My | A Student Blog Advice on 's Peer Recommendation

two students smile while working in a coffee shop

Whether applying via Common Application, Coalition Application or QuestBridge, requires that all applicants submit a peer letter of recommendation — someone of similar age who can speak to who you are as a human being beyond a transcript, essay or list of extracurriculars.

About the Author

Eboni Thomas ’23 (she/her) was a psychology major with a communication studies minor from Houston, Texas. While a student, she was involved with Cheerleading, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Bonner Scholars, Honor Council, Mental Health Advising and the Black Student Coalition (BSC).

"I fell in love with the care and time spent making sure that each student finds their place."

As a prospective student applying to , I had been preparing materials for my college admissions application for as long as I could remember. I had scouted and built relationships with teachers that I knew would write great letters of recommendation, I played three sports while maintaining a great GPA and I volunteered whenever I could. I thought I knew every aspect of the application process, and I had planned for them.

What I had not planned for was the fourth recommendation letter — the peer recommendation — which was one of the more unique aspects to ’s application process. The peer recommendation is a way for one of your peers, within two years of your age, to highlight your best qualities as a student and human being.

’s Admission Office asks for this letter of recommendation because while academics is a large part of our community, so is being an active member of that community. The peer recommendation allows students to celebrate each other’s growth and their interests while also speaking to those aspects that we as applicants may not think to mention. As applicants, we may be hesitant to highlight our qualities because we do not think that is what an admission counselor or committee cares about. This is not true. At , we care about the holistic individual, not just the grades on your transcript.

When I was a prospective student applying to , I did not know which of my peers I should ask or who I trusted to speak to my qualities. I fretted over this decision for weeks before finally asking a friend who I had met and bonded with the year prior. I trusted that she would be able to speak about me both as a friend, but also objectively as a classmate and person. Looking back, having since walked across the graduation stage at , here are two tips that I believe prospective students should know about their peer recommendation.

Find someone you trust (within 2–3 years of your age).

The peer recommendation allows for admission counselors to truly gain a sense of who you are and how you will contribute to the community. When choosing a peer to write your recommendation, pick someone you trust to speak to your character. We are often hesitant to speak about our own amazing qualities, but our peers can be wonderful resources to help highlight some of those characteristics.

Allow enough time for them to complete your recommendation.

This person is helping you gain admission into what may be your home for the next four years so be sure to give them more than enough time to write the best recommendation possible. This could be the difference between a recommendation that got done, or a recommendation that is a job well done.

If I could give one word of encouragement to students as they are applying and looking for the right peer to write their letter, I would tell them — you are worth celebrating. Whether that be your grace in handling family responsibilities, your ability to lead or be an active member in clubs or anything else that you’ve done in your life, allow your peer to advocate for how great you are. Remember your peer recommendation is only one portion of your application, so let your light shine through.


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  • October 2, 2023