Letters of Recommendation
Most colleges require at least one recommendation from a school official, and many require more than that. The “school recommendation” is written by your college counselors. Additional recommendations usually need to be from teachers at EPS. In addition, letters may be sought from current or former employers, coaches, church or other civic organization leaders, or even alumni of the particular college. The main criteria in a useful letter are that the writer knows you well and they can add information not already included in your file.
The counselor recommendation is intended to describe the applicant from a “whole-school” perspective. Your counselors work together to write a one- to two-page narrative describing your accomplishments and role in the Eastside Prep community.
Many colleges require additional recommendation letters from teachers. The purpose of these letters is to describe you as a student, and specifically how you perform and contribute to the classroom environment. Colleges read these letters to understand who you are in the classroom—not for holistic knowledge of you as a person.
Consider carefully which teachers (generally limited to those who taught you in 11th or 12th grade) best know you as a student. A good teacher recommendation need not come from the course in which you received your highest marks. Teachers who have seen your best effort and can vouch for your abilities and attitude in the classroom are the best choices to write for you.
As stated above, there are numerous sources for other letters to support your application, though in many cases schools want only teacher and counselor recommendations. Those who know you in a context other than academics may be able to add significantly to the “picture” being created in your application. Be mindful of two key thoughts in assembling these letters:
- Additional letters beyond the counselor/teacher letters are not essential.
- Quality is of far more importance than quantity.
Choose (at most) two other people who know you well and can add points that are not covered previously in your application.