TRIO SSS Blog
How to ask for GREAT letters of recommendation
April 02, 2021
Whether you are asking for help with a transfer application, scholarship application, or job reference make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by following these quick tips from TRIO SSS:
Give your letter writer as much time as possible, ideally several weeks. Clearly communicate deadlines to this person. If you do have to ask last-minute, be especially clear to your letter writer and ask if they are able to meet your deadline.
Ask if they can give you a strong letter. Getting a mediocre or average letter can sometimes be worse than no letter at all. Ask your letter writer if they could write you a good/great/strong letter! If they tell you they can’t, select someone else.
Provide your letter-writers with the resources to thoroughly write a great letter. For example, providing your resume, transcript, extracurriculars, and a summary of your accomplishments can ensure that they can focus their time and effort on writing. It never hurts to remind a professor or staff member how they know you (e.g., what classes you’ve taken, events you’ve attended, or exceptional assignments you’ve completed).
Stay in touch – politely. Your letter-writers are likely quite busy and may lose track of the timelines. If you’ve given them ample time, it’s okay to politely check in before the deadline to see if they need anything from you. This can serve as a gentle reminder of your upcoming deadline and demonstrate your follow-through.
Thank them afterward. Writing letters of recommendation can be time-consuming and an investment. Consider writing a handwritten card or sending an email to thank them after they submit their letter of recommendation and show them that you appreciate their hard work. This is not only a nice gesture for them, but demonstrates your follow-up skills for the next time you ask for their help.
What are your suggestions for asking for a great letter of recommendation? Send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Things You Might Need to Hear
February 8th, 2021
I’ll get real for a moment, being in a supportive position is a challenge right now. It’s hard to know whether we should talk about the pandemic more or less. The balance is a challenge and there’s no easy answer for finding solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
But the pandemic has a substantial impact on our lives and it is important for everyone (you included) to acknowledge the struggles you may be facing.
So, allow me a moment to address some points that you may need to hear:
It’s okay to not be okay
By now you’ve probably heard this phrase or some version of it repeatedly by now. That doesn’t make it any less valid. COVID-19 has caused profound changes to many lives. Regardless of how it has directly impacted you, your society has changed and it’s okay to have heavy feelings about these changes. Mental health is critically important. Please reach out to counselors and those who are equipped to support you, even if you don’t know what to discuss. It’s okay to not be okay.
Please consider reaching out to counseling services at WVC. Resources such as the Knights Cupboard and Zoom with Peers are also here for your use. Reach out to Bertha Sanchez (email@example.com) or Ryan Poortinga (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more or visit their website here for more information.
If you or someone you know needs help now, call the local community crisis hotline (mental health): 509-662-7105 or 1-800-852-2923
It’s okay to be okay
There’s nothing wrong with living your life and thriving right now. Maybe online classes have been helpful for your personal schedule or you’ve developed a deeper connection with family. Whatever is happening in your life, you have permission to thrive just as much as others have permission to need a break. At the end of the day, you have the right to be well, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you are doing well right now, consider paying it forward to others if you can. Perhaps you could tutor your classmates or offer to occasionally trade a work shift with a struggling coworker. Attending virtual campus events can help bring some much-needed social interaction to you and others. Simple gestures, such as turning on your video during zoom calls (instructors love this!) or making friendly small talk can go a long way to brightening someone else’s day.
Make healthy goals for yourself
The college journey helps you grow as a person and part of growing is evaluating your needs and goals. Take some time to reflect on your needs and establish healthy goals for yourself. What small steps can you make to help you achieve your larger objectives? For example, if you want to transfer to a specific college and need/want to maintain a 3.0 GPA, think about the smaller tasks you can complete this quarter to achieve that goal. What routines and study habits can you adopt to help you focus and achieve these objectives? Consider meeting with your TRIO team to help outline a goal.
