How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation For University – A college recommendation letter is a college applicant’s endorsement that is written to increase 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 studies.
Although friends or family can sing an applicant’s praises, the best letters are usually written by teachers or employers.
How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation For University
The letter provides key details about the relationship between the recommender and the applicant and highlights the applicant’s positive attributes. It should include:
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While it’s easy to write a laundry-list of positives, telling a story is even better. Simply put, try to show rather than tell why the applicant will succeed in higher education.
Many colleges require letters of recommendation from applicants. But even if recommendations aren’t a strict requirement, they can help make the case for admission.
These letters are important for what they say, but they also add some default value to the application just to be included. Even if the admissions committee doesn’t read the recommendation letters carefully, they are likely to note that they were involved in the application, and that the applicant is someone who can drum up recommendations – a positive quality of his own.
A teacher, coach or counselor are ideal choices and should be able to convey key facts about the student including being able to describe their personality traits, work habits and skills. Additionally, the person chosen by the student should be someone with whom they have a relationship outside of school hours such as part of a volunteer program, sports team, or academic club.
Letter Of Recommendation Templates: How To Write & Examples
The advantage of this is that colleges and universities realize that, on top of a full curriculum, other activities take away from schoolwork. Therefore, if it falls on an application with a general reference along with an official reference, the latter will probably be allowed.
A letter of recommendation should fill a full page (usually 400 – 500 words) and contain an introduction, two (2) body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The student should be described in a way that highlights both their academic skills and 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 anywhere from 2 to 6 sentences that, more or less, describe the relationship with the student.
Example #1 Dear Admissions Committee, It is with great pleasure that I recommend Peter to the University of Oak Lane. I have had the pleasure of teaching and coaching Peter for the past 2 years as part of our school maths team and have watched him mature into an intelligent, mature young man.
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A student being recommended by the head of a significant club (“math team”) in this sample introduction is a separate recommendation.
Example #2 Dear Admissions Committee, It is my honor to recommend Jack to Faraway College as his high school basketball coach. Over the past 4 years, I have seen him develop into one of the most influential players in 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 enjoyed its success.
Here we have a coach who immediately introduces the student as a leader and a disciplined player. Two (2) key personality traits that schools look for in a candidate.
The first body paragraph of the letter should provide a positive description of the student’s character, as well as list any accomplishments and awards he or she has received. This paragraph will provide the body of the letter and should therefore be at least 4-6 sentences in length.
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Example #1 Laura has proven herself to be generous, enthusiastic, and helpful in and out of class. Not only is she one of my top physics students, but she is also responsible for organizing student activities and speaking at assemblies as the student council president. In this capacity, Laura has demonstrated that she is confident, organized, diligent and a capable leader. She has participated as a tutor in a 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 pleased to announce 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, the physics teacher demonstrates the student’s positive character traits by referring to the student’s personal achievements and commitments.
Example #2 When I was first introduced to Jordan, I was immediately impressed by his maturity and confidence. Little did I know that five years later I would be more impressed by this young man’s amazing growth. Jordan is recognized throughout the school for his athletic achievements in track and field, as well as a standout performer in the theater program. As Jordan’s counselor I have been able to track his incredible personal and academic progress, and I can attest that there is no mountain he cannot climb with his winning smile and perseverance. By staying after school for extra help in math and science, Jordan has been able to improve his academic performance so much that he has been named to the school’s honor roll for two years.
A school counselor in this sample 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 multiple areas.
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The second paragraph is going to expand on the first paragraph, emphasizing the student’s participation in school and in school groups, citing specific examples of their positive character traits. Try to combine the student’s diverse interests and aptitudes to draw a coherent and memorable portrait. This paragraph can run from 3-6 sentences depending on how many examples are given.
Example #1 Cassandra’s personal character is as impressive as her academic achievements. As a public speaker he is able to command the attention of an entire assembly, and when speaking together he exhibits empathic listening skills as well as powerful intelligence. Cassandra cares about those around her and is always ready to help or encourage. In her third year, she started a sustainability program with her peers that now conducts annual school waste audits and gives presentations on waste reduction and practices. With her unwavering enthusiasm and sense of humor, Cassandra is a joy to have in the classroom for her teachers and fellow students.
The sample 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 girls basketball team, Melinda has competed in two state-wide championships and led our school to a district tournament victory. This year, she served as editor of this year’s school yearbook, proving her ability to delegate tasks to her assistant editors and organize an efficient workflow. Melinda is not only a born leader and a dedicated worker, she is also a kind and empathetic person who strives to make a positive impact on the world around her.
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This example uses less descriptive language, instead relying more on examples related to students’ extracurricular activities, demonstrating their participation, leadership skills, and sense of responsibility.
A conclusion paragraph can be 2-4 sentences long and has a two-fold purpose: to summarize the writer’s personal recommendation and to provide a contact method for further questions.
Example #1 Peter’s ability to perform competitively under pressure will certainly serve him well in a college setting. He is an organized, intelligent and capable young man who will be an excellent addition to your school. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at (555) 414-4141 or [email protected] Sincerely, Jan Travis Biology Teacher Far Away High School
The sample above contains a brief summary of the student’s positive attributes, as well as the two contact methods included in the body of the paragraph.
Letter Of Recommendation: How To Write + Samples & Templates
Example #2 In conclusion, Clayton has my respect and highest recommendation as an exemplary student. He excels in everything he puts his mind to, whether it’s working on a group project, or designing a technical experiment. Clayton’s keen interest in understanding how things work and natural aptitude for science lead me to believe he will be a valuable addition to your classrooms. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the email address below. Sincerely, Mr. John Lewis Physics Teacher West Island High School
In this conclusion paragraph, the summary is directed specifically toward the college program to which the student is applying. By being specific, the writer clearly demonstrates why the student is a suitable applicant for a particular college or university.
Sample 1 Dear Admissions Committee, It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of a most promising student and a wonderful person, Karen Leyland. I have had the pleasure of teaching Karen math during her junior and senior years here at Kirby Prep School. If it were fair for teachers to pick favorites, Karen would definitely be one of my top picks. She has a winning attitude full of drive and perseverance that goes unmatched. she
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