As you used to be a student who prepared for the college admission or a job application, you already knew how important the recommendation letter is. Now that you are a teacher, your beloved students ask you for one. It is such an honor. However, it is also weighty. This kind of letter is very formal, so please be sure you have known how to write a recommendation letter for a student well.
You can refer to your colleagues, or make it simpler, scroll down this tutorial.
What The Recommendation Letter Is for?
When a student knocks at your door asking you to write a letter of reference for him/her, make sure you investigate his or her purposes first.
A recommendation letter is required in several cases.
A graduate reference letter
Not every school asks for a recommendation letter when it comes to the student’s graduation. However, once it is required, you must expect that the admissions processes are highly competitive.
It means you have taken even more seriously about how to write a recommendation letter for a student. To be exact, a soon-to-be graduate.
The letter should highlight the noticeable attitude and academic performance during the schooltime and even the extracurricular activities. It would be better if the information is related to the student’s graduate specialization.
Though the voice is positive, please avoid the fluff and vague opinions, say, “She is magnificent.” – What’s the kind of “magnificent” please?
A recommendation letter for scholarship
You must pay an extra concentration while writing a recommendation letter for a student who seeks for scholarship opportunities.
Believe it or not,
A brilliant reference letter can move mountains and contribute to your student’s success in the competition.
As a powerful endorsement, the letter gives a chance to demonstrate how the student is qualified enough to deserve the scholarship. However, do not be too direct or have a loose tongue. Focus on his real achievements and qualities. Do not forget about his specific goals and commitment as well.
A college recommendation letter
Almost all colleges and universities require a letter of recommendation from teachers or counselors in the application profile. The purpose is to get insight into the student’s traits, values, and goals besides his grades and test scores.
A good reference letter should be written in a three-dimensional perspective toward that student. Ideally, it describes who he is and how he fits himself in and work efficiently with others. That way, the letter lends support to the student’s role in the college, as well as his potential contributions and directions in the future.
A letter of reference to apply for a job
Besides the CV and interviews, the recruiters seek confirmation about the candidate’s experiences and qualifications from an outside party.
And, if it is the first official job your student applies for, he is likely to turn to you for a recommendation letter.
Similar to the letter for colleges, the reference letter for a job should be clear about who the student is, what she has behaved and contributed to the school activities, what he has achieved so far, and what are his personalities, skills, values, and goals.
From the letter, the company can forecast about the student’s future contribution via his past performance.
What to Prepare for The Recommendation Letter?
Know your student
When a student asks you for his recommendation letter, there is a likelihood that he is your beloved student. You must have taught him in multiple classes or instruct him to complete substantial projects.
As a result, you know not only his academic competencies but also his personality characteristics such as conscientiousness, punctuality, and motivation to any work.
In case you do not know that student very well, try to talk with him and reflect his work as much as possible. If you still can’t ensure about his case, you had better counsel him to other teachers.
Investigate your student aim with the letter
There are at least four types of recommendation letters as I already shared above. Different letters of recommendation require different writing style and information. Hence, it is crucial to know the purposes of the letter from the very first time. Whether it is a college reference letter, a scholarship recommendation letter, a graduate letter, or a job reference?
Then you can make a draft accordingly.
Refer to your student’s ideas
As the student might search and know the college or job requirements very well, it saves on time to get information from him rather than searching all on your own.
- When is the deadline of the letter?
- How can you submit the letter of recommendation, through Naviance, School Application, or Common Application?
- Does the college/company have any sample of the recommendation letter, or the student want to follow anyone?
- Does he have any reflection on who he is; what qualifications, achievements, experiences, and skills he is proud of; and what he values now and in the future?
Search for samples of best recommendation letters
When you look for how to write a recommendation letter for a student, many also do. So, you can expect there are hundreds of samples available within 1 click.
If you have no experiences with reference letter before, take time to read several templates and tips in advance.
How to Write a Recommendation Letter for a Student?
Collect all required information in one place
A professional writer will have all the necessary documents by her side as references for the recommendation letter. You can get them from your students or do some searches yourself.
You should have:
- A master sheet including the school/company/scholarship information, the deadline, reflections of the student (CV, the personal statement, applications, etc.)
- His past work if you still store any: tests, projects, presentation videos, report papers.
- References from others. You can even ask your colleagues to say something about that student so that you can write the letter in multi-dimensional perspective.
- Some samples of recommendation letters
Follow the common outline
Though specific recommendation letters might be different a bit according to its purposes and the organization’s requirements.
However, they often include some essential components:
- The sender’s information (your address)
- Date of the letter
- The receiver’s information (the college/company address)
- A formal salutation. You should address the letter a real person, say, “Dear Admissions Committee.”
- The opening paragraph. Keep this short but enthusiastic. A bit of praise is better.
- The next paragraph. Clarify how you know the student. You should mention your title/qualifications so that the admission committee gives more credential in your opinion.
- The 2-3 next paragraphs: These are the most critical parts, in which you assess the student’s academic abilities, his achievements, and work capacity. Do not forget to mention his positive traits making him a perfect fit for the scholarship or the position.
- The conclusion paragraph. Wrap your letter up with an affirmative and sincere statement of recommendation.
- A business closing and sign. It is better to include your contact information (department/phone number/ school email) and when is the best time to reach you.
Take these dos and don’ts into account
Here are several tips on how to write a recommendation letter for a student that passes the admission committee.
✔️Keep the letter on one page. Do flesh out your points of view rather than ramble
✔️Target your recommendation based on the reference type. Choose which to focus: professional qualifications, skills, unique personalities
✔️Support your statement with practical cases
✔️Make a comparison of the student in class or in groups that you have observed
✔️Criticize a flip-side of strength, if any, and confirm how the student can improve in the future
✔️Proofread the letter several times to make sure it has an active and confident voice, free of grammar/spelling errors, and a formal yet enthusiastic tone.
Things to avoid
❌Agree to write the letter for those you do not know well
❌Use general and platitude statements
❌Be flattering and bias. Be honest and active enough.
❌Repeat clichés word too frequently
On The Whole
Now that you already know how to write a recommendation letter for a student, are you confident to put down some lines? Here are several keynotes you should takeaway: be prepared, be honest, be willing, and be clear about all your statement in the letter of recommendation.
I wish your beloved student get a successful result on whatever he or she applies for.