Admission Tips from a UPenn Junior: How I Chose My Recommenders

November 11, 2013

Typically I am strongest in math and science subjects; those grades usually speak for themselves - I usually receive A’s in those subjects and I took my AP’s in the science, math and history courses.

I decided to ask the teachers from my weakest subjects. I anticipated that the colleges would see my transcript and this was an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. I asked my Latin and English teachers. My freshman year Latin grade was my lowest grade in high school. In senior year I received an A in Latin. I was able to demonstrate that I could face a challenge and succeed.  The other letter of recommendation came from an English teacher, again one of my weakest subjects. But I was able to finish in senior year with an A-.   While they were initially my weakest subjects, I was able to illustrate my ability to work hard and efficiently to reach a goal.  (Even if you don’t finish with an “A” range grade as long as you show significant improvement, I would recommend this strategy)

Both teachers were very happy to write a letter on my behalf and I discussed with them the issues I mentioned earlier and they both focused on the growth demonstrated from my hard work. I think seeing my determination to do better was very important to these teachers.

I asked them 8 weeks before I needed the letters. I wanted to make sure that I gave them enough time and was mindful and respectful of their time. They did not have to rush; they appreciated the extra time and prepared a strong letter.

They did not let me see the letters, nor did I not ask them. I wanted them to feel that if I asked them to write on my behalf that I trusted them to write favorable letters. When you ask someone to write a recommendation letter, you should at the very lease trust that they will write a letter highlighting your most positive characteristics.

- Drew (to receive a $10 credit use the referral code DREWB when signing up)



Browse Successful Application Files

Lia_Columbia
Columbia ‘19


Accepted to Columbia

I'm a student at Columbia. I love writing, activism, terrible jokes, and binge-watching Netflix. Aspiring English teacher.
uhoh29
JHU ‘19


Accepted to JHU, Cornell, Northeastern, Fordham, UMD, Wisconsin, Temple

Senior Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins majoring in English and Writing Seminars
cjjo96
Barnard ‘18


Accepted to Barnard

Barnard '18 | My passions lie in education, psychology, and human rights, all from the lens of an African Studies major. My transcript and application were far from conventional, but neither am I.
Bhenrique
UC Berkeley ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, NYU

Passionate about Education. Lover of all things science!

New Posts

Student Insight: Transition to College
Student Insight: Transition to College
June 18, 2018

All college-bound students have some jitters about going to college for the first time. Let’s try to help you settle in more easily with these tips from current college students. There are a lot...

Emory University: Essay Topics & Personal Statement Examples
Emory University: Essay Topics & Personal Statement Examples
June 13, 2018

Applying to Emory University this fall? If you are just getting started on your application essays, get some inspiration from these successful essay excerpts:1. Overcoming Personal StruggleEssay Excerpt from DooleypeanutsEmory University ‘22 Neuroscience and Neurobiology “The...

5 Tips to Help You Look for Scholarships this Summer
5 Tips to Help You Look for Scholarships this Summer
June 11, 2018

Summer after junior year in high school is a great time for you to start looking and applying for scholarships. Why? You’ll get more for your efforts. It’s not something most applicants are...

The ABCs of the ACT
The ABCs of the ACT
June 06, 2018

When you’re starting your ACT prep, sifting through test materials can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of information, both helpful and unhelpful, about the exam out there. So how do you know where...

Load More Posts