My last post was about Profile building. I have noticed that while a good deal of effort is put into the profile, one area that gets severely neglected is the LOR (Letter of Recommendation). However, this is one of the most critical aspects of your child’s application!
So here’s what you should do to make sure you get this aspect right.
Step 1 : Start Early – Within the first 3 months of grade 11, you should help your child identify the teachers/mentors who can help with a recommendation. The mentors should belong to the following categories:*
a) Subject Teachers – Identify at least 2 teachers relevant to the course you are applying for. Eg: A psychology student can select psychology, sociology, Bio, English -any of these teachers.b) School counsellor/Principalc) Extracurricular mentor-Eg Piano teacher, industry mentor, Research mentor or internship supervisor.
Step 2 : Engage– The engagement must be primarily from the student’s side, but parents can help too. Fix regular meetings with the mentors. Converse with them and familiarize them with the kind of person the child is. If the child is involved in any activities outside the school, make sure the mentors are well aware of these.
Step 3 : Suggest- Contrary to popular belief, most mentors are open ,and in fact appreciate suggestions for the LOR. So if you are able to build a rapport with them over a period of time, it will definitely help.
Now, for some desirable inclusions in the LOR : The SUBJECT LOR should talk about your proficiency and interest in the subject. Mentioning a few specific areas helps. For eg.” XYZ is particularly interested in the Computational aspect of physics” Any subject research or project should be discussed with the subject teacher. In fact, take his/her help. Mentors would take pride in talking about a student if they have been an important part of the journey.
The COUNSELLOR /PRINCIPAL LOR must talk about you as a person. Certain strengths in your personality should be highlighted (WITH SUPPORTING INFO).For eg : “I have observed XYZ to be a highly sensitive and empathetic child.I have often seen her interact with and assist the school staff ”.
The EXTRACURRICULAR LOR must again talk about your proficiency in the area, but also highlight your special skills. For Eg: Team spirit for sports, poise and grace for performing arts, leadership or logical skills for projects etc.
Remember the LOR is a portrait of your child by his/her present mentors for the future mentors. Make sure you paint the right picture!!!