A Letter of Recommendation for Student highlights the student’s academic abilities. It also shows the skills and quality of character of an applicant for an admission opportunity.
The letter is usually prepared by someone who knows the student and can speak of their academic and professional abilities and accomplishments. It will be needed to help the student enter a college to pursue academic studies. A student may also need a recommendation letter to get a scholarship or to get into a graduate program of studies.
Many times, admissions offices put a great emphasis on recommendations letters especially in cases of selective admissions. In a mountain of thousands of qualified students, a recommendation letter differentiates a student from the rest and gives them a spot. Often, admissions offices look for two things in a recommendation letter; in-depth insight about a student’s academic and personal skills, and a student’s potential to add or contribute to the university or college community.
A recommendation letter puts the referee in a position to vouch for the student’s abilities or personal qualities. For instance, speak about their integrity, leadership skills, or compassion among others. The descriptions give the admissions office a holistic perspective of the student that is beyond what is seen in the grades or application letter.
The following are some types of letters of recommendation for students:
Student recommendation letter for college
A teacher often writes a student recommendation letter for college. It supports the college application and increases the chances of the applicant's admission. This letter is brief, with formal statements. It highlights the positive attributes which will give the applicant success at college. This letter also states the recommender and applicant's relationship, explaining how the recommender got to know the applicant. It also illustrates the applicant's character and competence. This letter highlights both academic skills and personal qualities. It gives a balanced view of the candidate.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
Student recommendation letter for scholarship
A recommendation letter for a scholarship gives information about character qualities and achievements as required for the scholarship. The writer must be familiar with the requirements for the award. And be sure that the student is qualified to get the scholarship before writing this letter.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
Student recommendation letter for graduation
A graduate school letter of intent is a short essay. It outlines the skills, achievements, and goals of the student in the area of study. It strengthens the grad application for the school program. This letter is also considered as a "statement of purpose." It expresses the applicant's genuine interest in the chosen field of study. And details positive benefits for the program and school that will result from the applicant's acceptance.
It lists the applicant's research, professional skills, interests, and achievements in the chosen field. Background information on studies, projects, work experience, are also given. Name mentors worked with to support the intent for the field of study. Graduate schools and their programs have different rules for the information required and the format in which it must be presented.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
How to Write a Student Recommendation Letter
When a student requests a recommendation letter, whether for college, to get a scholarship, or to start graduate studies, it is crucial to do the best for that student. So, we should give some attention and write a well-crafted letter to get the required result.
Then, organize the letter to present the required information in an acceptable way, as outlined below:
Section 1: Address of your letter
It is of extreme importance to address the letter appropriately to make it personalized for the person who will read it. Collect addressee’s details from the student and the role they play in the application process. The letter could be addressed to the admissions counselor, the program director, department head, or the hiring manager. The letter could also be addressed to the human resource department or college’s admission office, in case the student does not know exactly who the letter should address. You can also keep the letter general if the student is applying to several colleges. But try to have the letter highlight the student’s special attributes for the colleges.
Include your contact information
For a formal printed letter of recommendation for students, include your contact information and the recipient’s information at the top of the letter.
Include a salutation to start a personal recommendation. Adding a greeting or salutation helps to connect with the recipient of the letter.
You can use “Dear Dr. George” or “Dear Ms. Starkov”.
Section 2: The introduction of the letter
The first paragraph is the introduction and an important part of your letter. It sets the tone for the rest of the letter, grabs the interest of the recipient, and encourages them to continue reading.
Introduce yourself to establish your credibility as the student’s teacher. This will give weight to your opinion of the admissions board. Say who you are and how you are qualified to write on behalf of the student. Give your job title, and the course you taught the student. You can also describe your role in clubs and extracurricular activities in which the student was involved if you did not have the student in your class.
Explain your relationship with the student
Also included in the introduction is your relationship with the candidate. Mention how do you know the student and for how long. You can give an account of your role in the student’s academic life. You can also give your early impressions of the student especially the development you have seen in them. Write of how you were impressed with the quality of the student’s work in classroom assignments, and in other academic areas.
State reason for writing the letter
You share what you know about the student and explain why the student deserves the opportunity being offered. It may be admitted to a college, a graduate program, or getting a scholarship.
