So, you are a student and want to attend Dartmouth, a very rich and prosperous school. Graduating from Dartmouth University will undoubtedly result in significant gains for you in the future. You have got all your transcripts and papers together, and you can present yourself as a bright, dutiful student amongst the other rabble. But you will need more than numbers and grades to get into Dartmouth.
What is a peer letter of recommendation, and what does one need to have for you to get the best Dartmouth peer recommendation? Well, in this article, we are here to find out!
What is a Peer Letter of Recommendation?
Prestigious schools like Dartmouth get a lot of people who want to enter the school, and eventually, even applicants paying more than the tuition isn’t enough to get students in. No, some schools ask for more, and some of those extra things include a peer letter of recommendation. They may say they only recommend those things, but they become essential if you want to actually get a seat at the university.
A peer letter of recommendation is a document from a peer, such as a teammate from a sport you participate in, a partner in the same club, or a fellow classmate, that offers their perspective on you as a student. The people involved in the colleges want to know about your character:
- How you behave as a student.
- What your everyday life is like.
- What you do when you are not in school.
- How you work with others.
These characteristics paint a picture of a student who is more than just a student, and Dartmouth has particular ideas of the kind of student they want. Schools do not simply want intelligent students but students who can prove they can withstand what it takes to graduate.
But just how vital is a peer letter of recommendation for Dartmouth? How much exactly does it impact your chances of getting in?
How Important is Dartmouth Peer Recommendation?
As stated before, when a school says they “strongly recommend” or “highly advise” that you have something, do not take that idly—they want you to have something of the sort. To get into Dartmouth and universities like it, you need to bring your A-game.
Dartmouth, in particular, wants to have as many perspectives on potential students as possible. Dartmouth is an incredibly selective college—for example, 95% of the class of 2019 were in the top 10% of their high school classes, with around 40% of those students being the valedictorians. It is a school that demands excellence, immediately weeding out those who do not have the academic prowess to join.
Peer letters of recommendation are not the only way or even the best way to catch the eye of the interviewers. It is, however, a valuable way for Dartmouth to decide the final class list, as they get to see a glimpse of you besides your grade point average and other academic-based compliments. Teacher recommendations are arguably less valuable than peer recommendations since teacher recommendations are just another avenue to show off your academic skills.
Do not misunderstand–those achievements are still significant to ultimately getting a successful application. However, peer recommendations are a way for you to show off how you act socially, and thus how you would act when you are part of the school, as well as your potential when you finally graduate and become a working part of society. Peer recommendations give an idea of your character, personality, and social skills from people who aren’t you, which removes much of the bias. They add a new dimension to your application that transcripts do not.
But what exactly does Dartmouth look for in a peer recommendation? For college applications, there are right and wrong ways to be recommended by a peer, and we will show you which.
What Does Dartmouth Look for in a Peer Recommendation?
As we have stated before, peer recommendations are helpful because they give insight into a student’s life outside of their academic prowess. When you apply to Dartmouth, they are already getting your transcripts, grades, GPA, extracurricular success, and teacher recommendations, all of which paint a pretty picture of how you work as a dutiful and studious student.
The idea behind a peer recommendation is to give Dartmouth an idea of what your character is like, outside of your ability to study for hours at a time or answer test questions successfully. They want to know how you act, what you like, and how you interact with others. Therefore, when you are asking your parents, friends, coworkers, or teammates how to recommend you, make sure that they make it clear what they think of you as a son or daughter, as a friend, and as a coworker and teammate, and that they don’t just write about how smart and good of a student you are.
In that sense, it is also attractive to Dartmouth if the letter is more informal and personal. It would better give the impression that it is someone’s thoughts and opinions, not just people telling others how great you are. However, the letters will be written by others, so there may be an issue if they are not the best kind of writers. Ensure their letters are eligible, easy to read, and understandable before you worry about their content.
Speaking of which, you may want know who to ask for a letter of recommendation. The right kind of peer will help you out in the future.
Who are the Best People to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation?
Dartmouth is not picky about who you consult for your letter of recommendation—it’s not like they’re going to accuse you of not being friends or something. However, it would be best if you still chose peers with whom you have a close relationship to give them the idea that you are suitable for the application.
The bests people to ask are those you maintain a close connection with, and most importantly, know you s a regular person rather than what you do in and around school. These people include your lifelong friends, teammates from a club or sport that you are interested in, friends who share your hobbies or interests, and your parents, siblings, cousins, and other family members.
Now that we have set up what it takes to make a peer letter of recommendation, we can tell you how to make one and show yourself off to Dartmouth.
How to Get the Best Dartmouth Peer Recommendation: 5 Tips
Now that we have made it clear what Dartmouth would want in their peer recommendation, here comes the easy part. We will give you five good tips for developing the best possible peer letter of recommendation.
Since these letters are written by someone else, you would lack the agency to make them yourself. However, you can take steps to ensure that the letter or letters will be more than good enough to put you above the competition and get you into Dartmouth! Ultimately, it is up to that person to write the letter, including whether or not they will give you a recommendation.
Find Close Friends & Peers
For the sake of both yourself and Dartmouth, you shouldn’t just pull up to any random stranger you know to give you a letter of recommendation. Choose close friends, family, or people you know as much as they know you. Your peers provide insight into who you are when off campus and as an average, regular person instead of a person-shaped student.
It is also good advice to find peers you know in or through school, as they can give Dartmouth insight into how you operate as a student socially. Peers from work or extracurricular activities are also good candidates for a peer letter of recommendation.
Find Enthusiastic Peers
You need not just people you know but people who would be able to write about you. Even if they don’t know you all too well, you can read enthusiasm even through text and paper.
Find an enthusiastic peer who has a lot to write about you; what it’s like knowing you, how you act around others, and how much fun you are to be around.
Let Them Make It Personal
Remind the peer that they will have to write about you personally. Some may believe that since they are writing a letter, especially to a prestigious, high-end school, they must write all fancy and stoically. That is not true, as being too formal makes the letter sound less personal. Make sure they write about you in a way only a peer, friend, or family can. What you need isn’t a poet; you need a genuine and sincere opinion about yourself that only other people you know can give you.
Help Them With the Writing
If you find a peer who is not the best at writing out their thoughts and feelings, you can give them a little boost. You should be somewhat hands-off and not basically write the letter of recommendation yourself. Even for a peer letter of recommendation, making it look professional in presentation and legible is extremely important, the same as any other kind of article of submission.
Remember that your recommendation letter needs to be like a letter that feels like someone’s honest thoughts and feelings. Your assistance should only be so much that you can correct errors that make the letter hard to read, like grammar, and leaving out details that are probably too personal and / or too gratuitous for the people at Dartmouth to know or care about.
What should be on the letter, you ask? Well, a good peer letter of recommendation would be able to describe your character and why you would be a good fit.
Talk About Your Character and Sociability
A peer letter of recommendation is recommending your character. You have more than enough papers and notes to send about your academic achievements. What you need from a peer letter is relatability.
Ask your peer about what they think about you as a person, how they feel knowing and meeting you, how often you meet, and, if possible, how good of a student you are on matters that are not just passing tests, such as how good of a study partner you are or how good of a teammate you are.
Wrapping Things Up: 5 Tips for Getting the Best Dartmouth Peer Recommendation
After reading this article, we hope you better understand what to do to get the best Dartmouth peer recommendation and into the college of your dreams! Getting into Dartmouth–or any other big university–is a matter that is much more than just showing your grades. Anyone can bring up a transcript, but you need to prove that you are the kind of person and character who belongs there, to begin with.