Teachers are some of the most overlooked resources for high school students when it comes to the college admissions process. While students are quick to request Letters of Recommendation from their instructors, they fail to take full advantage of the knowledge and experience these teachers have about not only applying to colleges, but succeeding in those schools as well. It never hurts to talk to people who have been in the trenches, so to speak. Students may find that their teachers have connections to some of the very schools they are interested in attending. At the minimum, students should not shy away from seeking advice from trusted teachers when it comes to writing college essays, completing scholarship applications or deciding which schools to consider in the first place. The key to making the most of teacher resources is to seek out the guidance of those instructors that inspire you early. The faster students reveal their higher education aspirations to their favorite teachers, the more these inspirational leaders can share their wisdom with those students. Here are a few things students should consider when it comes to seeking the right advice:
Don’t’ shy away from taking the hard classes- Far too often, students skip the tough classes in order to protect their GPA’s; however, that is not always the most prudent decision. Sometimes those classes that have the reputation for being the most difficult have the best teachers as well. Making a B is not the end of the world. In fact, most schools would rather see students challenge themselves than pad their grade point averages.
Get to know your teachers- Teachers are no different than anyone else. They like to feel appreciated as well. Taking a few extra minutes outside of class time to speak with your teacher could pay big dividends when it comes time to request a Letter of Recommendation or get help on a key college essay. The better your instructor knows you, the better he or she will be able to plead your case in a recommendation. Some students may call this kissing up, but there is no harm in covering all of you bases.
Be sure to keep your teacher up to date on your admissions status- No one is more aware of how hard students work to get into college than the teachers who guide them through high school. Don’t forget that these same teachers are also your biggest fans, so be sure to keep them up to date on your admissions status. Teachers can also prove to be a helpful resource in tipping the scale if you should get wait listed at a specific school.