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What's the best strategy for getting strong letters of recommendation for Cornell?

As I'm compiling my application for Cornell, I'm realizing I need to nail the Letters of Recommendation part. Any advice on how to approach my teachers or how to guide them to write a recommendation that aligns with Cornell's values? Do they look for something particular in a student through these letters?

7 months ago

I'm so glad you're giving careful thought to your letters of recommendation for Cornell! A good strategy is to start early and choose teachers who know you well, not just in terms of academic performance, but also your personal qualities and how you contribute to the school community. It's helpful to provide your recommenders with a resume or a brief overview of your extracurriculars, academic interests, and any specific anecdotes they might include that showcase your learning process or moments where you've demonstrated leadership and problem-solving skills.

Since you have to apply to one of the specific undergraduate schools at Cornell, a good strategy could be to have at least one of your recommenders relate to your academic interests in some way. For example, if you are applying to the Business School, you could have your AP Macroeconomics professor write about your passion for economics and financial markets. Or, if you are applying to Arts & Sciences as a biology student, try and get your favorite science teacher to write your letter.

Remember to discuss your interest in Cornell with your recommender and how you see yourself contributing to their campus. Share what excites you about the possibility of studying there. This way, your recommender can tailor the letter to reflect the attributes Cornell appreciates, such as intellectual curiosity, commitment to community, and leadership.

Regarding Cornell's values, they tend to look for students who are not only academically competent but also individuals who will bring a unique perspective and actively engage with the Cornell community. A recommender who can speak to your potential in these areas, perhaps with examples of your past initiatives or challenges you've overcome, would be providing the kind of insights that could make your application stand out.

Lastly, remember to write a thank you note to your recommenders. They are investing time and effort to support your future, and this gesture of appreciation is always well received.

7 months ago

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