Once we have generated a list of your dozen or so “perfect” schools, we will work with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses as they will be perceived by the schools of interest. (If you have been working with us since 8th grade, we hope that weaknesses per se won’t be much of an issue by the time we start down the applications road.) This will help us decide how to approach each application.
Your teacher recommendations are all-important to your applications. The more competitive the school, the more important the recommendations. Knowing a lot about your schools of interest will help you help your references focus on aspects about you that may be of keen interest to admissions officers. These letters should also reinforce and or reassure admissions officers about issues that may need to be addressed, such as a battle with chronic disease, familial difficulties or your inability to access certain courses due to budget cutbacks or scheduling problems.
Recommendations are also vital to applicants with an unusual talent, such as being an advanced oboist. A student who has spent a dozen years studying the oboe and performing in recitals and with orchestras usually does so outside of the normal run of classes. Such an accomplishment deserves to be underscored, even if the student may not be inclined to pursue a career as virtuoso.
A strong, comprehensive discussion of your skill level and accomplishments by a music instructor who has worked with you for many years can go a long way toward painting a complete picture about you. While this is an unusual reference in that it may not come from a secondary school teacher, it is just as invaluable to someone reading your application. We will assist you in formulating a strategy for selecting your references; in some instances they may even vary from school to school.
What is key here is learning as much as possible about the admissions process at each school. If you know what a school is looking for and you have the goods, your candidacy will signify to the admissions committee that you have thought about them long-and-hard, and that you know they have what you want – and vice versa.