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so when we're reading a recommendation letter what we're looking for is what what kind of presence you are in a classroom and that's very important to us because ultimately what a university is is it's a lot of classrooms it's a lot of people looking to discover new knowledge teachers that can give anecdotes about a student in the classroom can be really helpful because we're trying to imagine this student in our classroom and we're wondering if this is a student that always is speaking up and always raising their hand you know the person the student that the teacher would ask to watch the class if they had to leave their room for a minute or if this is the student who's fairly quiet and only speaks once in a while but when that student speaks it kind of turns the conversation on its head what I recommend for students to do and for you to do in this process would be to sit down with that teacher and maybe even give them four or five bullet points of you know why you wanted them to write your letter of recommendation remind them what you did in their class right so loved the the group work that was a real favorite of mine it felt like that really gave me a chance to do some teaching in the class as well as learning or that paper that I wrote on Twain James and how I felt was a good you know representation of my writing ability or you know I really felt like that group project that we had to do you know allowed me to both be a participant but also a leader you know and really again remind them of what you did in the class so they can write a much more personalized letter the last thing in the world you want to get is sort of a template sort of a letter where you know they're sort of plugging in things about good student we you know always gets the work done works hard the biggest thing we see with recommendation is what we call the template recommendation which is basically a very kind of form recommendation and all they need to do is kind of take out the names the activities you know some of the personal attributes and replace them in order to describe one person but also describing twenty people so to really help your teachers write a terrific letter recommendation that doesn't look like a template you really want to get specific with those examples you know really let them know who you are remind them who you were in their classroom because basically admissions officers they like those anecdotes they like the specificity that's really going to help them you know understand you in the context of that classroom another thing that I look for a lot in recommendations is something I call separating so as your teacher saying this is a top student in ten years are they separating you from the group or are they saying this is a this is a good student both of those are fine but you know one does suggest that you are doing something extraordinary in the classroom that's making you stand out from the crowd