Haidian District, Beijing Huangzhuang, Beijing, China  (Zip code: 100190)

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©2019 by The Affiliated High School of Peking University's Dalton Academy

Beyond Letters

by Derrick Berry


Each year, students are judged by how they appear on paper—their test scores, their grade averages, their lists of extra curricular activities, and their statements that show, not tell, who they are as people in no more than 650 words. And each year teachers write numerous letters of recommendation to glue all the pieces of the application together. Teachers meet with students, wait for inspiration, and spend hours staring at a computer screen typing and retyping in hopes of finding the exact words that capture the student in the best and honest light. But here’s the problem, writing a letter of recommendation is a personal experience that is filtered to fit the restrictions of the form.



Our hope for this blog series is to share the stories that don’t make the cut for formal letters of recommendation, to share more about student-teacher relationships that are often reduced to a contrived letter to admissions committees. We hope that you enjoy reading beyond those letters, closer to what we believe makes an extraordinary person.

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