What was written in my letter of recommendation for college (uni)

August 29, 2006 at 11:42 pm

Today I read something in my list of documents that was marked “confidential”. Years ago, like many other smart-alecky elite JC kids, I followed the crowd in applying for the top colleges in the US/UK/Canada. One of the requirements in the applications process was to have letters of recommendations from your (high) school teachers.

So this was what my JC Civics Tutor wrote. (with some slight editing and modifications on my part to remove certain personal details):

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I am writing in support of takchek who is applying to name deleted University as a candidate for undergraduate admission.

takchek’s Junior College is a high school in Singapore and was ranked among the top five in the country last year. Entry to the College is competitive and is based on outstanding GCE “O” Level results. Most students offer 4 A-level subjects, General Paper and a second language. We also encourage our students to participate in activities outside class. These activities range from academic societies to music groups and sports. Over 99% of our graduates go on to study at universities locally or abroad.

Before he came to Junior College, takchek was a student of Dunman High School, one of the top secondary schools in Singapore. In Dunman, he was in the Special Assistance Program, a scheme which caters to students who have done exceptionally well in the primary school leaving examination and have demonstrated an ability to master two languages as first languages. For his “O” level examinations, takchek scored eight distinctions out of nine subjects that he offered. He was also active in many areas, represented Dunman in volleyball tournaments and participated in a variety of competitions, quizzes and courses as can be seen in the attached school record.

takchek continued to achieve good academic results. For his two years in high school, he came across as an intelligent student who was highly self-disciplined and systematic in his approach to studies. Unlike many of his peers who were more concerned with getting correct answers than the methods or approaches they employed, takchek was an exception who gave due consideration to his own solutions and would reject them only when proven wrong. All his tutors complimented him on his conscientious attitude and eagerness to learn. The good results he obtained in the GCE “A” Level examinations are fruits of his labor over the past two years. His Further Mathematics tutor remembered the strong determination he showed in improving his mastery of Mechanics. Due to careless mistakes and perhaps anxiety to do well, his results in tests fell short initially. Disappointed but not defeated, he painstakingly went through each sum in the tutorials and reinforced by attempting additional problems. His effort paid off and his confidence in the subject was boosted.

Outside class, takchek has a commendable record of extra-curricular participation and achievements. His strength and interest in Science saw him participate actively in various Science related projects. He was selected to participate in the Science Research Programme organised by the Singapore Ministry of Education and the National University of Singapore. He was involved in basic research under the guidance of academics in the university. In another event that was held by the Singapore Defense Science Organisation, takchek had the opportunity to construct a solar powered car. Within the college, he was a member of the Science Enrichment Programme.

Known among peers as well read and informed on general matters, takchek was nominated for a current affairs quiz held in the College. His team lived up to expectation when they finished runner up, missing the title only narrowly. Despite his academic bent, takchek was by no means neglected in other aspects of his personal development. He was a member of the Taekwondo Club and the Wargaming Club and represented his faculty at soccer and volleyball. He also volunteered his service as an orientation group leader whose job was to help run activities for new students. He set a good example and did a good job.

As pointed out earlier, reading is a favorite pastime for takchek. His choice of books for general reading tends to be non-fiction that is based on significant events like wars. As far as the language requirement for the course he has applied for is concerned, his General Paper tutor has expressed no qualms about his proficiency. She has however felt that he needs to speak up more in class. Given to introspective thinking, takchek is not so much lacking in opinions as in an environment where discussions are forthcoming. As his Civics Tutor has pointed out, students in his class were generally reticent and preferred to speak their minds in private, but on occasions when there were lively debates, takchek has shown himself to be a contributing member. He has the ability and motivation to do well academically. I have no doubt that he will flourish in the stimulating environment at your institution.

At a personal level, takchek is pleasant and amiable. He maintained a cheerful demeanor while going about his work. Teachers and friends have been impressed by his good manners and unassuming character. He always complied with school rules and his obliging nature also made him very easy to relate to. Nevertheless, takchek was not a conformist. He was the only student in the class to offer Chemistry at the S level in spite of peer pressure to do otherwise. This was evident of a level headed individual who has the resolution and independence to pursue his own goals.

I am happy to give takchek’s application my strong support.

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Entry filed under: college, Singapore.

Quick Update… She said YES!!!


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