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A Shy Student's Guide to College Interviews & Recommendations

Things are stressful enough as it is but, when you're shy or quiet, the fears can become overwhelming.

Paige Sheffield

March 31, 2014

A Shy Student's Guide to College Interviews & Recommendations
Asking for letters of recommendation and preparing for admissions interviews is enough of a hassle alone. But, add shyness or nervousness onto that, and applying for college can seem ridiculously stressful. You’ve already spent so much time on your application, and now you have to ask for letters of recommendation and talk to someone about your aspirations. You feel worried, nervous and anxious. Maybe you don’t like asking people for favors. Maybe you don’t like talking about yourself. Suddenly, applying for college seems more nerve-racking than you could have ever imagined.

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Here are some ways for shy students to eliminate the stress of letters of recommendation and interviews during the college application process.

1. Think of Who You Really Know

Chances are, if you really know and like a teacher or supervisor, he or she probably feels the same way about you. And, if you know someone well, asking for a letter of recommendation will seem much less intimidating.

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2. Give People Time

When asking for a letter of recommendation, make sure you provide a decent amount of time for the person to write it. Sure, your nerves may be getting the best of you. Instead of simply walking by the teacher’s classroom nervously, wondering how the teacher will respond, go ask before it is too late!

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You’ll be glad that you asked sooner rather than later, saving you a lot of stress and providing the teacher or supervisor with a lot more time to make sure you get your letter.

3. Don’t Practice Too Much

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t practice what you want to say in interviews, because you should. However, don’t take it to the point that you try to memorize what you want to say, as you’ll be more likely to stumble over your words and you'll risk not sounding genuine. If you think about what means a lot to you and what you’re most passionate about without planning every sentence, you’ll be more likely to speak with ease and show your personality.

4. Say It Aloud

When you do practice for interviews, instead of thinking everything through, say it aloud so you grow comfortable with speaking about yourself, as well as your accomplishments. Try talking to someone about your goals to prepare yourself.

5. Relax a Little

Remember that people know you’re applying to college. Teachers shouldn’t be mad or annoyed if you politely ask for letters of recommendation; they know that college applications require these letters. If they don’t have time to write one or they don’t feel as though they’re the best person to write it, don’t take it personally. Whatever the reason, you can still ask someone else to write you a letter.

6. Worry Less

This may not seem possible now, but the college application process is so much less stressful without constant worries. Not worrying about an interview at your dream school may seem unrealistic, but stop and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you’re awesome. You’re passionate. This is your chance to show it. Don’t let your nerves get in the way.

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