Academic (School) Reference Letter Samples – Templates

This reference letter for an academic/school is a document that provides details about a student’s academic achievements, character as a student, and future career aspirations.

These letters are mostly written by teachers, guidance counselors, school administrators, coaches, and club organizers, as they have ample evidence of a student’s capabilities. These parties are often the most qualified sources to write this letter that suggests how the student will fit into the new educational institution or career. Typically, such letters are specifically requested to be written about someone, and therefore, they should be addressed to a particular requester such as a higher institution admission officer, a company’s hiring team, etc. However, they are sometimes issued to the person being recommended without specifying an addressee.  

While giving a lot of information, application letters don’t give a complete review of the character of the student, dependability, and scholarly abilities.

These letters offer this fundamental understanding and data about the personality of a student.

Free Templates

Sample Academic Recommendation Request from Student to Teacher

General Sample of Academic Recommendation for a Student

Professional Sample of Academic Recommendation Letter

    Importance of Academic Reference Letter

    These letters are generally written to help students get into graduate school programs or get internships and entry-level jobs in corporate organizations. While the student’s transcripts and standardized test scores can provide information on a student’s academic knowledge and qualifications, the admissions department or company hiring team uses this document to help validate their data-based perspective on a student.

    It can also be used as an alternative to a professional reference for someone who lacks work experience in a given industry. In this case, it can be particularly powerful if the job opening aligns with the applicant’s academic experience.

    What is Included in an Academic Reference Letter?

    It should include the following important details:

    • The referee’s name and contact information
    • The name of the student being recommended
    • A detailed explanation of the referee’s academic relationship with the student
    • An evaluation of the student’s specific skills and potential for success in their future endeavors.
    • It should also include an enthusiastic endorsement of the referee’s candidacy.

    How to Craft an Academic Reference Letter

    Generally, it should be one or two pages in length. The document should focus on the student’s academic history, character, and future academic or career aspirations. Here is a guide on how to craft the letter:

    Request for the student’s academic information

    This is a great pre-writing consideration and the first step to writing it effectively. Ask the student for a list of academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and GPA. In addition, request information about the program, college, university, or job they are applying for to tailor the letter to the specific program or job they are applying to.


    If the student is applying for a position at a given company, the recommender can ask to review the company’s job description to identify how best the student can suit the role. If the student is applying to a university, the writer of the letter can ask to review the student’s personal essay to learn more about why they are applying and what they hope to achieve from the opportunity.

    Correctly address the academic reference letter

    Writing a proper address for this letter ensures that it reaches the correct audience and makes the letter seem more personalized. To be sure of whom to address the letter to, ask the student to provide the full details of the addressee, including their name, title, and role in the application process.

    If the addressee’s details are unknown to the student, then the writer can generally address the letter


    Dear college’s admission office, Dear Company Hiring Team, etc.

    Important Note

    If the student is applying to various learning institutions, programs, or companies, the address format of the letter should be general, but the recommender can try to highlight the student’s suitable attributes as much as possible.

    for instance

    If the student is applying for an entry-level data analyst position at several companies, the recommender can focus on the student’s achievements as a data science student in college and provide specific examples of the student’s successful projects or data science awards.

    Include a self-introductory paragraph

    The first paragraph should portray the writer’s credibility as the student’s recommender to offer the admissions board a valued opinion of the candidate. In this section, the recommender should identify who they are and how they are qualified to speak on behalf of the student.  

    The self-introductory paragraph of the letter should also include details of how long the recommender has known the specific student and in what capacity. The recommender can use a few sentences to explain their role in the student’s academic life or describe their first impressions of the student and how they have seen them advance academically or personality-wise. The phrasing of this section should be in terms of how the student has been outstanding in class, on their assignments, in extracurricular activities, and in other day-to-day academic settings.

    Include an evaluation of the student’s qualifications

    While such letters provide a good starting point for students to get admitted to coveted positions and programs, the most effective documents are often those that are highly personalized with unique examples of the student’s personality and qualifications. Remember, most universities and companies usually look for candidates that they believe can contribute to and improve the organization.

    In this regard, the writer of the letter should illustrate how the student can contribute to an organization’s success by showing the student’s specific contributions and achievements while in school.

    These specific examples can be drawn from the student’s resume or academic information from items such as:


    • Leadership rolesIndividual or group projectsInvolvement in extracurricular activities such as clubs, volunteering, and gaming activities.Academic excellenceCompetitions, awards, and recognitions


    The conclusion of the letter should include a hearty endorsement of the recommender’s candidacy. One can achieve this by restating their support of the student’s qualifications, achievements, and potential for success and by offer to remain available should the reader have more questions about the recommendation and experience with the given student.

    The recommender is advised to include a few options for the recipient of the letter to contact them, such as an active phone number and email address. Providing the writer’s contact information demonstrates to the hiring company or admission board that the recommenders are confident in the student’s abilities and that they fully endorse them for the program or role, which may influence their decision to select the given candidate.

    Follow the submission guidelines

    After completing the letter, the recommender should proofread and ensure it is free of grammar and punctuation errors. Afterward, they should ask the student how to submit it and follow any submission requirements for the latter. This is especially true when the admissions board or company’s hiring team is specific about where, when, and in which format to send it.

