20 Best College Recommendation Letter Samples [Guide & Tips]

A College Recommendation Letter is a positive review of an applicant seeking college admission. It is written by either a former teacher or employer, highlighting the desirable traits of the individual to the institution and endorsing the candidate for admission.

These letters are a valuable means for college admissions officers to obtain deep insight into the overall personality of an applicant, beyond what might be reflected on test results or personal essays. Often cited as a requirement by some institutions, some do not still appreciate its inclusion. Its very attachment to an application serves as a testament to the quality of the candidate in some capacity, either as an outstanding student who deeply inspired a teacher or an exemplary worker who garnered the praise of an employer.

These letters are an avenue for applicants to truly highlight the academic and behavioral characteristics that an institution embodies. In addition, the letter helps to put focus on the applicant’s achievements and the impact they have had on others. All these add up to significantly boost the chances of the applicant securing an admission.

Free Templates

College recommendation letters are extremely important documents and writing one should be taken with the utmost seriousness. The letter should differentiate the applicant from among the thousands of other candidates and improve significantly on the endorsement of any other candidate. This implies a precise letter structure, appropriate wording, and stellar content.

The template provides an easy means of producing beautiful letters. A document with easily replaceable, pre-written information structured in the exact format of a superb recommendation letter, a template is a perfect guideline for quickly and easily writing up the letter of your own.

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 01 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 02 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 03 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 04 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 05 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 06 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 07 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 08 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 09 in Word Format

Great Editable College Recommendation Letter Sample 10 in Word Format

    How to Request

    The letters have to be written by other people besides friends and family, to reduce the possibility of the letter being considered biased. Thus, applicable writers typically include past teachers and employers who have considerable knowledge of you. Successfully asking these people for the letter and getting a stellar review often requires a significant amount of consideration to pull off. Plan accordingly to obtain the best letter possible.

    Ask the right person

    The quality of the letter you get greatly depends on the person who wrote it. The first factor to consider is your relationship with the potential writer. Opt for writers with whom you had a good relationship and with whom you worked closely. Consider asking a teacher, a sports coach, or a college counselor for the letter. If possible, ask the school principal.

    Teachers familiar with after-school activities you engage in, such as clubs and volunteer programs, can further provide an overview of who you are outside the classroom. Writers such as this can truly draw from a wealth of experiences you had together to speak on your achievements and strengths.

    Also, give greater consideration to writers whose contact with you has been very recent, preferably within a year before the letter is written. This way readers of the letter can be certain they are getting a review of who you are now.

    Choose the best time

    Creating anything of quality takes time. Make this a consideration when requesting the letters for college. The best practice is to ask early to give the writer enough time to come up with something very good. Submit your request to the writer at least a month before the letter will be needed. If possible, ask at the start of your senior year, especially if you are applying for programs that start very early.

    Other pre-considerations

    Each school is different, and the same conditions may not always apply across the board. Obtain due information about the institution you are applying to, ensuring that your letter is relevant. Check for requirements regarding the letters, if any exist.


    Some schools might have specifications on who can endorse applicants. Some colleges might prefer recommendations solely from alumni of the school, or if not, a letter from such a person might have greater credence.

    Information You Should Provide to Recommender

    The content of the letter is generated by the recommender, but you should not leave what you will receive completely up to fate. Help the writer as much as possible by supplying information to ensure that the letter produced truly bolsters your admission chances. Pay particular attention to details such as your participation in class or after-school activities, and highlight personal achievements and the challenges you faced in attaining them.

    Each detail you include should tie closely to the influence of the recommender on you:

    Details of the school you’re applying to

    Inform the writer about the school you are applying to. It becomes easier for the writer to tailor the contents of the letter to that particular school. Qualities that are highly valued in that school can be emphasized accordingly, producing a stronger argument for why you are a good candidate.

    A list of all your achievements and awards

    Furnish the writer with details of your victories, stating what you have achieved. Preferably include achievements that the writer was a part of and can attest to, providing a unique point of view on the experience. Highlight accomplishments in areas that strongly relate to the course you have applied for. A victory in a state-wide poetry competition will be a great thing to mention if you are applying to study English or the arts.

    A list of all your academic skills

    Institutions consider various factors in selecting students for admission, but academic ability remains the most important. Your letter should reflect this and discuss in-depth your skills in the classroom.

    Specific examples are to be included in the letter

    Your letter should not be generic or appear as though it was written as an afterthought. The letters can be a strong indicator of how special a college student is. This becomes obvious based on the details of the letter. A student who genuinely impressed someone enough to be endorsed by that person did something of value. Your letter should be filled with mentions of these fantastic actions. If there are certain notable events, be sure to inform your recommender.

    Details of the submission guidelines

    Certain colleges might release requirements that every letter must meet. This can be crucial in preventing a letter from being rejected. Check up on the necessary information and notify the writer of all submission guidelines.

    You may also request the following from the recommender

    You can spice up your letter further by providing additional information that will fully explain why you are being endorsed.

    These include:

    • A small description of your experience with the recommender: Ask the recommender to add some information about how he/she knows you in your letter. This section should indicate what supervisory role the recommender had over you. The duration for which this role lasted can also be included to show that the recommender had enough opportunity to know you well.
    • A brief positive description of your character: Upstanding character is a huge requirement for most colleges. A glowing review of your personality will serve to endear you to admissions officers.
    • Reasons for getting a positive recommendation: This is a particularly important thing to include. Your recommender should provide a strong reason why he/she is willing to speak for you. This can be due to outstanding academic behavior, an impressive character, or some other achievement.

