August 19, 2012, 9:27am, Topics: essays, resume, early application, recommendations

Here are seven steps to follow that will make asking for, and receiving recommendations an easy process.

  • Ask Early! As soon as you arrive at school in the fall, stop by the counselor office and teachers' rooms to say hello and ask them to complete the application form applicable to them. Be sure to smile and appropriately "make nice." If the person says yes, then let him or her know how much you appreciate their willingness to write on your behalf and that you will be providing information that will make his or her job easier.

  • Within the first couple weeks of fall semester, provide the counselor and teachers with:

    • Any informational materials they ask you to complete; e.g., a questionnaire, a copy of your transcript, application essays, etc.

    • An up-to-date activities resume

    • Your college list, organized by application due dates. (Be sure to note if you plan to apply early.)

    • Ask the recommenders if they want you to them give reasons why you are interested in different colleges and be prepared to give them that information.

    • As soon as it is available, make sure that you complete your portion (usually the top) of the respective counselor and teacher forms online.

  • Make sure the information and materials you provide recommenders is neat and organized and get everything to them on schedule, if not early.

  • Some counselors and teachers like to complete hard copy recommendations. If that's the case, make sure that you provide them with an addressed (to the college admissions office), stamped envelope for every college to which they will be sending a recommendation.

  • Photocopy all materials you give to your recommenders.

  • If you apply early to colleges, sometime in November check in with your recommenders to make sure that they have sent in their forms. Then do this again once you have completed all of your applications.

  • Be sure to thank the counselor and teachers for whatever they have done for you during the application process. This is really important! Counselors and teachers are rarely thanked enough.