Not too long ago, letters of recommendation for the college application were merely a suggestion. Now, they are a requirement at most colleges. While students have control over filling out their application, writing their essay and choosing other supplemental materials to include, they actually have very little input into what makes up their letters of recommendation. However, there are a few ways to make recommendation letters work to the best of your benefit; start with these guidelines.This is oftentimes that hardest part of the recommendation process if you’ve never had a letter written on your behalf. Start by thinking about each of the various grown-ups in your life – coaches, pastors, employers, counselors, mentors, teachers or family friend. Do any of these individuals stand out to you as someone who knows your character well and has a good relationship with you? Narrow down your list to three or four people to ask to write a letter of recommendation. Don’t ask your Mom or Dad. Don’t ask a friend. Don’t ask someone that doesn’t really know you very well. Admissions officers will completely disregard a letter of recommendation written by a parent or peer; they will absolutely demonstrate bias toward you.Depending on who you ask, they may want you to be involved in the letter-writing process a great deal or not at all. There are occasions for which a recommender might ask you to write a draft of the letter or provide some points on which you’d like them to write. For instance, you may have to provide a coach with some guidance on writing about your character traits as a player on the field as well as your leadership skills in the locker room. Ask your recommenders whether or not they want you involved in the process. More likely than not, they will handle writing the letter entirely on their own. However, if they do what you to draft a letter or detail some writing points, be prepared.