College Letter of Recommendation (Best Examples)

For many universities, a well-written letter of recommendation is required before a student is granted admission. For some, more than one letter is required. Why? A well-written letter of recommendation is important for the school to gain a holistic view of the student they wish to admit to their institution.

Depending on the school, you might be asked to provide a letter of recommendation from a specific group or type of people or from anyone. Also, some schools may demand a letter of recommendation as part of the admission requirements, while for others, it is an optional addition that could help increase your chances of getting admitted to the school.

In this article, we will go over what a letter of recommendation is and how you can go about formatting a college letter of recommendation if you are ever called upon to write for a student.

What is a Letter of Recommendation?

In general terms, a letter of recommendation is a letter written by a person who can vouch for another person’s academic work or skillset. Letters of recommendation find use in many places and industries. They can be sent to hiring managers to help get a person hired at a company or to a college admissions officer to help a student with admission.

A good letter of recommendation should show a person’s work and skillset as it relates to the position they are applying to. They are typically written by professors, coaches, teachers, clients, or previous employers of a person.

What is a Letter of Recommendation for a College Student

A college letter of recommendation is a letter written to improve the chances of a person getting admission to a college or university. They are direct endorsements of the person in question. Well-written college letters of recommendation are usually brief and are written to highlight the positive attributes of a student and show why the student will be successful in the school.

The best recommendation letters come from those that really know you and your best bet includes your teachers and counselors. These gain more respect from the college admissions board and may show them aspects of your life beyond sterling grades and great academic achievements.

You may want to include inputs from your coach, junior high teacher, and employer. Those that have experienced you being selfless and caring, passionate, and credible. A college letter of recommendation is never to appear forced, but the flow of words should naturally endear people to your personality.

Importance

College recommendation letters help show the college that the student is a right fit for the institution. Because they come from a credible source, they go to prove that the student, under the right circumstances, will portray the right traits and succeed.

A college recommendation letter is important on many counts, some of which include that:

  • It offers an insight into the strengths and capacities of a student that will be beneficial to the school. Since teachers usually write this letter, it gives them room to talk about the virtues and strengths of the student beyond the grades. They can give the college a view of your passion and hard work in that area and give reasons for your choice
  • The letter helps the college to understand your relationship with your school and teachers. The teacher’s manner of writing and word phrasing tells the school a lot about your relationship, your attributes, and attitudes towards learning, character, and discipline.
  • It also gives a glimpse of your passion outside school; these include charities and volunteer hours.
  • It gives an overall impression of your personality. It gives the college a picture of your future life and your areas of relevance in the society

Before Start Writing a Letter of Recommendation

Before and during the process of writing a letter of recommendation for a prospective college student, there are certain considerations you should make and components you should put in place to improve the quality of your letter of recommendation.

Some of them are:

Think carefully about saying yes

A college letter of recommendation is a direct endorsement of a student, meaning you put your credibility on the line to vouch for a student’s positive abilities. This means you must be sure of the student’s positive abilities before you proceed to write this letter. If you are unsure of the student or you feel like you haven’t seen enough positive attributes in the student, consider declining the offer to write.

Focus on the particular school

It is important you know exactly the kind of letter the school wants. Different schools have different styles and different requirements, and writing something different from what they want could reduce the chances of the student gaining admission. Ensure you ask for details about what the school wants from the student.

Collect information

Anyone who is writing a recommendation letter for a college has to have in-depth knowledge about it. And so you should get adequate information about the school, the course the student wishes to study and other important things before you settle to write. With this information at hand, it is much easier to write a letter that will address the student’s particular need.

Mention how you know the student

The student is human, and so it is true that the student will have some bad traits. However, you should try to stick to positivity throughout the letter. Your letter should focus on all of the wins and their positive impact on society at large. This will help to convince the school that the student is exactly who they need in their college.

Share your contact information

The college may need to verify some information or ask questions. You must be accessible. Including your phone number or email address will be helpful.

Follow the submission guidelines

The aim of writing this letter is to get it to the appropriate authority. Therefore, you must get the right information about submission and follow the guidelines.

Ask the student for their resume or a one-on-one meeting

It is important to know the student about whom you’re writing. So set up a meeting and get personal information that can help you with the letter. You could set up a virtual or real-life meeting.

Include a few key pieces of information

For most colleges, applicants have similar grades. However, you can add the student’s outstanding areas to help give the student a slight edge.

What do Colleges Look for in a Letter of Recommendation?

Colleges look for positive attributes, traits, personal qualities, achievements, and recommendations from a person of authority. They also look to see the student’s past achievements and behaviors that show how they handle pressure, their attention to detail, and how they relate with other people they work with.

The colleges are also interested in the people that will agree to stand for the student and write a letter of recommendation to them. This is very important because it gives the college a general view of the student’s teachers, employers, and leaders, on which they can base their decisions.

Colleges want to get a summary of the best out of the student’s past school or workplace. A letter of recommendation goes to tell a college about the standards of the institution and its values. And so, in writing a recommendation letter, the school or company’s reputation is also at stake.

How to Format a College Recommendation Letter

The format of a college recommendation is quite easy. All you need is an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typically, a college recommendation letter is about 400 – 500 words and should fill a whole page. However, if you can get all the information required with lesser words, then go for it.

Introduction

The introduction should be about six sentences or less and should state the purpose of the letter as well as the relationship with the student.