Section 3: Body of the letter
Section 3 must include the following components:
Describe student’s academic performance
Many universities often look for students who can contribute and improve the institution. Tell the admission committee members how the student, being recommended, can do that. Let the admissions counselor know how the student will get involved. Name the organizations and clubs that will allow participation. Show potential success based on contributions made to your school, drawn from the student’s resume or academic record.
Include examples from:
- Involvement in sports
- Membership in clubs
- Voluntary work as a contribution to the school
- Competitions engaged in, and awards, and recognitions gained
- Group or Individual projects worked on
- Presentations made and public speaking participation
- Leadership roles assumed, such as captain of a team or president of a club
- Academic performance such as improving and maintaining grades and achieving excellence.
Section 4: Conclusion
Close the letter by restating your support for the student’s application. And state your availability to answer more questions. You will be glad to say more about your experience with and recommendation of the student. You can include your phone number and your email address as options for contacting you. This last part can show the university or college that you believe in the student’s abilities. It will also give your endorsement of the student for the program that they are applying to.
Section 5: Closing
Close the student recommendation letter like a formal letter closing, i.e., with your name and title printed and your signature under your typed name.
Note: When sending an email, close the recommendation letter with only your name and contact information.
Recommendation Letter Template
To Whom it may Concern,
I _________ [Your Name] am glad to recommend _________ [Student’s Name] for the _____ [reason for application]. I have known him/her personally for _ years. During that time, I was ………… [Student’s first Name] professor at ___________ [Name of School].
My association with _________ [Student’s Name] has shown me that he/she is someone who turns up earlier than required, works hard, and always has a respectable, and polite manner. Also, _________ [Student’s Name] is a devoted student who is always levelheaded and graceful in every way.
If you have questions or requests, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.
Signature _________ Date __
Letter of Recommendation Samples
Recommendation letter for Students Applying to College
Dear Admissions Committee,
I am greatly honored to recommend Susan for admission to your institution for an engineering program. In my 5 years as her class teacher, she has proved to be an exceptional student in all aspects. I taught Susan physics for the last 4 years and even recommended her to pursue a course in robotics. That is why it gladdens me to realize she has been ranked as the best student in her class. Her keen interest in physics, science, and math cupped with advanced skills in practical physics applications will make her fit for your comprehensive engineering program.
When it comes to personal intelligence, Susan is sharp, quick, and perceptive with a significantly high aptitude for sciences. One thing I have come to know about her is her passion for computers where she has demonstrated curiosity to understand what holds what together. This has been demonstrated in her tendency to open up old computers in the school library and try to fix broken drives.
Susan has in her time here demonstrated strong leadership skills as the leader of the robotics club where she has been described by students as always being ready to assist. She is also a charismatic scholar as evidenced by a time she came to make a presentation on the solar system. Her presentation was ranked as the most fascinating, and fun of all and it left everyone talking about it. In my physics teaching career, she was the only student teacher to inspire such deserved applause after her presentation.
Susan is an outgoing person with a great sense of humor. She is easily likable and the perfect person to get a group rolling. Her cheerful character makes her easily approachable which goes a long way into impacting other students academically considering her academic prowess.
I highly recommend Susan for your admission to the engineering program. She has shown exceptionalism and excellence in what she sets her mind on; whether a class project or club initiative. She has the potential to make a difference in the scientific world if provided with the resources in your institution. She is a phenomenal student. In case you need clarification or have inquiries feel free to contact me on my email provided below for more information.
High Achievers High School
Recommendation letter for Students Applying for Graduate Courses
To whom it may concern,
I am Smith, a professor in the department of sociology at County State college. I am greatly honored to write to you concerning one of my students, Will, who applied for an MBA in sociology in your institution.
Will completed his graduate sociology program with an aggregate score of 84% which is the highest score I have recorded since I started teaching sociology 10 years ago. Will is an exceptional student who has demonstrated excellent communication and social skills which are vital to the course. He is also a great orator nicknamed the ‘Martin Luther’ of his debate club which gave him a large following.
For a long time, he has aspired to pursue an MBA in your institution after which he seeks to pursue his ambitions of starting his own social work center. He is one of the only students who has demonstrated empathy and compassion for his community and expressed that he aims to start his social work center to give back to the less fortunate in his society.
