College Counseling Office (CCO)

For Faculty

List of 5 items.

  • The Teacher Recommendation Letter - What Colleges Want to Know

    The Power of Words - What Colleges Want to Know*
    What colleges want to hear:
    • A brief explanation of the course(s) you have taught the student and the standards of the class(es) (Note: PLEASE use the course title as it appears on the transcript: e.g., don't call a course Basic Precalculus if it is called Precalculus (although College Prep Precalculus is our common parlance, it does not appear on the transcript and might need explanation)
    • The student's attitude toward learning and his or her specific skills and abilities/talents as demonstrated within the context of your class as you have observed the student.  (Use anecdotes to support these statements whenever possible -- show, don't tell!)
    • Define the student's unique qualities, or reasons s/he might stand out: intellectual prowess; maturity; motivation; consistency of performance; independence; originality of thought; creativity; initiative; leadership potential/"followship" potential (i.e. knowing when to lead and when to follow); self-confidence; humility; capacity for personal growth; enthusiasm; energy; ability to communicate well either verbally or in writing; peer relationships; support for fellow students within the class; resilience/positive reactions to setbacks; ability to learn from mistakes or grow stronger in the subject over time; etc. etc. 
    What colleges DON'T want to hear:
    • Sweeping generalizations that are not supported by anecdotes or evidence
    • Information already on the transcript or application (grades, scores – in fact you shouldn’t discuss a student’s standardized scores without knowledge/permission of the student)
    • Long quotes directly from the student -- it's ok to quote a student's comments, but use them judiciously, and briefly.  Colleges want your evaluation of your student, not their own evaluation of themselves.
    • Personal idiosyncracies of the student (this is not the time to air your frustrations if they aren't directly relevant to the student's performance!)
    What you MAY NOT discuss in a letter without express written consent of the family:
    (Stay away from the following unless you have discussed this with the College Counselor first and gotten written permission from the family as well; there could be legal implications!)
    • Learning differences, including using extra time on tests
    • Personal appearance!
    • Confidential medical information (concussions, illnesses, frequent absences due to illness or emotional issues)
    • Disciplinary issues  (always talk with the Dean/College Counselor about this)
    • Suspicions about a student's behavior/integrity -- suspicions in general should not be discussed, since this information cannot be proved. (This falls under the "sweeping generalizations" category.)
    Hint: What you don't say can be as powerful as what you do say.  The old adage, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything" can speak volumes in a recommendation.  Admissions officers are trained to read between the lines.  But if you really don't have anything nice to say, PLEASE don't agree to write a recommendation for that student!

    *Excerpted and Adaped from The Power of the Word: Coaching Teachers Toward Powerful Recommendation Letters, Michele Klaus and Patricia Brubaker, Gilmour Academy, Gates Mills, OH
  • Uploading Teacher Recommendations into SCOIR

    You can use the link below for a step-by-step guide on how to upload teacher recommendation letters into SCOIR:
  • Faculty Guidelines for Recommendation Letters

    Most colleges require recommendations from teachers who have taught the student in junior or senior year in one of the five core academic areas.
    Through the College Knowledge course students reach out to two teachers to write recommendation letters. Students confirm their recommenders by May, well in advance of the October due date for letters. 
    Once teachers agree to write a recommendation, students must confirm through email their college application list if they are applying to a school with an early (ie October 15th) deadline. 
    All faculty recommendations must be written on official D-E School letter head which is available in Google Drive. Recommendation letters must include the student’s official name at the top of the document.
    Students may seek supplemental recommendations at different points during the application process, i.e. if they are deferred from an early to regular admission pool or if they are wait-listed. If students are applying to particular programs they may seek recommendations from faculty or coaches in those areas. These letters should be kept to a minimum, do not take the place of required teacher recommendations and should be pursued with guidance from the student's counselor.
    Applications will not be consider complete for review until all required credentials including recommendations are received. In order to lessen the ever present anxiety of the college application process, we respectfully request that all faculty complete their letters of recommendation by October 15. 
  • Guidelines for Faculty Advisors

    In an effort to provide assistance and support, the CCO welcomes the opportunity to visit with your
    advisory or to meet with individual advisees. Key times to meet may be during course selection or
    comment review periods, but please feel free to contact us if needed.

    As students progress throughout high school, it is important for them that they develop academically
    and personally. Your advice and encouragement about their pursuit of extracurricular and community
    service efforts will support this development and their ability to successfully balance their time and
    commitments. When reviewing admission applications, colleges take a holistic approach; seeking
    students who demonstrate a high level of engagement and pursuit of interests. The more you can
    encourage your advisees to proactively involve themselves in the world around them, the better
    prepared they will be to succeed after D-E.

    Seniors are eligible to have four excuse absences throughout the academic year. Typically, students will
    take two days in the fall and save the rest in the spring. The form is available online.
  • College Application Submission Procedure

    CCO Deadlines for the Academic Year 2020-2021
    If you have an application with a deadline of:
    College must be in the 'applying to' column in SCOIR by:
    Any Rolling Deadline
    Friday, Sept 18
    October 15 (ie UNC)
    Friday, Sept 18
    November 1
    Friday, Oct 2
    November 15
    Friday, Oct 16
    December 1
    Friday, Nov 13
    January 1 or later
    Friday, Dec 4
    All online applications need to be reviewed by each student’s college advisor before submitting electronically.
    Testing Information:
    • Students are responsible for registering for all standardized tests and for requesting scores to be sent directly to each college. Test scores are not included on D-E transcripts. Our CEEB Code is 310355.
    • Students requesting fee waivers for testing or application fee should consult with college advisor.
    • Most colleges require recommendations from teachers who have taught you in junior or senior year in one of the five core academic areas.
    • Contact the teachers with whom you were matched through College Knowledge to thank them again for writing and to confirm letter deadlines for schools. 
    • Supplemental recommendations should be kept to a minimum and do not take the place of a teacher recommendation.
    • The school sends all transcripts for seniors free of charge
    Application Options:
    • Students applying under Early Decision plan are required to sign the ED Contract in SCOIR, after which the document is also signed by their parent and their college counselor. 
    • For colleges offering Priority Rolling admission programs as Indiana University, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, St. John’s University as well as Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, Quinnipiac University, and University of Wisconsin, candidates are strongly urged to submit their completed applications by early October. 
Mailing Address: 315 East Palisade Avenue Englewood, NJ 07631
gps: 81 Lincoln Street, Englewood, NJ 07631
201-569-9500 Email:
Located in Englewood, New Jersey, Dwight-Englewood is a greater New York City area private school with a rigorous college prep curriculum for boys and girls in preschool through grade 12.