Tuesday, July 1, 2014

For Students: Recommendation Letter Request Information

[Forgive the interruption to the regularly scheduled, Roberts-family programming, but I need to get some information out to my former students, and my school website will be defunct any day now, I suspect.]

Happy Summer, dear students! Whether you're about to be a senior or a junior, I hope you're resting up and having fun, because next year will be busy! 

(Womp womp, huh? Sorry to be a downer.)

Anyway, before the end of the year, a few of you had asked me for a recommendation letter, so I wanted to be sure you knew how to provide me with the right information so I can write you the best letter possible! 

Step One: ASK ME FIRST. If you asked me in person at GHS, it wouldn't be a bad idea to email me to remind me at lisa_kay_roberts@yahoo.com. I get really ticked off when I get a system-generated email from the Common App along these lines: "Tim Snootypants has identified you as someone willing to recommend him for college." Um, no you didn't, Mr. Snootypants. This is the first I've heard of this. Think again," I'll mutter as I angrily delete the message. Like seriously, I will ignore the request. So, be polite and ask me first. (Please note that asking me doesn't mean I will grant your request - I may not have time, and/or I may not feel comfortable endorsing you. 

Speaking of the CommonApp, ApplyTexas, etc.: be sure that you submit my personal email account (lisa_kay_roberts@yahoo.com), and NOT my gcisd.net account, as it is no longer active. Again: use my personal email account, lisa_kay_roberts@yahoo.com! 

Step Two: Provide me plenty of time and information.

Time: The more lead time you give me, the better! I would appreciate at least two weeks. Even without the teaching job, my new bosses are demanding, especially Kate, or as I like to call her, Diva McSassypants. WEARING. ME. OUT. :)

Information: In the words of Jerry Maguire, "Help me help you." And if you don't know what movie I'm talking about, keep it to yourself. I already feel really old these days. :)

  • Name of the college(s) to and/or scholarship(s) for which you're applying
    • Don't know yet? I can just write one "To whom it may concern." 
    • For scholarship recommendations: please provide the scholarship name and the criteria upon which you're being evaluated. If I know they want to reward students with strong intellectual curiosity and work ethic, I can beef up your letter with tales of your love of learning and conscientiousness. 
  • Three adjectives that best describe you. It would be a good idea to select positive ones. 
  • Academic details, including...
    • 1-2 assignments you did for my class on which you were particularly successful... or not. What did you learn? How did you grow? By sharing these reflections with me, I can brag about you in vivid detail. :)
    • Advanced classes you've taken so far and have signed up to take as a senior. Colleges like to see that you challenge yourself and don't take the easy route. 
  • What you do outside of academics: I like to speak to the whole person when I write recommendation letters, even though I don't coach* or sponsor the vast majority of you in an extra-curricular activity. (*That said, how HILARIOUS is it to imagine me as a coach? It would be a hot mess!) It would help if you provide me with a VERY informal resume - just a list of sports, clubs, leadership roles, jobs, etc. that occupy your time outside of GHS. 
  • Just why in the world do you think I should recommend you? You could have asked 15-20 teachers to write you a letter of recommendation, so why me? And why should I take time out of my life for little old you? :)
Questions? Email me at lisa_kay_roberts@yahoo.com. And, for what it's worth, in all likelihood I will use GoogleDrive to write your letter, so you'll help all of us out if you contact me using an address that is already GoogleDrive accessible (or just include your GCISD Student gmail address in your request email). 

Take care, guys and gals! :)

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