Securing the college letters of recommendation is a big part of the college application process. It can be a daunting task for many students. It may be the first time they have ever asked for a reference. They may also not understand the importance that these letters bring to their college application package. College recommendation letters are an important component to most schools in evaluating the student’s application. It gives the admissions committee some insight into the student that is not visible via their academic and testing data.

Schools look for students who can perform academically but who will also bring some substance and diversity to their campus. They don’t need an entire campus filled with star athletes or talented musicians. They also need students who will become involved and contribute to the campus community. College admissions departments look for students who have shown commitment to their own particular passion. Involvement in extracurricular activities is one area that they evaluate, but the college recommendation letter can help them to look at the more personal attributes of the candidate. The letter of recommendation that accompanies the application can enlighten them on aspects of the applicant such as character, personality, motivation, creativity and family values. It can also speak to any difficulties that the student has overcome or personal situations that have effected the student’s life. A well written letter of recommendation can really enhance the way that the admissions department views the overall person “beyond the paper application”. A good example of this is a student who may not have a lot of extracurricular activities listed but has worked throughout high school to earn money for their college education. The drive, maturity and desire to further their education can be highlighted through a thoughtful letter of recommendation from a faculty member who has seen this “other side” of the student.

In light of how the letter of recommendation is used by admissions departments, it is important that a careful thought process goes into who the student asks for the college recommendation letter. Yes, colleges give you a standard that is usually 2 teacher recommendations. However, it may be important for the student to request a reference letter from someone outside the high school community. In the case of the student who worked full time throughout high school, a letter from his supervisor at work could add some real dimension to their application. Perhaps an alumni from one of the schools to which they are applying has made an impact in their decision to apply to that school. Another possibility is obtaining a recommendation letter from someone who knows you from outside community service involvement or from your church. You do not want to flood the admissions office with letters. However, in some cases, it may prove important to ask for an outside college recommendation letter from a source who can speak on additional factors that may have impacted the student’s high school experience.

For specific information on who to ask, how to ask and when to ask for your college recommendation letter, check out

Author's Bio: 

Carol is married with four grown children whose family loves to celebrate everything! She works full-time as an account executive. Carol has been active with the kids and all their activities over the years. She served as a PTA President as well as President of numerous school booster clubs and sat on both school advisory boards as well as scholarship selection committees. Her favorite hobby now that the kids are all on their own or off to college is her web site: Celebration Ideas Online. It was started as an album of family celebrations and has since developed into a resource center for anyone looking for celebration ideas. Her site also has good advice on the celebrating the college search and application process, developing Booster Club ideas and making GREAT college care packages. Visit Celebration Ideas Online and start creating your own terrific family celebrations and traditions.