How To Write A College Letter Of Recommendation – A college recommendation letter is an endorsement of a college applicant that is written to enhance the chances of admission. Letters of recommendation are brief, formal statements that should highlight positive qualities and explain why the candidate will be successful in college.
Although friends or family may sing the candidate’s praises, the best letters are usually written by teachers or employers.
How To Write A College Letter Of Recommendation
This letter should provide key details about the relationship between the recommender and the candidate, and highlight the candidate’s positive attributes. It should include:
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While it’s easy to write a long list of positives, it’s best to tell a story. Simply put, try to show rather than tell why the candidate will succeed in higher education.
Many colleges require letters of recommendation from applicants. But even if the recommendations are not a strict necessity, they can help to constitute the file of admission.
These letters count for what they say, but they also add a default value to an application just to be included. Even if the admissions committee does not carefully read the letters of recommendation, it is likely that they will note that they have been included in the application and that the candidate is the kind of person who can make recommendations – a positive quality which is unique to him.
A teacher, coach, or counselor are ideal choices and should be able to state key facts about the student including being able to describe their personality traits, work habits, and skills. In addition, the person the student chooses must be someone with whom they have had a relationship outside of school hours, such as through a volunteer program, sports team, or college club.
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The advantage is that colleges and universities understand that in addition to a complete program, having other activities takes away from school work. Therefore, if it is an app with a generic referral versus another with a genuine referral, the latter will most likely get the green light.
A letter of recommendation should fill an entire page (usually 400-500 words) and contain an introduction, two (2) body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The student must be described in a way that highlights both his academic skills and his personal qualities. If the letter is well written, it will provide a complete picture of the candidate that goes beyond their grades and personal resume.
The introduction should be 2-6 sentences that more or less describe the relationship with the student.
Example 1 Dear Admissions Committee, It is with great satisfaction that I recommend Peter to Oak Lane University. I have had the joy of teaching and coaching Peter for the past 2 years on our school’s math team and have watched him grow into an intelligent, mature young man.
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In this introductory example, the student is recommended by the leader of a notable club (“the math team”), which is a notable recommendation.
Example #2 Dear Admissions Committee, It is my honor to recommend Jake to Faraway College as his high school basketball coach. Over the past 4 years I have watched him grow into one of the most impressive players at our school and it was his skills that helped guide our team to a winning season last year. Without his leadership skills and discipline, our team would not have been successful.
Here we have a coach who immediately presents the student as a leader and a disciplined player. Two (2) key personality traits that a school looks for in an applicant.
The first paragraph of the body of the letter should provide a positive description of the student’s character, as well as a list of accomplishments and awards they may have earned. This paragraph will provide the main body of the letter and should therefore be at least 4-6 sentences long.
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Example 1 Laura has been generous, enthusiastic, and helpful both in and out of class. Not only is she one of my top physics students, but she was also responsible for organizing student activities and speaking at assemblies as student council president. In this capacity, Laura has demonstrated that she is a confident, well-organized, diligent and capable leader. She participated as a tutor in the peer tutoring program. I personally oversee this program and can attest not only to Laura’s ability to explain and instruct, but also to her patience and deep commitment to helping others. I am also happy to say that I was able to award Laura the AAPT Outstanding Student Certificate for her exemplary performance during her two years as a student in my Physics classes.
In this example, a physics teacher demonstrates the student’s positive character attributes by referring to the student’s personal achievements and commitments.
Example #2 When I first discovered Jordan, I was immediately impressed with his maturity and confidence. Little did I know that five years later I would be even more impressed by the incredible development of this young man. Jordan is known throughout the school for his athletic accomplishments in track and field, as well as being an outstanding performer in the drama program. As Jordan’s advisor, I have been able to follow his incredible personal and academic progress, and I can attest that with his winning smile and perseverance, there is no mountain he cannot climb. By staying after school for extra help in math and science, Jordan was able to improve his academic performance to such an extent that he was included on the school honor roll for two consecutive years.
In this example, a school counselor draws on his long relationship with the student to describe his personal impression of the student’s character, highlighting the student’s work ethic and exemplary performance in several areas.
Free Graduate School Letter Of Recommendation Template
The second body paragraph will expand on the first, emphasizing the student’s participation in school and school groups, citing specific examples of their positive character traits. Try to connect the various interests and abilities of the student to paint a coherent and memorable picture. This paragraph can contain 3 to 6 sentences, depending on the number of examples given.
Example 1 Cassandra’s personal character is just as impressive as her academic accomplishments. As a speaker, she is able to hold the attention of an entire congregation, and when speaking one-on-one, she displays empathy and a powerful intellect. Cassandra cares about those around her and is always ready to lend a helping hand or a word of encouragement. In her third year, she started a sustainability program with her peers that now conducts an annual school waste audit and gives presentations on waste reduction and practices. With her unwavering enthusiasm and sense of humor, having Cassandra in a classroom is a joy for her teachers and classmates.
The example above uses descriptive language and specific examples to highlight the student’s communication skills, personal interests, and positive personality traits.
Example 2 As captain of the women’s basketball team, Melinda participated in two statewide championships and led our school to victory in a district tournament. This year, she was the editor of this year’s school yearbook, proving her ability to delegate work to her assistant editors and organize an efficient workflow. Melinda is not only a born leader and a hard worker, she is a generous and sympathetic person who strives to have a positive impact on the world around her.
Definition And Examples Of Letters Of Recommendation
This example uses less descriptive language, relying instead on examples relating to the student’s extracurricular activities, demonstrating participation, leadership skills, and sense of responsibility.
The concluding paragraph can contain between 2 and 4 sentences and its purpose is twofold: to summarize the personal recommendation of the author and to provide a method of contact for further questions.
Example 1 Peter’s ability to compete under pressure will surely serve him well in a university setting. He is an organized, intelligent and capable young man who would be a great addition to your school. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at (555) 414-4141 or [email protected] Sincerely, Jan Travis Far Away High School Biology Teacher
The example above contains a brief summary of the student’s positive attributes, as well as two methods of contact contained in the body of the paragraph.
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Example #2 In conclusion, Clayton has my respect and my highest recommendation as an exemplary student. He has demonstrated excellence in everything he does, whether it’s working on a group project or designing a technical experiment. Clayton’s keen interest in understanding how things work and his natural aptitude for science lead me to believe he will be a valuable addition to your classrooms. Please feel free to contact me at the email address listed below if you have any questions. Sincerely, Mr. John Lewis Physics Teacher West Island High School
In this last paragraph, the summary is specifically tailored to the college program to which the student is applying. By being specific, the writer clearly demonstrates why the student is a suitable candidate for a particular college or university.
Sample 1 Dear Admissions Committee, I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Karen Leyland, a most promising student and a wonderful person. I had the pleasure of teaching Karen math during her junior and senior years here at Kirby Prep School. If it were appropriate for teachers to pick their favorites, Karen would definitely be one of my top picks. She has a winning attitude full of unprecedented dynamism and perseverance. She is
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