It is critical to recognize the importance of social connection, even for the most introverted among us. Survey your “bubble” for a moment to consider what daily interactions you have with others. If you live alone or with a small household, consider the ways in which you can get social interaction virtually. Zoom classes can provide some sense of social interaction. However, many students will find their greatest interaction on Canvas discussion boards and forums, such as Discord. (What other tools do your instructors use to help you connect with classmates right now?) What ways can you ensure your own social needs are being met? If you feel like you need more connection right now, consider attending virtual campus or community events. As always, remember you have resources available to you, including TRIO! Join us for winter quarter TRIO Drop-In hours every Wednesday from 10:00am – 12:00pm or make an appointment here.
It's okay to be you
In sum, it’s okay to feel however you feel right now. But take a moment to ensure you’re mental and emotional needs are being met. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own – reach out to your resources (including TRIO SSS).
4 Tips for your Transfer Application
December 16, 2020
Understand the Application Requirements
This may sound like a no-brainer, but following the directions clearly is an important step in completing your transfer application(s). Different universities have different requirements. Does your desired school require letters of recommendation or academic references? Do you need to answer specific questions in an application essay? Does your desired major require its own, separate application? Focus on these details and ensure that you are providing the correct information. If you intend to apply to more than one college, make sure you are submitting accurate information for each individual school.
Understand the Deadlines
Does the institution have a firm or “preferred” deadline? For example, UW and WWU have firm deadlines, meaning they will not accept applications after the transfer application deadline. Other schools, such as WSU, CWU, and EWU, have “preferred” deadlines. These schools will sometimes accept applications after the application due date, but there isn’t a guarantee. Schools with preferred deadlines will review applications that are received before the deadline first. If they have space remaining, they may review applications received after the posted date.
What does this mean for you? In short, you should submit your transfer application before the institution’s deadline when possible. If you are concerned about your GPA or are otherwise worried about meeting the deadline, reach out to your TRIO advisor; in some cases, you may benefit from submitting a late application to a school with a preferred deadline.
Utilizing the Fee Waiver
Did you know that many institutions have an option to waive transfer application fees? While not all students qualify for fee waivers, TRIO SSS students often do. Check to see if your desired transfer school has their own application waiver form. If they don’t you may still be able to waive the fee by completing a transfer waiver form at WVC. Reach out to TRIO for assistance if you are completing applications and need/want to waive the application fee.
Use the Essay as a Chance to Shine
Sometimes called the “Personal Statement,” the essay portion of a transfer application can be your chance to stand out. First, understand what the essay requirements are. If the instructions ask a specific question or have a unique prompt, make sure you address it in your writing.
Keep in mind that the reviewers are reading hundreds of essays. To stand out amongst the crowd, focus on “showing” rather than “telling.” To understand the difference, consider the following examples (from my own transfer applications):
Example 1: When I was in high school, my brother was in a car accident and suffered traumatic brain injury. He thankfully survived. While watching him recover, I began to learn more about the brain and became interested in understanding neuroscience.Example 2: Two days before my seventeenth birthday, I stared at the clock in the hospital waiting room, paralyzed with grief and anxiety as I waited for the surgeons to remove my brother’s scull. I didn’t know at the time how profoundly his car accident would shape the rest of my life. Over the next several months, my brother relearned how to exist in his own body. He relearned to walk, to hold a pencil, and eventually how to drive again. Within a year, my brother went from a comatose mass of tubes and machines to a fully functional member of society once more. His remarkable journey of recovery not only inspired me to do more with my own life, but it also demonstrated the immense resiliency of the human brain.
Which example was more compelling? The first example tells of a life-changing event, but doesn’t captivate the reader in the way that the second example does. The first example is great for writing a draft and creating a placeholder for the information, but a winning essay will pull a reader in.
If writing isn’t your strength, reach out for help! Friends, family, tutors, and campus staff (including TRIO SSS) can help you select and tell a compelling story to make your application shine.
Remember that you don’t have to figure everything out on your own.
TRIO SSS staff are here to help you navigate the transfer application process. For more information about common WA state transfer schools, explore our transfer page here. Current TRIO scholars can schedule an appointment with us here.
