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5 sample letter of recommendation for students

By Edvoy• Last updated: Apr 5, 2024
5 sample letter of recommendation for students
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When your students start their college and higher education applications, they are likely to ask you for a letter of recommendation.

Generally, a letter of recommendation provides an overview and a positive case for a student's higher education application. Often, teachers and educators provide these letters for college and university applications.

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A letter of recommendation is important for colleges to see because it provides the admissions officers with an all-around view of the student. Institutions must get as clear a view as possible of a possible student.

In this article, we share three strong examples of positive letters of recommendation that focus on different student strengths. Also, we outline what makes a strong letter and tips on how to form a strong recommendation for your students.

Also read: How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

What to include in a letter of recommendation?

Firstly, we explain what you should generally include in any letter of recommendation. When writing your letter, try to include the following features.

  • Your contact information.
  • The date of writing.
  • Contact information of the admissions officer or institution.
  • A formal greeting.
  • An introduction of your role and relationship with a student.
  • Explanations of the student’s strengths and recommendations for them.
  • Short real-life examples about the student.
  • A conclusion and summary of recommendations.
  • Closing paragraph and signature.

Also read: Best Letter of Recommendation Format

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How to write a recommendation letter for a student

Writing a recommendation letter for a student requires careful thought and a detailed assessment of the student's abilities, achievements, and character.

Follow these steps to write an effective recommendation letter:

1. Introduction and salutation

Begin with a formal salutation, addressing the recipient (e.g., "To Whom It May Concern" or use the specific recipient's name if known). Introduce yourself and your relationship to the student, mentioning the capacity in which you know them (e.g., teacher, supervisor, counsellor).

2. State your support

Express your willingness to write the recommendation and state your overall support for the student's application, scholarship, or opportunity they are pursuing.

3. Provide specific details

Offer specific examples of the student's achievements, skills, and qualities that make them a strong candidate. Mention academic performance, leadership roles, extracurricular activities, projects, or any other relevant accomplishments.

4. Highlight personal qualities

Discuss the student's character, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and any personal qualities that make them stand out. Provide anecdotes or examples that illustrate their strengths and positive traits.

5. Explain the relationship and observation period

Describe the duration and context of your relationship with the student to establish your credibility as a recommender.

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6. Conclude with a strong recommendation

Summarise your recommendation and state your confidence in the student's potential for success in the desired opportunity.

Writing an effective recommendation letter for a student involves assessing their abilities, achievements, and character.

Positive letter of recommendation samples

Here, we share some positive letter of recommendation samples to give you an idea of the content, tone and layout of the document. Also, we provide a short analysis of the good parts of each letter.

These letters are generally positive and should focus on a student's pros and key achievements at school.

Letter of recommendation for students - Sample 1

Sam Smith (Teacher at School or College)

135 Main Street, Central Town, 77016, Texas

123-123-1234

sam.smith@email.com

Monday 5th September 2022

Admissions Committee

University of Texas, Austin

Inner Campus Dr., Austin

78712; Texas

Dear Admissions Committee,

As John Jones’ teacher, I formally recommend this student for the English undergraduate course at the University of Texas, Austin. 

I have taught John in English classes for the past two years and he has been an impressive, creative and hard-working student. John has also displayed a high level of maturity and intellect in English as well as a strong enthusiasm to learn more in this subject.

On many occasions, John has displayed his strengths and talent for English. For example, he wrote an excellent analytical essay about the themes in John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ that used strong examples from the text to highlight his arguments. John also displayed excellent teamwork and leadership skills when completing a group project about ‘The Great Gatsby.

John has also contributed to the wider school community on many occasions. This year, he helped to organise a charity fun run to raise money for various charities. The event was well received by staff, parents and students and John received praise for his role in setting up and collecting donations during the event.

I have no hesitation in recommending John for the English undergraduate course at the University of Texas, Austin. I am confident he would achieve well on the course and be an asset to your institution.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at 123-123-1234.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Smith

Analysis

Overall, this sample letter has everything needed for a strong recommendation. It highlights many of the student's academic achievements, showing they are ready for undergraduate study.

Also, the teacher uses real-life examples, such as specific essay writing skills and strong extra-curricular achievements. These help to provide a rounded and positive picture of this student.

The tone is positive and the teacher indicates that they know the applicant as both a student and as a person outside of classes.

Recommendation Letter For Student From Teacher - Sample 2

Sam Smith (Teacher at School or College)

135 Main Street, Central Town, 77016, Texas

123-123-1234

sam.smith@email.com

Monday 5th September 2022

Admissions Committee

Iowa University

Iowa City

52242, Iowa

Dear Admissions Committee,

With great pleasure, I recommend Sarah Jones for admission to the Mathematics course and Iowa University. 

Sarah has been in my mathematics class this year and teaching her has been a privilege. She is a determined student that always gives 100% for every task and she regularly shows an understanding of math topics at an advanced level. 

