You might be wondering if letters of recommendation are worth it? Today, I’ll give you the insiders view of letters of rec.
Who should get letters of recommendation? They can be very helpful for people who might be “on the bubble” which means they have the minimum college prep classes in high school, an OK gpa and an OK ACT. They can also be good for people who maybe had a rough time in high school or have extenuating circumstances.
How many letters of rec are appropriate? One or two typically. Three would be the maximum number…any more than that and the value added decreases.
Who should I have write the letters? Academic sources are preferred (teachers of college prep classes) but non-academic (counselors, employers) can be helpful too especially when someone has overcome difficult circumstances or had a big change in their high school career.
Honestly, some of the best letters of rec I have ever read were from teachers of subjects that the student didn’t do great in. What we are trying to determine when we make an admissions decision is whether or not the student is able to overcome obstacles (tough classes, time management, distractions etc) in order to graduate from UWGB. When you struggle in English yet your English teacher is willing to write a letter about how hard you work and your motivation despite the struggle…that’s a good letter. We are trying to pick the people most likely to be successful academically in college. Any evidence (eye-witness account) of a student being able to overcome challenges in high school are great letters. Letters of rec should fill in the gaps that your high school transcript and personal statement leave.
Letters that don’t help a whole lot are ones where the person doesn’t really know you, can’t give specific examples of how you will be successful in college, or letters that repeat things we already know from the transcript or your personal statement. The best way to make sure we get the letters of rec are to email them to us (make sure your name and date of birth are on the email!) firstname.lastname@example.org or have your high school mail them to us with your transcript.