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Private School Applications: Recommendation Letters

Writing a Letter of RecommendationProviding references on your child’s application to NYC private schools can be a rough patch for many parents. The first instinct is to put down a reference name of someone important, with an easily recognizable name to make your child’s application just POP ot to admissions officials. Trust us and many, many parents who have been through the process, a famous name is not what schools are looking for.

Schools request references because they want to get a sense of what your child is like as a student and an individual, not because they want to give you some space to name drop.
Admissions professionals are looking for recommendations from teachers that are involved in core courses, such as math and English, and possibly from one other person. But be sure to check to see if the school your child is applying to request specific teacher‘s recommendations.

Try to keep these basic guidelines in mind when putting down references for your child’s private school admissions application:

1. Choose references from people who actually know your child.
2. Try to get references from current-year teachers.
3. Send the exact number of recommendations the school asks for — no more and no less. Overkill will not endear you to the admissions staff.
4. Never solicit recommendation letters from people just because they’re prominent members of your community unless they know your child well.
5. References from alumni or a board member are good, but again only if they actually know your child.

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