Blog 🍎 School 31st August 2023

How to Use BridgeU’s Strategy Advisor to Write a Letter of Recommendation

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Rebecca Hambery Schools Content Writer

During application season, teachers and counsellors will receive a lot of requests from their students for letters of recommendation. Luckily, BridgeU can help you streamline this process and ensure your students easily meet their deadlines with high-quality letters. 

So, how does it work?

Students are able to send all of their requests for letters of recommendation through BridgeU. Each email request from a student provides the counsellor or teacher with a link to upload the letter and all of the student’s applications.

This helps speed up the process of writing a recommendation for you and your team!

After counsellors and teachers have used BridgeU’s resources and the information provided about their students to complete the letter of recommendation, they can submit it directly to the university through BridgeU.

Receiving student requests through BridgeU

We’ve talked about how easy it is for students to send email requests through BridgeU. But now let’s discuss exactly how it works from your perspective as a teacher or counsellor.

The first step is for your student to email you a request for a letter of recommendation through BridgeU. Do you remember helping students use the Strategy Advisor while setting up their profiles? Well, that’s going to come in handy now. 

Students are guided through a three-step process that prompts them to think about different experiences they’ve had and how these can apply to their university applications. Then, when they finish, BridgeU creates a Strategy Report for them, detailing important experiences and how they could use them in their applications.

Once you receive a request from your student, BridgeU allows you to easily review their Strategy Report. Plus, you’ll be sent information about your student’s applications, including the universities they are applying to.

You’ll also receive additional information about letters of recommendation, including tips and tricks, examples, and helpful advice.

Tips for writing a high-quality letter of recommendation with BridgeU

Now that you know how to receive a request from your student and access their information, it’s time to start writing!

What is a letter of recommendation?

First, we’ll briefly talk about what a letter of recommendation is, as it’s important to understand what it’s used for if you’re going to write one. 

A letter of recommendation is a short document that is usually written by a counsellor or teacher talking about a student’s strengths. These letters are an important part of the application process as they provide universities with a holistic look at a student.

It’s a chance for counsellors and teachers to help universities understand a student’s passions, values, strengths, and goals.

Tip: We recommend keeping your letter of recommendation under 450 words.

What to include in an exceptional letter of recommendation

Now that we’ve talked about what a letter of recommendation is and why it’s required, keep reading for some tips and advice on how you can use BridgeU’s features to effortlessly draft your letters.

Tip: You can use the same letter for every university your student is applying to.

Include specific experiences your student has been through

If possible, include positive stories about your students. This is a good time to describe situations where a student has excelled – The Strategy Report will be helpful when you get to this stage.

Although we recommend using the Strategy Report, to make sure your letter doesn’t become too repetitive, you should also read through your student’s personal essay. This ensures your recommendation complements their essay while providing a fresh perspective.

For example, if a student wrote about participating in Model United Nations in their Strategy Report, you can go into more detail about it in their letter of recommendation.

Some questions to think about if you’re stuck include…

  • Has your student demonstrated a willingness to take intellectual risks and go beyond the normal classroom experience?
  • What is your student passionate about?
  • Has your student taken on any leadership roles?

What to avoid in a letter of recommendation

After using the Strategy Report to ensure each letter is specific to each student, here’s what you should avoid writing in a letter of recommendation.

For example, it’s important to avoid using generic words, such as quiet, as this won’t reflect the student in the best light. Describing your student as ‘an independent worker’ instead of ‘quiet’ can make a huge difference.

But if possible, try not to use only adjectives to describe your student. As we talked about previously, citing specific examples can help paint a picture of your student for admissions officers, helping them stand out from the crowd. 

If you’re having a hard time thinking of examples, you can ask yourself…

  • How does the student interact with teachers and classmates?
  • What is the context of your relationship with the student? 
  • What will you remember most about this student?

Use your answers to describe the student’s personality and social skills in their letter of recommendation. You might even remember some experiences to write about whilst brainstorming!

Free Resource: References vs Recommendations Cheat Sheet

Do you have students applying to multiple countries? Stay up to date with conventions with this easy comparison between a UK Reference Letter and a US Letter of Recommendation. Includes tips, tricks, and annotated examples!

Uploading a Letter of Recommendation to BridgeU

You’ve finally finished writing your letter of recommendation, and the only thing left to do is upload it and send it. Thanks to BridgeU’s integrations with the Common App, sending a letter of recommendation is easier than ever.

When you scroll to the bottom of your student’s request email, there will be an option to upload your letter. Make sure it’s saved as a PDF, and then you can upload it straight from your computer to BridgeU.

Then all you have to do is fill out the Common App form and click submit. If you notice a mistake later on, you can easily create a new version of your letter and reupload it using the same link.

If you’re interested in seeing BridgeU’s Strategy Advisor or Recommendation features in action, you can book a free demo below!

Book a free demo

Learn how BridgeU can help deliver better outcomes for your students and improved results for your school

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