High quality letters of recommendation are often hard to come by, especially if you are trying to use them for a highly selective university. It's difficult for the letter writer to truly get to know you in one or two meetings, and even challenging, if you have had a teacher in only one class. This is because highly selective colleges truly want to know who you have become outside of class and beyond just your high school campus. Here are a few things that you want to accomplish through a letter of recommendation:
1) The letter writer expresses his/her voice in terms of "superlatives." Demonstrate to these writers how you are one of the most dedicated, diligent, and resilient students they have ever met. This is a difficult task, but it can be done.
2) The letter writer shows your depth and knowledge as a person and as someone pursuing higher education. Allow the writer to get to know you at a personal level, so that he/she can paint the picture of an all-around solid student and good human being. Please do not let your resume speak for you; you need to advocate for yourself and speak often and with a purpose when seeking assistance from a mentor, teacher, or counselor.
3) The letter writer presents a picture of a student, who is more than ready and qualified to enter the school of his/her choice. Be certain that the letter writer knows everything you have accomplished and has a way of articulating any obstacles that you might have overcome. It is very important for the admissions committee to see that you are a good fit for their campus, based on your demonstrations of success throughout life.