Letters of Recommendation
sFirst, choose the right people to write you letters of recommendation.
Your letters of recommendation can help you make the cut during college admission and scholarship selection!
C References should be respected community members.
C High profile positions in the community do carry some clout.
C The references you choose should know you and be able to give specific details about
C References should “fit” the scholarship you are working toward – if you are applying
C Employers and former employers can make great references.
D A family member is not an appropriate reference.
sWhat’s next? The ASK!
C Tell the person why you chose him/her to serve as a reference for you.
C Be sure to ask the person if s/he is willing to write you a great letter of reference.
C Make sure the person has the time to write you a great letter of reference.
C Listen for clues - if the person hedges, the letter he or she writes might not be
sYou got a yes! Be prepared to follow-up!
C Provide a copy of your grades or transcript, your activities, your athletic statistics,
C For scholarships, provide a copy of the particular scholarship guidelines for each scholarship.
C Provide clear instructions: Maximum letter length? Addressed to a specific person?
C Don’t hesitate to remind the person a week before the deadline.
C Confirm plans for getting the letter to where it needs to be.
C Thank the person for the letter when you get it.
Congratulations! You’ve been asked to write a Reference Letter or Letter of Recommendation for a student. Letters of Recommendation can be the deciding factor for a scholarship selection panel or a job! So, you should begin by making a decision: Will you give the student a helpful letter of recommendation? If yes, skip down to “Get Prepared.” This is truly a time that if you cannot say something VERY nice, don’t say anything at all.
• Get Prepared:
C Use school letterhead to add authority to your letter.
CFormat the letter properly – the school secretary knows the appropriate margins to use
CGather materials the student provided: To whom should the letter be addressed?
you want to use to refresh your memory?
• State your qualifications.
C Why should a letter from you be worthy?
• State your relationship with the student.
CHow do you know the student? Personally? From class? As a coach?
In a volunteer situation?
C How long have your known the student?
• Give the students’ strengths in all known areas.
C What is your judgment of the student and his/her potential?
C What are the student’s outstanding character traits, qualities, strengths and skills? Give examples.
CTell about the student’s participation in class, in the school as a whole, in the community
C Describe the student in leadership roles.
C Tell about the student’s general demeanor.
C What stands out about the student’s personality?
C Tell about the student’s work ethic and sense of responsibility.
C How does the student interact with others?
C How does the student handle adversity?
C Does the student have special strengths?
• State your recommendation.
C Summarize why you support the student. Make the ending of your letter strong and believable.
• Take time to proofread your letter.
C If there is time, put it aside for a day and then proofread.
• Place the letter in an envelope and seal.
C You can sign across the seal, but it isn’t always necessary.
• Follow the directions provided or the process agreed upon with the student.
C Give the letter to the student or mail to the appropriate address.
• You may decide that you want the student and his/her parents/guardians to know the esteem in which you hold that student. If so, provide a copy of the letter for the student in a separate envelope.
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