When a student full of dreams and aspirations is determined to apply for college, he or she will need at least one or two recommendation letters. These letters are carefully read and scrutinized by cynical and doubtful admission counselors, looking for faults that may disqualify the student from the college quest. Anyone can be asked to write a recommendation letter for a student looking to join college including employers, guidance counselors, teachers, community organizers, clergy, and family members. Being asked to write a recommendation letter is a tremendous honor, but a very weighty task. The letter and their college admission essay are the two major factors that are to communicate the person’s strengths to the college admission officers. This article discusses useful tips on how to write and format a recommendation letter for college.
# 1. Seek background information on the college
This can be easily achieved by asking the student for information about the college he or she is applying for. The recommendation letter should focus on the student’s strengths that give them the advantage to succeed at that particular college. No matter what, always involve the potential student when inquiring particulars about the preferred choice of college.
#2. Ask for personal background information from the student
This can be done by asking the student to provide you with a copy of their resume. This enables you to speak to the individual’s experience in your letter. Also, consider meeting with them for a face to face conversation to get a better understanding of their hobbies and interest.
#3. Write the actual college recommendation letter
After researching your facts and listening to the student views, it is now time to write the actual letter. The structure of the college recommendation letter should meet the standard formatting required by the admissions counselors.
The letter should start by stating the standard; “To Whom It May Concern.” Next, provide the name of the student you are recommending. Afterwards, describe how long you have known the person and in what context. If you are a teacher, state the list of courses the student has studied under your guide. Else if an employer, explain the student’s responsibilities in your company.
You should discuss specific examples in the letter, to show ways through which the individual has demonstrated various qualities and skills. Admission counselors are in search of students that possess good personal qualities. The board is concerned with the discipline of the person and the recommendation letter for college should serve as an assurance of the student competency to join the college. Specifically, state why you think the person qualifies for the college admission as a strong candidate.
Use words of emphasis that will help the student standout like, “I highly recommend this individual without reservation.” Be precise and avoid using many common clichés and vague phrases. Always ensure you back up any statement about the student with supporting evidence from past experiences.
You conclude a reference letter for college by providing the school with your contact information in case of further inquiries. Make sure you include your telephone number and email address at the end of the letter.
#4. Adhere to submission guidelines
Inquire from the student on the submission guidelines of the letter. Ensure you strictly follow the necessary requirements, especially concerning the accepted format i.e. PDF or a physical letter. Also, confirm the mailing address on where to send the college recommendation letter.
#5. Evaluate your competency
Only agree to write a college recommendation letter for a person if you can do it in a positive way. If you think you are not fit for the challenge, tell the person politely you are not comfortable writing the letter. In the case that you feel you cannot perform this weighty task, you might consider directing the person to another teacher or administrator.