The role of counselor recommendations

Role of Counselor Recommendations

The Secondary School Counselor recommendation is an important piece of our holistic application review process used by our admission staff in the evaluation and selection of candidates for admission. In addition to the other subjective pieces of the application, this recommendation gives the Committee on Admission insight into the applicant as a student and a member of an academic community.

As part of the initial review process, the admission counselor reading the application will review all letters of recommendation provided, placing special emphasis on the recommendation from the student’s high school counselor. Ideally, this counselor recommendation will paint a clear picture of the applicant’s high school career, bringing to light things about the student that may not be apparent from simply looking at the academic numbers on the high school transcript. The counselor can often provide useful context for the student’s academic performance, and explain any special circumstances (i.e. course rigor, schedule conflicts, personal or medical issues) that may have arisen during the high school career. It is truly difficult for us to complete a thorough evaluation of a student’s application without this essential piece.

The strongest letters of recommendation we receive portray a clear image of who the student is and why he/she is an appropriate match and fit for Providence College. One of the best ways to bring the student to life in the recommendation is by sharing specific stories or examples to back up your supportive statements. For example, rather than just telling us how strong a student’s work ethic is, show us by sharing the story of how the student improved his junior year math grade by attending extra help sessions, working with a tutor, completing extra-credit assignments, and working directly with his teacher.

We do not have a preference for the Common Application School Report Form over an individualized report from your high school. However, it is very valuable for you to provide a “ranking” of the student’s curriculum in the context of your high school (i.e. average, demanding, most demanding). In addition, you may want to include the following topics in your recommendation:

  • explanation of any unique academic programs offered at your high school
  • requirements to enter upper level courses
  • explanation of any grades that may stand out on the transcript (positively or negatively)
  • any special projects the student has completed
  • specific stories or examples to highlight your student’s attributes and accomplishments

If you feel a student’s specific situation requires a more detailed explanation, please feel free to call our office to speak with an admission counselor. You will be directed to the counselor on our staff who reads applications from your geographic area. We are always very appreciative of high school counselors who take the time to provide further pertinent information about an applicant.

Mailing address for all application credentials:
Providence College
Office of Admission
Harkins Hall 103
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918

School-based counselors are also able to upload application materials and view the status of their students’ applications at