individual and defined more of who the student actually is.</p>

<p>Despite the differences in the process, many teachers advised me that it would be helpful if I could bring a "sample letter" that they could refer to. I googled many times for a good example, but could decide what makes a good recommendations because I myself am not very much acquainted with rec letters as well. </p>

<p>I'll sum up major questions I have :</p>

<ol>
<li>How did you ask for recommendation letters at schools that are not familiar with US college admissions? </li>
<li>If your teacher does not speak English or is limited in his or her abilites, how do you come up with a valid English recommendation?</li>
<li>What are some ways I could either come up with a "sample letter" (translate into my first-language and show the teachers)? Are there any books? (I can't translate the entire book though :() What materials did you find helpful?</li>
<li>What are some contents that teachers must include besides academic excellence?</li>
<li>What is the format like? How does it portray the student?</li>
</ol>

<p>I know this sounds so hectic :(</p>

<p>It would be a great help if you could answer all five, but I'd appreciate it even if you're only able to answer a few.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>I'm sure that if you were applying to university in your own country the teachers would have to write recommendations, so it should be the same. Alternatively, just ask them to write what they would for a job application etc.</p></li>
<li><p>I come from the UK, but I assume you could get them professionally translated?</p></li>
<li><p>See Q1.</p></li>
<li><p>Committment, enthusiasm, sense of humour etc. Anything you want the school to know about you.</p></li>
<li><p>Mine were just like an essay - a couple paragraphs summing me up.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Apparently, you're from a European country and I am not...
What I was concerned about is that the way teachers write recs are some of the things most people advise not to do such as:</p>

<p>lists of generalization and praise</p>

<p>"lolononojo was an excellent student in my class and it was an honor...
was a hard worker... great commitment ... "
and it would be pretty much the same even if it were written for another student
because the application process at my country just requires "good"reviews from a teacher but nothing really more than that ...</p>

<p>That's why I thought about comming up with a sample letter or list of things to be aware of to help the teachers know about the difference between my country's format and US format....</p>

<p>hmm.. are there anyone familiar about getting recs from non-English speaking teachers??</p>

<p>hey, Im an international student who applied to the US last year.
I don't quite understand what you mean by asking: "How did you ask for recommendation letters at schools that are not familiar with US college admissions? "
I told them that it was a favor they could do in order to support my application, and I told them about the points they should mention. If you google it, you will see tons of information on this topic. The main points to remember is that: It should not mention any negative things about you, rather, it should concentrate on your positive attributes. But really, google it, and you will not only find lots of sample recommendations but also some good advice! but very important, that in the U.S. they want specific examples (!!!!) in the recommendations not only general things which could be true for anyone else. If you find a page on the internet with the most important factors about recommendation writing, you shoudl translate it to the teacher, and also, translate them a sample essay from the internet. Then, you could also give them some ideas, some specific events which they could mention as examples for your support.</p>

<p>You do not necessarily have to pay for someone professional to translate your recommendation. My teachers actually wrote it in their (my) naive language and I translated them. It might not be 100% legal but nobody really cares. Universities dont expect you to pay 100s of dollars for all the translations you need (really, you will have to translate your transripts, recommendations, and also many many additional pages if you apply for financial aid). So I asked my teachers to write a recommendation, I translated them into English and sent it back to the teachers. They asked someone who spoke english to compare my translation with the one they wrote just to make sure that I didnt write completely different things. After this, they sent them to the colleges (or uploaded them to commonapp) as if they wrote them in English.
You will also need to help them when they fill out the online recommendation form where there are many things they are asked (e.g. how long ago have you known this student) in English, so you should be sitting next to them when they fill that out. Or at least that is what I did, and they didnt really care. </p>

<p>hope this was helpful, let me know if you need any more help.
Also, if you are having a hard time finding a sample essay on the internet, I could send you one of my recommendations, but strictly as a sample.</p>

<p>In my opinion, you should make a college list as soon as possible and contact each of your colleges with this question. Generic recommendations might put off an adcom, but if you can explain the situation and ask them what they think is best (they might suggest you get an addition recommendation from someone else who knows you well), you've impressed the adcom already. </p>

<p>They see that you're proactive in your college search, and keen on attending the college even though it is harder than it could be for you. When they get to your file, they will not judge you by your recommendations as much as they would if they didn't know about your teachers.</p>

<p>If you are a brilliant student, they'll certainly be able to discover that through other parts of your application.</p>

<p>Best of luck</p>

<p>ugwedteu: yup. I'm starting to email schools. Thank you.</p>

<p>ksanyee: Yes, I know exactly that specific examples matter! I was iffy on the part of whether I should do the translating or not... I guess it would work out finely enough.</p>

<p>My goodnes, how helpful you are!</p>

<p>I remember MIT has a template thing that very clearly outlines all elements of a recommendation letter. Go to: MIT</a> Admissions | Info For Schools & Counselors: Writing Evaluations</p>

<p>Ooooh! That might help :D</p>

<p>Pfft,btw I'm sure I'm not MIT material though :P</p>

<p>Hey i had the same problem as you this year. In my country the teachers dont write recommendation letters at all because it is not required to get into a university here. what i did was i chose the teachers i knew would write me good letters and be willing to spend the time and i explained to them basically what is needed to be written in the letter. i told them briefly about myself and what i do outside of school.
I would make sure to tell them how long the letter should be and to try and write a few personal things about you as well.
as for the translation i got my english teacher to translate them but you could also go to a professional and have it translated or do it yourself.</p>

<p>^That's basically how it is here too.</p>

<p>Btw, where was your high school?</p>