How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Student

by lobobrandon

If you want to know how to write a letter of recommendation for a student, you should first understand it's importance in terms of conveying qualities, capabilities and so on.

A letter of recommendation is a very powerful letter if written by a person of high authority. Basically, these letters are written in order to assess the characteristics of a student such as - his or her general qualities, capabilities with respect to a specific job, internship or something else of importance.

These letters are usually written by a person of higher authority/post than the person they’re recommending and they’re focused on a particular person and directed to a single person or a whole management.

If you’re wondering why students need a letter of recommendation, then you’ll be up for a surprise; because, everything right from admission into kindergarten these days works better if you have a recommendation letter backing your child.

When is a letter of recommendation required?

Some of the main branches and events wherein a student would need a letter of recommendation include;

  • First Employment - This is the single most important case wherein a letter of recommendation is needed. Everyone has to begin working some time in their life and definitely it's going to be their first. Therefore, in order to get employed someone is going to have to refer you to your employee. 
  • Admission into an institute - Most of the top institutes who have plenty of students flocking to them usually decide whom to admit and reject based on the recommendation letters they receive in addition to many other aspects of the students lives.
  • Scholarships - Students are open to plenty of scholarships in their student lives; but, in order to avail one, they're going to need recommendation letters.
  • Getting into your school's sports team - Not always the case, but in some institutes no matter how good you may be, you need someone to introduce you to the PE master.
  • Research - Getting into the research field is really hard if you don't have strong recommendation letters backing you; because, usually research is conducted based on the funds received by a sponsor. However, no one would sponsor a team who hires just about anyone onto their team.
  • Clubs - Certain clubs are just invite based and only if a top member of the club hands over a recommendation letter would be be eligible to enter.
  • Internships - Most internships are given only to those who are capable of doing the job and in order to prove this, you're going to need a recommendation letter.

What does a letter of Recommendation signify?

This is why you need one of them

A letter of recommendation is worth a thousand words - Yes, you can call it a picture. Here's a list of what your employer or selector gets out of your recommendation letters: (The points in bold are applicable to students)

  1. Your Characteristics - The way you behave with others in your group as well as the way you move in society and accept new things.
  2. Your Overall Performance - The way you performed in school/university or at your past place of employment.
  3. Your Weaknesses - This isn't what one would want to see in a recommendation letter, but it's surely a part of it. As you know: Recommendation letters are only read by the person writing it and the person receive it - you never get a chance to view it (That's what reference letters are for). 
  4. Your Strengths - Everyone is good in something and stands out above the rest, this is what you'd want to see in your recommendation letter. 
  5. Your level of professionalism - This is applicable only if you were previously employed. Your previous employer and at times even clients could write about the level of professionalism that you possessed.
  6. Experience and Capabilities - Your previous employer lets the recipient know what you're capable of and what you've already done - be it good or bad.

Now that we've seen what a recommendation letter represents, let's answer the question: 'How to write a letter of recommendation for a student'. 

Writing a recommendation letter for students made easy

Students aren't going to be the ones writing the letters - Make sure of that :) By for students I mean FOR students

The first thing I must say - If you can't write something positive for a student, then don't write at all! There have been many people who were useless - At least this was the tag pasted across their forehead; but it was these very people that changed the way we live. Let's consider 2 examples (this is a really important point and I do need to stress on it, you could always skip this part if you wish)

Walt Disney - I wonder if anyone coming across this article doesn't know about this great personality. "He lacked imagination and had no good ideas!" Well, that's what the newspaper editor said to him. But, we very well know what he turned out to be - don't we?

Albert Einstein - Didn't speak until the age of four and it took him three more years to read. What a mentally handicapped child right? He wasn't even granted admission into the Zurich Polytechnic School, could it be because a recommendation letter wasn't in his favor? - i.e. if that University used recommendation letters those days. 

Books that I've read

Well, I've read the PDFs not the hard copies and the Kindle format
The World As I See It
Only $2.99
Einstein: His Life and Universe
$14.12  $2.81
Einstein's Dreams
$11.69  $22.95
The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney
$27.49  $7.56
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the Ameri...
$17.69  $2.62
How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Di...
$14.89  $15.0

Everyone knows how to write a letter, a recommendation letter is pretty much the same. However, you need to know what you're writing it for:

  • Employment References - When it comes to first employment reference, it's best given by teachers who have thought the child in the core subjects.
  • Character References - These need to be written by teachers, close friends, relatives and neighbors as they are the people who know you the beset.
  • Academic References - By your personal trainer, teacher or even principle. 
Updated: 07/27/2012, lobobrandon
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