Unlocking Stellar College Recommendations

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When it comes to college applications, strong letters of recommendation can make a significant difference in the admission process. These letters provide valuable insights into an applicant’s character, abilities, and potential for success. As a college application counselor, I understand the importance of fostering strong relationships with recommenders.


 In this blog post, we will explore strategies to build robust recommender relationships that will help unlock stellar college recommendations.


  1. Choose the Right Recommenders:

The first step in building strong recommender relationships is to carefully select the right individuals. Consider teachers, mentors, employers, or coaches who have had a meaningful impact on your academic or personal growth. Seek individuals who can speak about your strengths, achievements, and potential. Remember, quality recommendations come from individuals who truly know and appreciate your abilities.


  1. Establish a Connection:

Once you have identified potential recommenders, it is crucial to establish a strong connection with them. Take the initiative to schedule meetings or have informal conversations to discuss your academic goals, interests, and future plans. By sharing your aspirations and seeking their guidance, you can foster a deeper understanding and build rapport.


  1. Provide Adequate Notice and Information:

When requesting a recommendation, be considerate and provide recommenders with ample notice. Allow them sufficient time to craft thoughtful letters by approaching them well in advance of application deadlines. Additionally, provide recommenders with comprehensive information about the programs or institutions you are applying to, including your personal statement, resume, and any specific requirements or prompts. The more details they have, the better they can tailor their recommendations to highlight your strengths.


  1. Be Respectful of Their Time:

Remember that your recommenders are busy individuals with their own commitments and responsibilities. Be mindful of their time and deadlines. Provide all the necessary documents and information well ahead of time to ensure they have sufficient time to complete their letters without feeling rushed. Express your gratitude and appreciation for their efforts and acknowledge the importance of their support.


  1. Follow Up and Keep in Touch:

Maintaining regular communication with your recommenders is key to building strong relationships. Send periodic updates on your application progress, acceptances, and any notable achievements. Express your gratitude for their support and keep them informed about the outcome of your applications. By staying connected, you can continue to nurture these relationships beyond the college application process.


  1. Show Appreciation:

Once the college admissions process is complete, take the time to show your gratitude to your recommenders. Send them personalized thank-you notes or small tokens of appreciation to express your heartfelt thanks for their guidance and support. By acknowledging their efforts, you solidify your relationship and demonstrate your appreciation for their time and commitment.


Building strong recommender relationships is an essential aspect of the college application process. By carefully selecting the right recommenders, establishing meaningful connections, providing necessary information, being respectful of their time, and staying in touch, you can develop strong relationships that will unlock stellar college recommendations. Remember, the support and insights from recommenders can greatly enhance your chances of securing admission to your dream college.

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Jonathan Chenier


Dr. Jonathan Chenier is co-founder and key contributor to Porta Sophia. With over two decades of experience in the field of international education, Jonathan’s journey has encompassed various pivotal roles across five different countries. He has served as an educator, mentor, coach, activities director, athletic director, curriculum director, assistant principal, and principal, crafting a rich tapestry of expertise.

Jonathan’s unwavering commitment lies in empowering students to reach for the stars and fervently pursue their dreams. His extensive career in education has not only cultivated his profound understanding of global academic landscapes but also ignited his passion for guiding students toward their full potential.

Phone: (+52) 55 5473 5321
Email: jc@portasophia.com

Diana Navarro Roa

Co-Founder & Chief Counseling Officer

Diana is a professional psychologist, certified career and college counselor with over two decades of extensive expertise in career counseling, college counseling, and university admissions. With a wealth of experience, she has guided countless students towards their academic and professional aspirations, offering invaluable insights and support throughout the complex journey of college selection and application. Her deep understanding of the admissions process, combined with her commitment to empowering students, makes her an invaluable asset in helping individuals achieve their higher education goals.

Phone: (+57) 313 2100944
Email: diana@portasophia.com

Juan Manuel Navarro Roa

Co-Founder & Business Development Director

Juan Manuel Navarro, Co-founder and Business Development Director of Porta Sophia. With a background in industrial design and international business from Columbia University and Universidad Externado, Juan Manuel brings over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience to the table. Passionate about guiding students toward their academic and personal goals, he and his team offer personalized assistance in college selection, test preparation, essay writing, career choices, and scholarship applications. Let Porta Sophia help you succeed on your journey.

Juan Manuel understands the challenges and rewards that come with pursuing one’s dreams, and they are eager to share their insights and expertise. Whether you require assistance in selecting a college, preparing for admission tests, crafting essays, making career choices, or applying for scholarships, they are here to support your path to success.

Phone: (+57) 301 2010575
Email: juan@portasophia.com

Monica Marriaga Martinez


Mónica Marriaga is a certified university counselor whose experience supporting processes within international schools spans over 15 years.  She is deeply invested in ensuring that students’ trajectory in school propels them to successful career paths.  This is why she works tirelessly towards student welfare and actively supports the university counseling process. Mónica has been involved in directorial affairs at one of the most prestigious IB schools in Colombia since 2015 and she assumed the role of Chairwoman two years ago.  

Mónica thoroughly understands the challenges of becoming an international student, having studied Management at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the UK through a Colfuturo scholarship. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes and her 20+ years of professional experience include working in diverse industries in the public and private sectors.

Phone: (+57) 313 7184313
Email: monica@portasophia.com


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