Remember when you used to be terrified to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation? Well, now you get to be a professor, or at least play one. When applying to an honors college, you need to think like a professor and include in your letter facts about your life that will pave the way to you gaining acceptance into the honors college at your desired university.
Tell The Committee What It Wants to Hear
That doesn’t mean that you should be untruthful -- it means the committee has a specific set of questions that it needs answered, and you’ll have to answer all of them (honestly). Write specifically for the honors college acceptance committee, looking carefully over the requirements and addressing each in your letter. Before you write the letter, make sure that you understand the requirements for admission into the honors college so that you can speak to your ability to fulfill its standards.
Less Is Not More
When it comes to your letter, brevity is not your friend. The committee is choosing a student from the best of the best, and this isn't based on GPA alone. In order to make a decision, it will need as much information as possible. You can’t give them that information in half a page, no matter how concise your language is. And besides, handing in a short letter can easily look like you’re indifferent, and honors college committees don't want indifference. Show them dedication in describing yourself and your goals, which will show how seriously you take your education.
When you make claims in essays, you're expected to back up those claims with evidence. Back everything in your letter up with concrete examples. For instance, if you want to talk about how you are remarkably insightful, give an example of your insight into a particular object of study; if you say that you're incredibly hardworking, give an example of your hard work in action: working on a campaign at school, extra-curricular activities, yearbook club and so on.
Look Back to Look Ahead
They say that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Make sure to tell the committee what kind of future you can imagine for yourself, but be sure to root that prediction in a discussion of past successes. Talk about what you have achieved, and in talking about that, talk about what you will likely achieve in the years to come. The committee isn’t offering acceptance to reward a student’s previous success, but those successes might indicate that more will follow.
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