    Academic Reference Letter Template

    [School’s Letterhead]
    [Sender’s Name] |
    [Sender’s department and address]
    [Sender’s phone number]
    [Sender’s Email address]

    [Current date]

    [Recipient’s name]
    [Recipient’s address]

    Dear [recipient’s name, if known]: or To Whom It May Concern:

    I am greatly honored to recommend [name of candidate] for admission to _____ [name of program, job position, course] at ____ [institution’s name]. I am a _ [job title, role in the school] at _ [name of the school, city/state]. I came to know _ [applicant’s name] when I was __ [mentioning the referee’s academic relationship with the student, e.g., mathematics teacher, volleyball instructor, college professor, etc.] in [what capacity, e.g., Grade 8, high school, college year 3, etc.]. The course comprised ____ [write a brief description of the course] and _ [applicant’s name] distinguished herself by submitting an exceptionally well-researched and interesting project on ethical practices in insurance management. Overall, I would rank ___ [applicant’s name] in the top 2% of students that I have taught in the past [duration] regarding her research skills and writing ability.

    [Student’s name] is highly intelligent with very impressive [mention skills and capabilities]. From my first encounter with her in class, she has always impressed me with her extensive knowledge and ambition. She participated in every discussion and performed very well on all her assignments. Besides that, _ [applicant’s name] has always been an active participant in _ [mention the extracurricular activity]; her fellow students elected her as the lead student aide for the sports training program.

    Over the years, I have watched __ [applicant’s name] work with other students in a caring and compassionate manner. I believe that she is best suited for the [mention the program’s name or job position] that your organization is offering because she has the necessary drive and skills to tackle it. I do not doubt that [applicant’s name] will prove to be a key asset to your organization.

    I am available to discuss __ [student’s name] skills and charismatic nature with you anytime. Do not hesitate to contact me at [referee’s phone number] or by email at [referee’s email address].

    [Recommender’s name]
    [Job title]
    [School’s name]

    Sample Letter

    A sample letter written by a high school teacher recommending her student for admission to a university program is provided below. 

    Academic Reference Letter Template

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend Alex Johnson for admission to your astrophysics program at Horizon University. As Alex’s physics teacher at Greenwood High School, I have observed his remarkable academic journey over the past three years.

    Alex has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding of complex scientific concepts and an unwavering dedication to his studies. His ability to grasp advanced theories and apply them in practical scenarios is truly commendable. In his junior year, Alex led a team project on gravitational waves, which was awarded first place in our annual science fair.

    Beyond academics, Alex is a compassionate and enthusiastic individual. He volunteered as a tutor for underprivileged students, explaining intricate physics concepts with patience and clarity. His leadership and empathy have made a significant impact on our school community.

    Alex’s passion for astrophysics is not just limited to the classroom. He actively participates in astronomy clubs and has attended several national science seminars. His inquisitive nature and relentless pursuit of knowledge make him an ideal candidate for your program.

    I am confident that Alex Johnson will excel in your astrophysics program and contribute meaningfully to the Horizon University academic community. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information.


    Rachel Brown

    Physics Teacher

    Greenwood High School


    This sample recommendation letter showcases how to effectively present a student’s qualifications for an academic program. Its clear structure makes the letter coherent and easy to follow. The letter is especially strong in providing specific examples and achievements, such as leading a science project, which enhances its persuasiveness. A notable aspect is the balance between academic abilities and personal qualities, which paints a well-rounded image of the student. Tailoring the letter to the specific program demonstrates its relevance, making the recommendation more compelling. The professional tone strikes a balance between being authoritative and approachable. Furthermore,

    • Writer’s Credentials: The writer’s contact details and position as the student’s physics instructor are included to lend authority and credibility.
    • Positive Endorsement: The writer concludes with a strong, confident endorsement of the student’s potential, which is key to leaving a lasting, positive impression.

    This letter serves not only as a guide for structure but also provides content inspiration, showcasing appropriate tone and language. It demonstrates how to customize letters for specific programs, making it an invaluable template for crafting effective academic recommendation letters.

    Who Can Request to Write an Academic Reference Letter?

    These letters are ‌useful to undergraduates applying to graduate programs, individuals in the workforce who are applying for occupations, and students who want to join an undergraduate program. 

    for instance

    • People applying to an MBA program or college require 2-3 references that clarify why they should be accepted into the business college. The reference may clarify how they have prevailed or faired in past scholarly or business interests.
    • Some grant programs expect candidates to submit references to help grant their applications. This is most normal in programs that honor grants in view of scholarly legitimacy, volunteer understanding, and so on. 
    • A vocation searcher may likewise require a proficient reference or suggestion. The reference should clarify or back up the reasons why the individual who wants the job is a decent contender for a specific position in an organization. These letters tend to concentrate on proficient capabilities.

    Quick Tips

    Following are a few quick tips to help you write an excellent letter of reference:

    • Concentrate on the candidate.
    • A portrayal of the candidate’s record.
    • An assessment of the achievements of the candidate.
    • Talk of individual qualities just to the degree that they foresee potential development and work execution.


    Reference letters for school are a great addition to a student’s transcripts, as they help organizations and institutions of higher learning better understand who the student is, what they aspire to be, and how the student is likely to perform in a given role. In addition, the 1-2 pages long document can complement a student’s resume and cover letter to a company and provide more useful insight into their school-related accomplishments. Therefore, when writing it for a student, the recommender should maintain a positive note throughout the letter. Nonetheless, they should ensure they have adequate facts about the student to avoid writing a generalized letter, as this will be less likely to influence the selection of the given applicant.

    About This Article

    Haley S.
    Authored by:
    Resume Writing, Cover Letter Writing, Content Writing, Curriculum Vitae, Biographies
    Haley Sawyer has transformed the professional narratives of thousands, meticulously crafting resumes and cover letters that unlock the doors to their dream jobs. Whether it is sales, healthcare, or any other domain, Haley's expertise in creating ATS-compatible resumes always stand out in the crowd. Haley's portfolio spans a diverse range of industries: from Healthcare and Business to IT, Sales Leadership, and Engineering. She caters to professionals at all stages, from entry-level aspirants to seasoned C-suite executives. Beyond resumes, her services extend to cover letter writing, crafting compelling biographies, and content writing.

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