    Sample Letter

    If you are requesting the letter, you can help your recommender by including an example of what you want with your request. Below is an example of what you should want in your letter, along with a breakdown of why it is so strong in its purpose:


    Dear Admissions Committee,

    I am writing this letter to wholeheartedly recommend Sarah Johnson for admission to Ivywood University. Having had the privilege of being her English teacher for the past two years, I can confidently say that Sarah is an exceptional student who possesses the qualities and potential that any esteemed institution would be fortunate to have.

    Sarah’s academic achievements are truly impressive. Throughout her high school journey, she consistently maintained a remarkable GPA, earning her a place among the top students in our school. Her commitment to her studies is commendable, and her intellectual curiosity knows no bounds. Sarah has a natural gift for critical thinking and problem-solving, which she applies not only to her coursework but also to various extracurricular projects. Her passion for learning is contagious and inspires her peers to excel.

    Beyond her academic prowess, Sarah is a shining example of leadership and community involvement. She actively participates in several school clubs and initiatives, demonstrating her dedication to making a positive impact on those around her. She has spearheaded numerous community service projects, including volunteering at a local food bank and organizing fundraising events for charitable causes. Sarah’s ability to lead with empathy and inspire others is truly remarkable.

    Sarah’s character is equally remarkable. She possesses a rare combination of humility, determination, and kindness that makes her a beloved figure among both students and faculty. Her unwavering commitment to her values and her willingness to stand up for what is right are qualities that set her apart. Sarah’s presence in any academic community would undoubtedly enrich the overall campus culture.

    In conclusion, I wholeheartedly endorse Sarah Johnson as an ideal candidate for admission to Ivywood University. Her academic excellence, leadership qualities, and outstanding character make her a standout applicant who will undoubtedly thrive at your esteemed institution. I am confident that Sarah will not only excel academically but will also contribute significantly to the vibrant and diverse tapestry of your college community.

    Thank you for considering Sarah’s application. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at john.smith@email.com or (555) 123-4567. I am more than willing to provide any further insights into Sarah’s exceptional qualities.


    John Smith

    English Teacher

    Maplewood High School


    The recommendation letter exemplifies several key technical features that make it a useful guide for readers. It maintains a clear and well-organized structure with four distinct paragraphs, ensuring a logical and easily digestible flow of information. The opening paragraph effectively sets the purpose and tone of the letter, clearly stating the recommendation for admission to the university. Furthermore, the author establishes their credibility by mentioning their role as English teacher for the past two years, which adds weight to the recommendation.

    Throughout the letter, the writer employs specific examples and anecdotes to substantiate the applicant’s academic achievements, leadership qualities, and community involvement. These concrete details not only enhance the letter’s persuasiveness but also provide a comprehensive view of the candidate. The language used throughout the letter is consistently formal and professional, adhering to the appropriate tone for such a document.

    Moreover, the writer offers personal insights into the applicant’s character, including attributes like humility, determination, and kindness. These insights go beyond the mere enumeration of achievements and contribute to a more holistic understanding of the candidate’s qualifications. The enthusiastic endorsement in the concluding paragraph leaves a lasting positive impression on the reader, further reinforcing the recommendation.

    The inclusion of the writer’s contact information at the end of the letter demonstrates professionalism and a willingness to provide additional information if necessary. In sum, this recommendation letter serves as a good model by effectively combining professionalism, specificity, and persuasive elements to make a compelling case for the candidate. It offers valuable guidance on the structure and content of similar recommendation letters.

    Some Last-Minute Tips

    The following considerations can boost the success of your letter significantly and help you with the process of requesting a great recommendation letter:

    • Make the process as easy as possible for your recommender. Provide information that they might need, including the proper spellings of certain objects, such as your school’s name. If necessary, provide a school profile.
    • Be respectful in your request and ask on time.
    • Inform the recommender of all the requirements placed on the letter, including the submission date.
    • Inquire after your letter at most a week before the due date to ensure that it has been finished and sent.
    • Remember to thank your recommender for taking the time to speak for you.
    • Provide envelopes with the address and stamps for the recommender, so the letter can be sent instantly after completion. This can also prove beneficial, as failing to see the letter before it is sent can instill greater confidence in admissions officers.
    • If you are requesting a letter from a school counselor, the duty falls to you to paint a personal profile of yourself beyond the academic value that he/she might have. Be sure to make an early appointment to give yourself as much time as possible. During your meeting, give the counselor a good overview of yourself, covering accomplishments, hobbies, and plans for the future. Explore the challenges you have had throughout your school years and how you have overcome them to get to the present moment.

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 11 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 12 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 13 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 14 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 15 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 16 as Word Document

    Free Printable College Recommendation Letter Sample 17 as Word Document

    Professional Downloadable College Recommendation Letter Sample 18 as Pdf File

    Professional Downloadable College Recommendation Letter Sample 19 as Pdf File

    Professional Downloadable College Recommendation Letter Sample 20 as Pdf File

      Key Takeaways

      If you are writing a recommendation letter for college, remember to implement the following practices:

      • Be specific about the information you are giving
      • Know the student well enough to convincingly write about them
      • Tailor the letter to the student requesting and to the institution applied to
      • Write a positive review of the student and focus on making the applicant look as good as possible.

      About This Article

      Alexander Ruiz
      Authored by:
      Educational Consulting, Test Prep Tutoring, College Application Consulting
      Alexander Ruiz stands as the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute in Claremont, California, a distinguished establishment offering tailored educational plans, specialized subject and test prep tutoring, and comprehensive college application consulting. With a rich experience spanning over a decade and a half in the education sector, Alexander's approach transcends traditional teaching. He empowers students not just academically, but also fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence, essential tools for holistic development. Alexander's academic credentials, a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University, further enhance his ability to guide students towards their academic and personal aspirations.

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