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I hold the belief that the Dartmouth college application is a truly holistic method of determining whether an applicant is suitable for the school. The essays are interesting and allow you to go into depth, the questions are intriguing, and then … there is the peer recommendation. For anyone who doesn't know, Dartmouth takes an optional peer recommendation in addition to Letters of Recommendation from professors or mentors.

While these Peer Recommendations may be optional, I strongly suggest that you do them! Or at least try to. How did I go about the peer recommendation? This is what I did:

Firstly, picking the right person. The person I reached out to write my recommendation knew me very well, so it was a no-brainer for me. The biggest tip I'll give you on picking someone is this: choose someone who knows both the good and the bad about you. Often times, people will choose writers who can only continuously write about their strengths. I think it's important to have someone, who instead of endlessly expanding on your strengths, can also write about your ability to endure and overcome your weaknesses.

In my opinion, it's recommendations like these — holistic ones that etch out an honest portrait of who you are — that go about the best in the admissions office. Secondly, reaching out well in advance! This is very important: the peer recommendation is a part of your application that you don't want to stress about as the deadline approaches, so reaching out to a person well in advance to write and edit and re-write your Peer Rec is a smart decision, in my opinion.

Thirdly, trust. After you have made the initial decision over which person to ask to write the peer recommendation, I truly believe it is in your best interest to just trust them. Often times, we stress about our Letters of Recommendation, thinking that only we know ourselves best. Truthfully, sometimes it is helpful and important to have other people hold up mirrors to us. Trusting your person with carefully expounding on your various qualities is important, because when you give people that trust, they know what to do with it: that is, carefully ensure that they don't let you down.

Lastly, thank this person. I feel like this is an important step that should seem obvious, but sometimes people don't think so! Writing a peer recommendation is a big responsibility, and whether you ask for one from a parent, a friend, a fellow classmate, or even a relative, they are taking time out of their busy lives to ensure you get a shot at the best version of yours. Thanking these people for the commitment they are making to helping you fulfill your dreams is a good way to express your gratitude.

That's how I think you should go about the peer recommendation! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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