Recommendations

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I'm happy to write recommendations for my students. You do not have to be the top student in the class to get a good recommendation: if I couldn't write you an honest and good recommendation, I'd tell you.

I think the recommendation process is beneficial to students as a way of preparing them for their sales pitches to colleges. My goal is to create a true story for the student about why he would be an excellent prospect. Most students do not have the experience to know what makes them stand out from the crowd, and I try to uncover that. When we're done, you should be able to tell that story and back it up with your experience. Each recommendation is distinct and personalized, though I usually start with a prototype form.

The Process

  • You ask, I agree.
  • You provide me with the forms and information provided by guidance (except unusual cases.)
  • We have a half-hour interview (phone or face-to-face.)
  • I write the recommendation and you get to review it for correctness and recommendation of improvements.
  • I revise, print, stuff and sign envelopes.
  • I give you the envelopes to mail, or mail them and tell you it has been done.

Mail to me at: 27 Winter St., Arlington, MA 02474

Email to me at: mike@huben.us

Phone me at: (781) 643-1534

The Interview

Nothing to fear: I will ask a number of questions to identify things I think are distinctive about you. If a question does not turn up anything, that's not a fault: it means we have to find a different distinction. Nobody will come up with distinctions for every question.

I like the interviews because while I've gotten an impression of what kind of person you are, we have not chatted much. So I'm ignorant of most aspects of your life, and would like to know more to write a better recommendation.

Here are the usual questions:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What do you read?
    • Did you read your textbooks?
    • Do you read on the web?
    • Do you read for recreation?
    • What genres do you read?
  • What school activities have you been involved in?
  • What are your activities besides schoolwork?
    • Hobbies.
    • Recreations.
    • Sports.
    • Family obligations.
  • Tutoring? Mentoring?
  • What work and volunteer experience do you have?
  • What leadership capabilities have you shown?
    • Formal positions.
    • Leading from below.
  • What have you taught yourself?
  • What are your strongest social skills?
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