Other Helpful Websites
Letter of Recommendation Instrucitons
Some notes about the Letter of Recommendation:
• Most private colleges, competitive college major departments, and some employers will request a letter of recommendation.
• Colleges are looking for personal insights about student applicants, not a reiteration of grades and test scores. The most effective letters are usually obtained from teachers who know the student very well.
• The most competitive colleges usually prefer letters from teachers of college prep courses (i.e., English, lab science, advanced math, and foreign language). These faculty members have witnessed strengths in the classroom. These teachers are often better able to promote admission than, for instance, an administrator who has not had such extended personal interaction.
• In selecting people to write your recommendations, consider that you may want these letters to illustrate a balance
of your interests. For instance, recommendations from an English teacher, a math teacher, and a coach would give a broader picture than recommendations from three math teachers.
• When requesting a letter of recommendation, allow the teacher 10–14 days for completion. Requesting the letter
of recommendation early will help both you and the teacher to avoid the last-minute rush to meet a critical deadline.
• Make personal contact with the teacher. DO NOT assume the letter will be completed if you send a request by mail.
Writing your Own Letter of Recommendation
For this assignment, you will actually have to write your own letter of recommendation. Why? For one, it will help you think about what you might say about yourself if you ever have to talk about yourself in an interview. Another use for the "self-letter of recommendation" is that it can be a great resource to hand to your teacher recommenders. They would probably welcome the fact that you have something already written about yourself and find it useful as they write their letters of recommendation for you.
Self Letter of Recommendation Requirements
Point of View: Pretend you are the teacher writing the letter of recommendation. You should write this as if you are actually the teacher writing the recommendation. Refer to yourself in the third person.
Content of the letter: You want to follow the structure outlined below in your letter.
1. Give background information, which relates to your class or classes.
a. Explain briefly what you teach.
b. Give the length of time you have known the student.
c. Give the classes you have taught the student.
d. Relate briefly the type of learning and thinking required in your class.
2. Explain your relationship to the student.
3. Provide comparisons if at all possible. Compare the applicant to previous candidates to the same college or
to his/her classmates. Compare the student to other students in the class, or the "typical student."
4. Discuss any growth and maturity you have noted in the student. This applies particularly well if you have
had him/her for more than one year.
5. Explain what the student is like in class.
a. How does he/she relate to her peers?
b. In what ways is he/she appealing to teachers?
c. Is he/she the center point of classroom discussions?
d. discuss the quality of the students' work and academic performance.
6. Discuss some or all of the following traits that you have observed in this applicant.
a. Creative, original thought
d. Intellectual ability
e. Academic achievement
f. Written expression of ideas
g. Disciplined work habits
h. Potential for growth
Vocabulary: Try to incorporate as many of the words from the "Specificity" chart.
Length: Brevity in a letter of recommendation is considered best. Keep your letter to one-two pages, preferably one page.
Form: This letter is a formal letter and should follow formal business letter format.