On many occasions, Sarah has shown a willingness to go beyond her class time to improve her math knowledge. For instance, Sarah helped her peers set up a group study programme to help each other revise and prepare for upcoming examinations. This showed initiative, helpfulness and maturity.

Beyond her academic studies, Sarah is an active participant in wider school life. Throughout her time at this school, she has taken part in athletics competitions and events and also coached the younger students on occasion. Furthermore, she has received various awards for playing the trumpet in the school band and she took part in a trip to perform at the local concert hall that parents and teachers praised. 

I do not doubt that Sarah would be a positive and enthusiastic student at Iowa University. She is a student with many skills that would help her to succeed at the undergraduate level.

For any further information or questions, please contact me at 123-123-1234

Yours Sincerely,

Sam Smith

Analysis

This letter of recommendation focuses on the student's ability to go the extra mile to succeed in their studies. It also highlights ways the student worked hard to improve academic grades and standards.

In addition, it looks at the student’s strengths in terms of extra-curricular activities and achievements. This shows how recommendations can pick key events and examples from a student’s time at school that will be useful at university.

Overall, the tone is very formal and it highlights how the student is a proactive member of the school community.

Recommendation Letter For Student From Professor - Sample 3

Sam Smith (Teacher at School or College)

135 Main Street, Central Town, 77016, Texas

123-123-1234

sam.smith@email.com

Monday 5th September 2022

Admissions Committee

Northeastern Illinois University

5500 N St Louis Ave

60625, Illinois

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am writing to you today to provide my recommendation for Steven Sawyer to complete the BA in Justice Studies at Northeastern University, Illinois.

I have taught Steven in English for the last two years and he is a dedicated student who is committed to pursuing a long-term career in law. Steven has demonstrated many academic and personal skills that would help him to complete the Justice Studies course.

In my classes, Steven has shown advanced analytical skills when looking at evidence and arguments in various high-level literature. This included unpicking the strengths and weaknesses in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, which Steven put into a compelling argument in his essay on the topic. Also, he has regularly shown confidence to read passages in class and when presenting arguments and ideas in written and spoken form. 

Outside of our English classes, Steven has shown a dedication to a career in law by volunteering at a local law firm during the school holidays. This shows how committed he is to achieve in this career path. Steven has also taken a lead role in the debate club to further his presentation and analysis skills.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Steven for the BA Justice Studies course at Northeastern University. He has regularly demonstrated the skills and desire to enroll on this course and he would bring passion to his studies at your institution.

Please contact me at 123-123-1234 for any questions or queries.

Yours Sincerely,

Sam Smith

Analysis

This example shows how a letter of recommendation can focus on a student’s commitment to a particular area of study or career. At various points, the writer highlights the dedication of the student to start a career in law. This is shown by specific examples in academic achievements, such as strong analytical skills and communication.

However, the letter still focuses on some examples that highlight the student’s personality and interests. For instance, it praises the student’s involvement in extracurricular clubs to show an engagement in activities outside of academia.

Letter of recommendation for students - Sample 4

Emily Turner

English Department Head (Acme Academy)

789 Oak Street Citysville, Stateville 12345 

emily.turner@email.com 

(555) 987-6543

August 1, 2023

Admissions Committee 

ABC University

456 University Avenue Townsville, Stateville 67890

Subject: Strong Recommendation for Admission to ABC University - Jake Smith

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am thrilled to provide a strong letter of recommendation for Jake Smith, a graduating senior at Acme Academy. I have had the pleasure of teaching Jake in my English classes for the past two years, and I am confident that he will be a remarkable addition to ABC University's academic community.

Jake Smith is an outstanding student and an exceptional individual. He is graduating in the top 5% of his class with a cumulative GPA of 4.0, making him one of the most accomplished students in his cohort. His dedication to academics is evident in his consistent high performance, and he consistently impresses both his peers and teachers with his analytical abilities and insightful contributions to class discussions.

What sets Jake apart from his peers is his unwavering passion for literature and writing. His essays and creative pieces demonstrate a depth of thought and originality that are rarely seen at his age. Whether it's analysing complex literary works or crafting captivating narratives, Jake exhibits an exceptional command of language and storytelling.

Beyond his academic achievements, Jake is an active participant in several extracurricular activities. He serves as the President of the School Debate Club, showcasing his exceptional leadership and public speaking skills. He is also a member of the community service organisation, volunteering regularly and displaying a strong sense of civic responsibility.

Jake's character is equally impressive. He is a compassionate and empathetic individual who genuinely cares about the well-being of others. He is often seen assisting his classmates, both academically and emotionally, and his positive influence on the school community is palpable.

Considering Jake's exceptional academic record, passion for literature, leadership abilities, and outstanding character, I have no hesitation in recommending him for admission to ABC University. I firmly believe that Jake will thrive in your rigorous academic environment and will make a significant positive impact on your campus community.

