College‎ > ‎

Writing Recommendation Letters (for Faculty)

Things for Teachers to Keep in Mind:
  • Your letter might be read by multiple audiences:  admission officers, scholarship committees, college faculty
  • Your letter may be the only teacher recommendation the committee receives for the student (maybe recommendation letter #2 never arrived or is not required). 
  • Some colleges ask applicants to submit recommendations from teachers in opposite disciplines. Your letter might represent the “best” of a student’s abilities in an academic area.
  • •Be honest with your students. If you feel that you are not the best person to write the recommendation – don’t do it. 
  • If you are having trouble personalizing the letter, meet with the student. Talk about some things. 
  • Every letter you compose adds to (or minimizes) your credibility. 
  • Don’t take the admission decision personally.
Areas for Your Letter to Include:
  • Provide details about your class that you think are noteworthy/unique: level, text used, projects, trends, unusual grade distribution.
  • Mention any gaps in curriculum/sequence issues – did the student have to work considerably harder in this class since coming from the previous school? 
  • Include anecdotal information & specific references. Adjectives are not enough. 
  • The majority of your letter should be about academics, less so about extracurricular activities. However, keep in mind that because NCSSM is a residential school, some admission offices may expect you to have more personal knowledge of the student. 
Make sure your letter addresses major areas: 
  • —Academic aptitude 
  • —Intelligence 
  • —Perseverance 
  • Maturity 
  • Self-discipline 
  • Social skills/personal qualities

Sample Questions for Students to Answer for Teachers Writing Recommendation Letters
  • Why did you ask me to submit a letter on your behalf? 
  • What lesson/project, etc. did you enjoy the most in my class ? Why was this your favorite? 
  • In what areas do you feel this class helped you to grow? 
  • How were you challenged in any areas of the class? 
  • Did this class spark an interest in learning more about this subject area?  If so, how?
  • What are your academic strengths? 
  • What are your personal strengths? 
  • What are some specific things you hope I discuss in your letter?