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Are counselor recommendations mandatory for college apps?

Junior here trying to get a handle on everything for college apps 😅. I have teachers in mind for rec letters, but I'm not sure about my counselor. We haven't interacted much. Do all colleges require a recommendation from your counselor, or can you get by without one?

7 months ago

Hey there! It's great that you're already thinking ahead about your college applications. To answer your question, most colleges do require a recommendation from your school counselor as part of the application process. The counselor's letter is usually designed to give colleges an overview of you within the context of your school environment, your class choices, and often provides insight into your academic and personal development over time.

If you haven't interacted much with your counselor, don't worry! It's still possible to get a meaningful recommendation, especially since, as noted above, their letter is more about providing overall context for your application than speaking about your specific strengths and weaknesses as a student, which is what your teachers will be writing about. Colleges also understand that many counselors are working with a large number of students, and thus getting to know each other on a deep level may simply be unrealistic.

To further alleviate your concern, try to schedule a meeting with your counselor to discuss your academic record, your goals, and any extracurricular activities you're involved in. This will give them a better understanding of who you are beyond your file, and they can then write a more personalized recommendation. So, while this requirement may not be your favorite thing, use this as an opportunity to help your counselor advocate on your behalf by providing them with the information they need to represent you well.

Best of luck with your applications!

7 months ago

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