fbpx Getting ready for the Digital SAT? ENROLL in INSIGHT'S 2024 Digital SAT Summer Classes!

Tips for Strong Letters of Recommendation

For students thinking about getting letters of recommendation for their college application, it can tricky to figure out how to best go about the process. We are here to help answer all of your letter of rec questions, and guide you on how to be in the BEST position to receive strong letters! 


One of the first thing we notice is that students seem to think there is some kind of “silver bullet” or secret equation to getting a strong letter of recommendation. Really, all it boils down too is being a good “classroom citizen”. 


What does that mean? Well, it means you don’t necessarily have to have an “A” grade in a class to get a strong letter of recommendation. And in fact, you might have an A in a class and still NOT get a strong letter of recommendation, because the teacher doesn’t know you very well – you showed up, got good grades on tests, and that was that!


A letter of recommendation is NOT about your academic performance. Colleges learn about that through your transcripts, looking at the classes you signed up for, your standardized tests results – they have all kinds of ways to get information about what kind of student you are from an academic perspective. A letter of recommendation is about your character and your personality. 


I strongly recommend that you take a look at the Common Application recommendation form by clicking HERE. Scroll down to the “Recommendation Letter” section, and here you can see the suggestions of what your teachers will be invited to write about in your letter. They are things like maturity, integrity, concern for others, contributing to class discussions, etc.  So, knowing those are the factors your teacher will be writing about, a good classroom citizen is someone that is exhibiting all of those factors every day.


In fact, if you are struggling in a class, engaging in this type of positive behavior can be a really great way of building a strong relationship with your teacher. If they see that you are working toward really overcoming struggles in the class and grappling with the material, it shows a dedicated side to you as a student. Some of the best letters of recommendation we have seen is from students that asked their teachers for help, and really worked toward improving their grades and work in a class. 


Letters of recommendation are really just someone putting pen to paper and writing down what they know about your personality. If you think about all areas of your life, you always want to be behaving in a way that would invite people to say great and positive things about you, should someone ask! 


All the best, 

Team Insight 


Blog Post

What Are Insight Students & Parents saying?
  • I liked the structured method by which Zach approached the whole admission process. First, there was research into colleges to make a list, then a rigorous back and forth on […]

  • Priya was absolutely amazing to work with! We are thrilled that our son got into his top choice for college at LMU for the undergraduate business program. We couldn’t have […]

  • Thank you so much for helping me formulate my thoughts into words and help me write my essays. I got into Ut Austin for biology – still waiting for the […]

  • I just wanted to thank you again for your help during the college admission process. My family and I have been scrambling to figure out the process for years, and […]

  • I really couldn’t have gotten to Harvard without you. In shock. Thank you x10000000000000! I have the best college counselor in the world!

  • I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time out of your day to organize a meeting with me and help me in writing my summer program essays. […]

  • I just got my SAT scores on Friday, and I am happy to let you know that I scored an 800 on both the Biology-M and Math II tests. Thank […]

  • Our ACT instructor methods were so helpful and wonderful to have.

  • Zach, thank you so much for helping me become a confident and successful writer

  • We were extremely happy throughout the process – got much more than what we invested in Insight counseling.

Contact Us