Get to Know TRIO
October 26, 2020
Belen Bazan-Delgado, Retention Specialist
I began my educational journey at the University of Washington-Seattle (UW), where I majored in Sociology with a minor in Education, Learning, and Society. At UW, I was involved in various student clubs and two student support programs, CAMP (College Assistant Migrant Program) & TRIO Student Support Services (SSS). Being a part of these programs helped me tremendously. Their holistic approach to advising provided me with personal and academic skills to succeed, persist, and graduate. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in educational counseling from the University of Southern California (USC). Through my studies, I aspire to make intentional and long-lasting effects to help reduce educational disparities. I plan to continue working with students from underserved communities to create educational equity and increase students’ success in higher education.
I chose to work for TRIO SSS at WVC because of the community they serve and its mission to help first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities persist, graduate, and transfer to four-year institutions. As a first-generation student and person from a low-income background, I benefited a lot from TRIO. I experienced first-hand that TRIO WORKS, and I wanted to give back to my community and work for a program that wants to see their students succeed. TRIO provides many great workshops, academic and career advising, and tools for students to be successful scholars. I am happy to be in a position where I can provide guidance and help students navigate the college system.
Jenna Shrewsbury, Program Assistant
I dropped out of high school early in my senior year. About a year after I was supposed to graduate, I obtained my GED and began looking toward furthering my education. As a first-generation student, I started my higher education journey at Green River Community College (now Green River College) in Auburn, WA. There, I found two deep passions for my life: Psychology and Student Services. After earning my Associate’s degree, I transferred from GRC to the University of Washington in Seattle (UW), where I ultimately obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. After UW, I worked toward my Master of Science in Experimental Psychology at Central Washington University in Ellensburg for two years. I then moved to Wenatchee where I have focused on building a career in student services, utilizing my psychology background.
I am thrilled to work for TRIO SSS here at WVC. While I was a first-generation student myself, I never utilized the TRIO services that were available to me. When I heard about the program, I didn’t understand all of assistance the program offered. In hindsight, I wish I could tell my past self to explore those options because I faced a lot of challenges in my education that my friends and family did not understand. Working with TRIO now gives me an opportunity to share my knowledge as a first-generation student with others who may face similar struggles.
Welcome to the 2020-2021 Academic Year
September 22, 2020
I’d first like to say that I am incredibly proud of you. Whether you are continuing your education, newly enrolled, or just looking for information, you’re adapting to big changes. It hasn’t been easy so I’ll say it again: I’m proud of you.
As we head into the 2020-2021 academic year, the TRIO SSS team here at WVC is excited for positive changes ahead. We have spent the past several months making some big changes to the ways in which we work and help our students. The biggest and most obvious change has been working from home since March 2020. Making this change has forced us to adapt and I, for one, am excited about the ways in which we've changed to better serve our students.
Both the TRIO team and WVC as a whole have been working hard to find new ways to assist our students virtually. If you haven’t taken a little time to explore the WVC main website, please do so. There are many helpful tools, departments, and services available to you, including a list various student resources. As far as TRIO goes, in addition to updating our website, we are also making some updates to our social media pages. You can find WVC TRIO SSS on Facebook, Instagram (@wvc_trio), or Twitter (@TRIOsssWVC). Current students will also soon see TRIO on their Canvas home page to help them stay focused and connected.
Furthermore, we are also making changes to the ways we schedule appointments. As a reminder, TRIO SSS participants are expected to meet with the TRIO team at least two times each quarter. Current TRIO scholars can now book appointments on our website by visiting the TRIO homepage or our TRIO staff page. Or you can simply visit our scheduling page directly here.
TRIO Scholars are also expected to attend at least one event or workshop per quarter. Fall Quarter workshops will all be virtual, so attending has never been easier. If you aren’t able to attend workshops in real-time, we will provide recordings for them as well so that you can “attend” at a day/time that works for your schedule.
Upcoming TRIO SSS Virtual Events/Workshops Fall Quarter 2020
Finally, we are introducing this new TRIO Blog. The goal of this page is to provide monthly updates and give you more resources to succeed in meeting your education and career goals. Check back monthly for updates.
Have a wonderful start to fall quarter, stay healthy, and stay safe!