• Student Self Reflection Forms for College Recommendation Letters 
    In order to best support you, for me to write the best possible college recommendation letter for you, I ask that you please fill out a Student Self Reflection form. The more effort and thoughtfulness that you put into this, the better prepared I will be to write a stellar recommendation letter for you. Also, if you have one available please email me your resume at jeffreyhirsch@wpcsd.k12.ny.us.
    In addition, for your teacher recommendation letters:
    Here is the link to the Student Self Reflection form that should be filled out for both of the teachers who you have requested a letter of recommendation from. 

    This form assists your teacher in writing your recommendation letter. Your teacher recommendation(s) are a critical component to your college application and the more specific details that you can give them, the more thorough your college recommendation will be. 

    Here is an example of a thoughtful and thorough response to one of the questions.

  • Recommendation Letters 101

    Here is a PowerPoint that will give you a quick inside scoop to recommendation letters; who should write them, how many do you need, etc.

  • For Teachers 

    Please view this EXCELLENT video from Vanderbilt University on how to write a highly effective letter of recommendation and check out these excerpts from a the Vanderbilt University PowerPoint on effective letters of recommendation. 
    From the Director of Guidance and Counseling, Lesley Tompkins:
    "First and foremost, just as an effective student essay could not have been written by anyone other than that student, an effective recommendation for a particular student could not have been written about anyone else.  The colleges are relying on the counselor for a recommendation that describes the whole child.  The teacher recommendation should describe the student as learner, from your personal experience with that student.

    Conversely, never include information that has already been provided to the admissions officer on the transcript, resume or board score reports.  They will have already reviewed those documents, so it is redundant and a wasted opportunity to provide information that is not obtainable through viewing those source documents.

    Your recommendation should be approximately one page in length.  Too short is not good because you probably didn’t provide enough evidence of whatever characteristics you are claiming.  Too long and the rep will be unlikely to get through it and your most important points may be lost in the excess verbiage.  Grab the rep’s attention and then hold onto it for one clear and concise page, to a maximum of a page and a half of information.

    Do include a brief statement framing who you are and your relationship with the student.  For example, “I have been an English teacher for 14 years, 4 of them at this school.  Suzie was a student in my junior AP Language class last year.”

    Things to think about when writing about a student.  You don’t have to cover them all, but think about them when you sit down to write.

    • How was my class different on days this student wasn’t present?   What, specifically, did he/she contribute to the class?
    • What would this student likely contribute (be specific and provide anecdotal evidence) to a college campus?
    • In what specific way is this student exceptional among all of those students you have taught?
    • How did this student respond to setbacks or criticism?  Be specific and provide anecdotal evidence.
    • How would you gauge this student’s intellectual ability and aptitude compared to other students you have taught?  Provide specific examples to illustrate your claim.
    • Describe specific incidents that evidence the student’s intellectual curiosity.
    • Do you know of instances where the student’s engagement has transcended the classroom?  Describe incidents where the student extended his/her involvement through participation in learning opportunities in the community, over the summer, etc., that directly impacted his/her knowledge of a subject and demonstrated a passion for learning."