I am confident that Jake Smith's potential as a scholar and a leader will continue to shine brightly at ABC University. If you have any further questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at emily.turner@email.com or (555) 987-6543.

Thank you for considering Jake's application to ABC University. I am certain that he will be an asset to your institution and will contribute greatly to the university's legacy.

Sincerely,

Emily Turner English Department Head Acme Academy

Analysis

The above recommendation letter sample for student provides a comprehensive and specific evaluation of the student, Jake Smith, highlighting his academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, leadership abilities, and character traits.

Letter of recommendation for students - Sample 5

Dr. Sarah Johnson

Principal Researcher Tech Innovators Lab

321 Tech Street Innovation City, Stateville 98765

sarah.johnson@email.com

(555) 123-7890

August 1, 2023

Scholarship Committee

Bright Future Scholarship Foundation

789 Scholarship Avenue Opportunityville, Stateville 54321

Subject: Strong Recommendation for the Bright Future Scholarship - Lisa Thompson

Dear Scholarship Committee,

I am delighted to provide a strong letter of recommendation for Lisa Thompson, a remarkable student with whom I have had the privilege of working closely at the Tech Innovators Lab. It is my pleasure to endorse Lisa for the Bright Future Scholarship, as I believe she embodies the ideals and aspirations the scholarship aims to support.

Lisa Thompson is a high-achieving senior and aspiring computer scientist. Over the past two years, she has been actively involved in our research projects focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Lisa's academic performance has been outstanding, consistently earning top grades in advanced math and computer science courses. Her exceptional problem-solving skills and analytical thinking make her an exceptional candidate for this scholarship.

Beyond her academic prowess, Lisa has actively engaged in extracurricular activities related to her field of interest. She is the co-founder of the Women in Technology Club at our school, where she encourages and empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. Her leadership in this initiative has had a positive impact on the school community, promoting diversity and inclusion in the technology sector.

Lisa possesses remarkable interpersonal skills and has proven herself to be a valuable team player. She excels at collaborating with fellow researchers, displaying strong communication and project management abilities. Her contributions to our research projects have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of AI applications in various industries.

In addition to her academic and extracurricular achievements, Lisa's character is exemplary. She is compassionate, empathetic, and always willing to lend a helping hand to her peers. Her commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others is commendable and aligns perfectly with the values of the Bright Future Scholarship.

I wholeheartedly recommend Lisa Thompson for the Bright Future Scholarship. Her passion for computer science, outstanding academic achievements, leadership, and commitment to promoting diversity in technology make her a deserving candidate for this scholarship. I have no doubt that she will make significant contributions to the field of computer science and bring positive change to society.

If you require any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at sarah.johnson@email.com or (555) 123-7890.

Thank you for considering Lisa Thompson's application for the Bright Future Scholarship. I am confident that she will make the most of this opportunity and continue to shine as a future leader in the tech industry.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sarah Johnson 

Principal Researcher 

Tech Innovators Lab

Analysis

The sample letter of recommendation for student provides a comprehensive evaluation of the student, Lisa Thompson, emphasising her academic excellence in computer science, leadership qualities, and commitment to promoting diversity in the technology field. The recommender offers specific examples of Lisa's achievements in research and her involvement in the Women in Technology Club, highlighting her exceptional problem-solving skills and interpersonal abilities. 

The letter convincingly endorses Lisa's character, emphasising her compassion and empathy. Overall, the detailed assessment and enthusiastic endorsement make this letter a compelling recommendation for the Bright Future Scholarship, showcasing Lisa as a highly deserving candidate with the potential to excel in the tech industry and positively impact society.

Also read: What do you need to do after getting a conditional letter?

When writing a letter of recommendation, ensure you focus on the positives. Also, you must pick two to three of the student’s strong traits. Then, try to recount some key examples where they have demonstrated these skills.

Overall, the letter aims to help your student to stand out to the Admissions Committee. Keeping the letter short, to the point and clear helps the committee to get a snapshot of the student’s capabilities and personality.

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Frequently asked questions

1. What is a recommendation letter for student?

A recommendation letter for student is a reference letter written by a teacher, counsellor, employer, or mentor that evaluates the abilities, achievements, character, and potential of the student.

2. How to start a letter of recommendation for a student?

To start a letter of recommendation for a student, you should address the recipient with a formal salutation and then introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the student, mentioning the capacity in which you know them (e.g., teacher, supervisor, advisor).

3. How to write a reference letter for a student for university?

To write a reference letter for a student for university, start with a formal salutation, and introduce yourself and your role in the student's life. Mention the duration you have known the student and provide specific examples of the student's academic achievements, skills, and qualities that make them stand out. End the letter with a positive and confident recommendation.

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