Flattered but a bit baffled

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Flattered but a bit baffled
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 6:02pm

One of my senior students asked me today to write a letter of recommendation for him to submit to his college of choice next year. I'm really flattered that he would ask, but this is the first time a student has asked me to write a letter of recommendation for him. I'm excited for the opportunity but at the same time, I'm completely baffled as to what needs to be in his letter.

So, for you veterans out there who have done this before, what sorts of things did you put in a recommendation letter for a student?

  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2007
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 7:56pm

I always ask if there are certain things they want me to include - clubs, past experiences, other languages they speak, adversity, etc. Usually they have a set list, or if not, you can help them come up with one that will set them apart.

Then, I bring up specific experiences about what I've seen the student do. Good leader? Compassionate? Motivated? Driven? Was there a time he or she stayed after school to get help, or to help someone? Exceptional writer or other subject-specific skills?

In my last paragraph, I tell the school or program (specific school name if known; "any university" if not known) how the student will positively impact their institution, and what an intelligent the school will make in accepting this student because of all the aforementioned skills.

I recommend printing up 4 or 5 copies on your school's letterhead, because that kid will hunt you down for another letter for another application, and another, and another...I speak from experience ;)