Scholars – August 2014 – Letter of Recommendation

Things To Do To Prepare For Your High School Senior Year

APicture106ugust is an exciting time for many students as they prepare for the next upcoming school year.  As you enter your senior year, the  more organized you are at the  beginning of the school year, the more you’ll have a chance to enjoy what you want to do throughout the year.  Here are some things you can do in August to prepare for your college planning process:

  1. Prepare Your College Admissions Planning Calendar Now is the time to keep track of everything regarding the upcoming SAT/ACT testing dates, college admissions process, college scholarship deadlines as well as your high school activities.  Get a monthly calendar and write in all of the required deadline dates.  Be sure to schedule your exam dates and submit the required fees in time to meet the deadlines so you can take the standardized test.
  2. Meet With Your H.S. Counselor To Review Your Class Schedule. Make sure that the classes you are taking will satisfy the high school graduation requirements as well as the college admission requirements.  Be sure to ask your HIFE Coach to assist you in this area.
  3. Categorize Your College Selection Criteria. Divide your college selection into two categories:
    1.  Targeted Colleges – schools that you would like to attend but you are unsure if you can get accepted due to admission requirements;
    2. Realistic Colleges – schools you know for sure that you will be accepted. Your HIFE Coach can provide you with guidance as you research the different  admission requirements based on the major that you have selected.  Be sure to give yourself enough time for this research.
  4.  Apply For Scholarships Many scholarships application are accepted between August through November and therefore by getting a jump start on this will give you a better chance of being awarded.  Ask your HIFE Coach for a listing of the different scholarships available that you can potentially qualify for and should apply to.

Message From The Dean Bob Fulcomer

We have had an increased in the number of enrollments in our HIFE College Planning Program  in the last several weeks and this is due to the recent launching of our HIFE CPP National Live Webinar. We encourage all students, parents as well as our HIFE College Consultants to take advantage of this opportunity to listen in to our national trainer as he conducts the live webinar on college planning.

Our HIFE CPP National Live Webinar is scheduled twice a month on a Thursday at 7pm.

Be sure to check for the upcoming schedule and register ahead of time since there are limited spaces available for each session. Simply go to our website at: www.hifeusa.org and click on “National HIFE CPP Live Webinar.”


Strategies In Getting Letters Of Recommendation

As high school students begin applying to different colleges and universities during this time of year, many will notice that practically all college applications require letters of recommendation.  Here are some important and effective strategies in acquiring letters of recommendation that you should keep in mind:

  1. Take Pride In Your Work: If you are taking a certain class, assigned a project, engaging with a team, working at a job or volunteering in your community, always remember that your reputation is at stake.  So whatever you do, do it to your best ability and take pride in it.  Avoid complaining, whining, or having a negative attitude towards the task at hand because the people around you will always remember those things.  Try to be more proactive, take initiative, bring ideas, make sacrifice, be positive and a great motivator so that your peers or superiors will take notice of the value you bring to them and you will create a very good reputation that will make a great impression in their mind.
  2. Who You Should Ask: One of the biggest mistakes most students make is asking the wrong person for a letter  of recommendation.  Although it would sound obvious to get someone with a prestigious background or has credible influence, unless you know them personally or have a close relationship with them, it may not help you at all. Consider someone who you have had experience in demonstrating your work ethics or leadership skills. Perhaps a coach, a teacher, a church pastor or a supervisor, who can provide a detailed description of the impact you have on them or the community.  A senator or a famous celebrity may sound very impressive, but make  sure that they know you well enough that they can provide you with a genuine letter to express your value.  Reminder: be sure not to ask your  parents or relatives to write the letters.  Ask your HIFE Coach for guidance if you get stuck on this.
  3. Ask In Person: An email is less personal and can decrease your chance for a timely response. Let the recommender know you’ll email your request after you’ve asked them in person. This will also give you the opportunity to review your request and allow them time to think of questions.  In your verbal and/or email request, remind your recommender of the situations in which they have worked with you.
  4. Get “Enough” Letters Of Recommendations: You can never get enough letters of recommendations to build up your resume.  Try to get as many letters as you can especially when you have an opportunity to ask while things are still fresh in their mind.  Perhaps you have just completed a project, a summer job or a class where you have excelled in and have shown or proven your value or contribution – this is a perfect time to request for those letters.  Some of the letters  may be applicable now while others may be applicable in the future and therefore continue to build it up for your future use.  Having 8-10 letters may be a good start but try to build it up to 15-20 for your future use.
  1. Clarify Specifically What You Need To State: When you are asking someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, let them know what it is for so that they have an idea of what to write.  Quite often, letters of recommendations seem useless because it does not define specifically “enough” to bring value to the evaluator. Remind the recommender to provide in the letter:  the date/ time of events when you worked or completed the task/ job; the situation that demonstrated your skills; what contributions you made to the team or project; how you handled the situation or problem; how long it took you to complete the task; what was the conclusion of the assignment or design; or how you worked with others during that time.  By providing ideas or the purpose of the letter, you will be able to make it easier for the recommender to get started on the letter immediately.
  1. Be Polite And Provide Ample Time To Have The Letter Written: Don’t expect to have a letter within a week from the time you ask.  Perhaps 4-6 weeks in advanced maybe a reasonable time for the recommender to prepare. Be respectful of their time and do not be too demanding.  Be sure to add additional time allowance (perhaps 2 weeks) just in case you may encounter certain deadlines to meet. Just be sure to let the person you are asking of when you would need the letter.  Don’t be shy to let them know that you will contact them at a certain to remind them of the due date.
  1. Be Sure To Provide A Self-Stamped Envelope With Proper Address: To make it easier for the person whom you are asking to write the letter of recommendation, simply provide them with a self- stamped envelope with the proper address as to where you would want the letter sent to.
  1. Have Someone Review The Letters Of Recommendation Before You Submit: Work with your HIFE Coach or someone you trust to see if the letter that you plan on submitting would make sense for the particular school.  It is always better for you to get a second opinion.
  1. Send A Thank You Letter To The Recommender: If someone is willing to take the time from their busy schedule to be kind enough to write you a letter of recommendation, the least you can do is to simply write a “thank you letter” as a gesture of appreciation for their time and kind words.  Get in a habit of this practice so that you  can gain the respect of others in the future.
  1. Keep Everyone Updated It is important that you take the time to let everyone know the status of your college application to let them know whether you had success in getting accepted in the college of your choice. If you anticipate to ask for additional letters in the future, be sure to send them some updates about your progress.By utilizing some of these strategies, you will be more comfortable in asking others for recommendations in the future.

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