Teacher Tell All: “Will you write me a rec letter for college?”

By Maxine Seya

SAT and ACT scores might seem like an artifact of the past, but one thing hasn’t changed since Covid: letters of recommendation.

In fact, high quality letters of recommendation matter even more now than in pre-pandemic times.

It’s easy to use Covid’s lockdowns and other restrictions as an excuse to not do homework or quit extracurriculars like sports and music. But college admissions officers want to admit students who, despite the adversity brought upon by the pandemic, continued to strive for excellence in and out of the classroom.

The best way to check if a student rose above the difficult circumstances of remote learning, cancelled activities, limited socialization and kept persevering?

Seeing the student’s passions, commitments, and contributions spoken about not only by the student him or herself, but also by trusted adults: teachers, counselors, and coaches. This is through the letter of recommendation.

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This week, a high school social science teacher gives us the inside scoop on 4 things to consider as you’re requesting letters of recommendation.

Time

Well-crafted letters take thought and time. In addition to their daily teaching tasks, teachers juggle many hats, serving as academic or athletic coaches, advising clubs, and serving on district-wide committees. In order to write an effective letter of recommendation, teachers need time.

Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.

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