A student recommendation letter is a written endorsement of a student's skills, character, and achievements. Typically, educators, counselors, supervisors, or other adults familiar with the student's abilities and accomplishments write these letters. They are often used to support applications to colleges, graduate programs, internships, scholarships, or even certain job positions.
A student recommendation letter provides evaluators with an external perspective on the student's abilities, often highlighting aspects of the student's character or work that aren't evident from grades or test scores alone.
Introduction: The introduction should specify the writer's relationship to the student (e.g., teacher, counselor, employer) and the duration for which they've known the student.
Purpose: A brief mention of the purpose of the recommendation, i.e., for college admission, scholarship application, job application, etc.
Academic Performance and Abilities: Details about the student's academic achievements, strengths, and any specific courses or projects they excelled in. This section can also highlight the student's work ethic, participation, or special skills.
Character and Personality Traits: An effective recommendation letter will include insights into the student's personal qualities like reliability, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and other relevant characteristics.
Accomplishments and Extracurriculars: Any achievements, awards, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work that the student has undertaken can be emphasized here, especially if they align with the program or position the student is applying for.
Comparison with Peers: Some letters may include a comparison of the student to their peers, providing context for the evaluator about the student's relative performance or standing.
Conclusion and Endorsement: A concluding paragraph summarizing the main points and providing a strong endorsement for the student's application.
Contact Information: The writer should include their contact details, such as phone number and email address, in case the evaluator wishes to get in touch for further clarification or information.
Signature: A handwritten signature (if the letter is printed) followed by the writer's typed name, title, and institution.
Formal Salutations and Closings: Begin with formal salutations like "Dear Admissions Committee," (or specific names if known) and close with phrases like "Sincerely" or "Best regards."
When writing or requesting a student recommendation letter, it's crucial to ensure that the content is genuine, specific, and relevant to the purpose of the recommendation. Personal anecdotes, specific achievements, and examples can make the letter more effective and credible. It's also a good practice for students to give recommenders ample time (typically a few weeks to a month) to write the letter and provide them with any necessary materials, such as a resume, personal statement, or details about the program or position they're applying for.