Description: Watch this video from Ivy Coach on how college applicants can secure terrific letters of recommendation from their guidance counselors.

Transcription: Mrs. Reed: Hello Michael. It’s nice to meet you. I wish I had met you earlier as I have to write your counselor letter of recommendation this weekend and I haven’t had the chance to get to know you.

Tim: May name’s Tim. I’m not Michael.

Mrs. Reed: Oh, right. Tim. I’m sorry about that. So let’s go over the brag sheet that I gave to you and your parents to complete.

Tim: We did it this morning over breakfast. Sorry, I spilled some milk on it. And there may have been a Cheerio stuck to it.

Mrs. Reed: Oh don’t worry about it. Anyway, I had the chance to look over the brag sheet and it doesn’t say much about you. I mean, it says you play tennis for 22 hours every week but for my letter of recommendation, I need to know the significance of tennis to you as a person. I need to get a better sense of you, of what drives you and what motivates you. I need to paint a picture of a student I believe to be unique if college admissions counselors are going to want to admit you.

Tim: Oh. Maybe my parents and I should have taken more time to fill out the brag sheet.

Mrs. Reed: Truth be told, and I rarely share this with students, brag sheets are essential for my letters of recommendation. And I even like it more when parents and students take it to the next level by actually putting their answers in the form of a recommendation letter that I can just cut and paste. After all, I have hundreds of students that I have to write these letters for and that takes a lot of time, time I’d rather spend with my four year-old daughter.

Tim: If only I had known.

Mrs. Reed: Please don’t tell my secret.

Tim: I won’t, Mrs. Reeves.

Mrs. Reed: It’s Mrs. Reed. You should have gotten to know me better during your high school years. I could have really helped you gain admission to the colleges of your choice. You should have made appointments with me to discuss your course selections, your academic passions, your extracurricular pursuits. I don’t even know which colleges you’re applying to. Now I’m just going to have to write a generic letter that you like to play tennis and wear a blue baseball hat.

Tim: Well, I am going to tell my little sister about all of this so at least she does it right when she applies to college!

Mrs. Reed: Now that’s sweet. That’s something I can personalize in your letter of recommendation! If you can give me something else tomorrow, maybe I can include it in my letter. Why don’t you visit and you can read some blogs on securing great counselor letters of recommendation!