I strongly recommend this student for your MBA sociology program. Not because he is the most brilliant or intelligent student ever, but because he possesses the best leadership and people skills and an admirable personality. These are the core qualities needed to make an excellent sociologist. Do not hesitate to contact me on my email for more information.
County State College
Recommendation letter for Students Applying for Scholarships
To whom it may concern,
I am pleased to recommend Mr. Tom for the coca-cola scholarship running for 2 years at the University of South Wales.
I have taught Mr. Tom for the last 4 years at the University of California, and I can say for sure that he has a great passion for art as demonstrated in his masterpiece art projects. He is one of the few students ever to have their art piece featured in the inter-campus art competitions where he emerged the first runners-up, missing the first prize with a few points.
Tom is an intellectual risk-taker who is not afraid to pursue different areas of art, and that is what makes his art pieces so unique. I believe that with the facilities available at the University of South Wales he could grow to become the Picasso of his time. Over his period here, he has demonstrated intense, almost religious dedication to his arts, always striving to improve them as he can.
This scholarship could go a long way to offer him the last ingredient he has been missing to be great. He holds so much potential to be a great artist and painter if provided with proper mentoring, equipment, and environment. I believe the University of South Wales is the perfect place for him.
From my time working with him on his last project which was mind-blowing, I highly recommend him for that scholarship. I have observed what he is capable of and I can say for sure he has the potential to be a phenomenal artist. In case you need clarification or have inquiries, contact me via my email for more information.
University of California
Following are some free downloadable templates for you:
Last Minute Tips
Include Key Content
A recommendation letter should not be a repetition of what has already been stated in the application letter like grades, awards, and clubs. Remember that the admission’s office is looking for more insight. However, this does not mean you cannot mention what the student has achieved. For instance, you can mention something the student started which portrays their capability to be initiative driven. For example, mentioning that the student started a movement targeting to get rid of stigma accosted to LGBT students in the school. While the recommender does to have to necessarily have to have all the answers, they should include information that will demonstrate the student’s specific skills, passion, talents and intellectual curiosity. A strong letter of recommendation gives insights into the student’s motivations, intellectual orientation, and personal qualities.
State the crucial themes
The same way you do not go about repeating the same things listed in the application letter, you do not state all the qualities making the student great. In most cases, while an all rounded student might pass as exceptional, it might not be what the admissions office is looking for. Many times a student’s singular achievement in a specific area may go a long way than many activities. This is because it shows a student’s ability to focus on an initiative and their passion and commitment towards it. Focusing on the most important themes will highlight the student’s dedication and ability to maintain long-term goals which is what many institutions look for in new applicants. Once you identify specific themes, you could include a story or observation if there is to support your claim.
Offer specific instances
Sentences paint a clear picture of the student, yes, but an example makes the picture vivid. Giving specific examples of a student’s abilities or achievements offer grounds to which the teacher has concluded. Examples also make the letter interesting. However, you ought to be careful not to get carried away and give a long story since it might beat the whole purpose of the recommendation letter being official. You should give examples that prove you as the recommender is qualified to assess the student. That is, a class teacher may be in a better position to know the student due to long contact.
Employ powerful words
Forget the cliché phrases to describe the student, most of the admission’s offices are used to them. You need to make the student stand out. Using phrases like ‘go-getter, a friend with a golden heart’ and the others will get the letter as far as eliciting a yawn and a roll of the eyes. Picture this, using the words ‘hard-working’ to describe a student and using ‘intellectual risk-taker.’ You have to admit, the phrase ‘intellectual risk-taker sounds more powerful and is likely to make the admissions officer to glow up. Some of the strong words to describe academic excellence include; insightful, curious, innovative, observant, analytical, etc. to describe the character you can use; flexible, empathetic, leader, ethical, motivated, and ambitious.
Lastly, you can rank the student accordingly if needs be and state all the essential information. Remember that you are recommending the student for a special stage of their life and they have trusted you to make it possible to pass it. The key things to highlight are the student’s academic potential, personality, and character. Also, mention any other detail you think might make it easier for the admissions office to get a deeper understanding of what the student can do.
- Write a recommendation letter only for a student you can speak directly about their qualifications.
- Get details of the recipient’s name, email, and the date the letter is due.
- Request an up-to-date resume and details of the purpose for which the reference is needed.
- Include examples of relevant skills, qualities, and experience of the student.