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Pro Advice

How to Write a Recommendation for Your Student

Your student walks in with a special request. They want you to write a letter of recommendation. Before you say “yes,” ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have time to write a meaningful letter that will help your student stand out?
  • Are you the best representative of your student’s talents, work habits and personality traits?
  • Do you know what’s most important to this student and his/her future goals?

If you have the time to write, make sure you also have time to sit (or email) with your student to ensure you understand his/her goals. Letters of recommendations should be professional and personal. If you have a form letter that you like to use, throw it out now!

Your Assignment

Your assignment is to write a letter that will shine a light on everything your student has to offer the prospective college. Be sure that you communicate all the necessary facts, along with any extras that make this individual uniquely qualified for the opportunity at hand.

The letter should include a discussion of:

  • How long you’ve known the student.
  • Why you are qualified to recommend the student.
  • How he/she has demonstrated academic excellence in your classroom through specific coursework.

  • What traits and attributes make the student a desirable applicant.
  • Why he/she is a good match for the school being considered in terms of his/her talent, goals and activities.

The letter should be an appropriate length to say what needs to be said without exaggeration, hyperbole, or repetition, but short enough to make for an easy and pleasant read.

If you need further inspiration, the links below can help:
Writing Tips
Sample Letters

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