An example:

Dear Admissions Committee,

It is with honor I wish to recommend Martin Ferrell to the University of Jungle Boots. Over the course of the last 6 years, I have had the honor of teaching him as his science teacher in the School of Hitchhiking and watching him grow into one of the most disciplined and intelligent students in the school.

Body Paragraph 1

This paragraph is the beginning of the main body of the letter and should list a few achievements and awards of the student

Example:

Martin has proven himself to be not only an excellent student but also a dependable leader. During the period of time he spent as a student in the School of Hitchhiking, he worked with students of all grades to achieve excellence in science and mathematics-related courses. He was part of the team that built the jumping ferret, which our school is well known for, and he led the team that won the superscience competition that included students from schools all over the Midwest.

Paragraph 2

This is a continuation of paragraph 1. Spend time here talking about extracurricular activities and other minor achievements, as well as the student’s character.

Example:

Martin also worked hard in giving back to the community that helped him get a scholarship to college by tutoring grade 5 and 6 students on the basics of science. He is like a hometown hero in his small town of Walkingworth, as even small kids in the neighborhood run around and fix things thanks to the training received from him. Martin is also a compassionate and very friendly person, and he has great leadership potential.

Conclusion

This is the final paragraph, and it is written to summarize the recommendation and provide further contact information.

Example:

With all I have seen from Martin, I truly believe he has what he takes to succeed in your school and add more value to the department of Surface Tension. If you have any further questions, please contact me at 17XDNNH789 or username@abc.com.

Sincerely,

Malcolm Gandi

Science TeacherSchool of Hitchhiking

College Letter of Recommendation Samples

Here are some samples you can work with when writing a college letter of recommendation:

Letter of recommendation from a teacher

Dear Admissions Committee,

It is with honor I wish to recommend Martin Ferrell to the University of Jungle Boots. Over the course of the last 6 years, I have had the honor of teaching him as his science teacher in the School of Hitchhiking and watching him grow into one of the most disciplined and intelligent students in the school.

Martin has proven himself to be not only an excellent student but a dependable leader. During the period of time he spent as a student in the School of Hitchhiking, he worked with students of all grades to achieve excellence in science and mathematics-related courses. He was part of the team that built the jumping ferret, which our school is well known for, and he led the team that won the Super Science competition that included students from schools all over the Midwest.

Martin also worked hard in giving back to the community that helped him get a scholarship to college by tutoring grade 5 and 6 students on the basics of science. He is like a hometown hero in his small town of Walkingworth, as even small kids in the neighborhood run around and fix things thanks to the training received from him. Martin is also a compassionate and very friendly person, and he has great leadership potential.

With all I have seen from Martin, I truly believe he has what he takes to succeed in your school and add more value to the department of Surface Tension. If you have any further questions, please contact me at 17XDNNH789 or mjging@ecleo.com.

Sincerely,

Malcolm Gandi

Science Teacher

School of Hitchhiking

Letter of recommendation from a volunteer leader sample

Dear Admissions Committee,

My name is Michael Whiteson, and I am writing to recommend Mark Downing for acceptance to your institution. I have been the CEO of Starling Kids Initiative for 15 years, training and mentoring young people who volunteer to help with afterschool tutorials of kids from underserved communities, and I have been Mark’s personal supervisor for over 6 years in the program.

Over the course of 6 years, I have watched Mark grow and mature into a more mature and responsible volunteer in our organization, and he has been able to manage several projects of his own. With the help of a few others in the organization, Mark helped form a committee that dealt with discrimination that happens in the classroom in underserved communities where we volunteer our services. He also took some new proposals to the school boards of many districts, some of which have been approved.

Mark is one of those few people you can solely count on to get a job done. In addition to that, he is a person who constantly improves himself and motivates people around him to do the same. Anytime I put Mark in charge of any project, I feel a burden lifted off my shoulders because I know he will do it as well as, if not better than, I would handle it. Coupled with all this, he is a very compassionate fellow with a pure heart for the people around him.

As a person who works with tens of people every day, I have seen the best and worst of people, and I can tell you for a fact that Mark is one of the best additions you can have in your institution. I have no doubt that he will succeed and take the name of your institution to new heights.

If you have any other questions, feel free to call me at 173937738383 or send me an email at Username@abc.com.

Sincerely,

Michael Whiteson

Recommendation Letter Templates

Writing a recommendation letter is an important task that may sometimes prove difficult. If you’re facing difficulties when writing one, you can get templates from the web that will serve as guides to form your own letter. With the internet, you can write an outstanding yet unique recommendation letter.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Do colleges care about letters of recommendation?

    For many colleges, letters of recommendation are important, but some colleges with loads of applications don’t have the resources to go through every single letter to determine which student is well suited via that process alone.

    Do letters of recommendation have to be in by the application deadline?

    Because letters of recommendation are usually beyond the student’s control, most schools accept them after the application deadline.

    What happens if my letter of recommendation is late?

    Try to get your letter in as soon as you can because many schools won’t accept it when it is very late.

    The most important thing when writing letters of recommendation is that you follow the steps as laid out in this article, and it will be easy. Focus more on positivity and achievement and try to make a case for why you believe the student should be given an opportunity to be admitted to the school of their choice.Also, go out of your way to do a little research about the school you are writing to and see examples of the kinds of letters they accept and the attributes they look for, and try to make your letter centered on those attributes.

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