Writing Recommendation Letters (for Faculty)

Recommendation Letters Presentation

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.

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?