Download College Recommendation Letter Template and Sample

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A college recommendation letter template is helpful when application time comes around, you may be inundated with student requests for college letters of recommendation. To reduce your stress and right the most accurate letters possible for your students, follow these writing tips.

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It’s important to write these letters carefully and thoughtfully because colleges definitely want to know whether an applicant is outstanding for reasons outside of test scores and grades.

These letters help colleges assess applicants’ character traits and goals, helping to provide a more complete profile than test scores and grades do by themselves. Essentially, recommendation letters will help personalize the applicant. Here are some questions to think about when getting started.

Orienting questions:

  • What is your relationship with the applicant?
  • How has the applicant interacted with you and his or her peers?
  • How has the applicant excelled in his or her schoolwork?
  • Does the applicant have any exceptional qualities?
  • What is the applicant’s motivation?
  • Why do you think this applicant would be a good fit for [name of university]?

As in other writing, use specific examples after making a general claim. So if you noticed a time when a student helped explain a concept to classmates, this could be an excellent example leadership and academic skill.

Structure

You can divide the letter into roughly three to four paragraphs. The first paragraph should introduce the student with general statements about the applicant as a person and a student. Let the reader know right away if you think the student is extraordinary in your class or extremely diligent—things that the reader would really want to know. Also, state what you taught the student.

The next paragraph should focus on specific examples that show where the student excels. For example, being one of the leaders of a debate team would show the student’s strength in making arguments and public speaking. The final paragraph can highlight personal strengths, using examples that show the student’s kindness and other character traits.

Template | PDF

Template | PDF

Sample | RTF | Word

Sample | RTF | Word

 

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