How to Write a Recommendation Letter for a Student: Tips and Sample

A recommendation letter is a valuable asset for any student as it can help them stand out from the competition in job or academic applications. With the right structure and content, a well-written letter of recommendation can showcase a student’s strengths, achievements, and unique qualities. However, writing a strong letter of recommendation requires careful planning and attention to detail. This blog post will provide you with practical tips and guidelines to help you write an effective recommendation letter for a student that highlights their accomplishments and sets them up for success in their future endeavors.


A recommendation letter is an essential document for students who are applying to colleges, internships or jobs. It serves as a written testimony of their academic and personal achievements from someone who knows them well, such as a teacher, coach or mentor. The purpose of the letter is to provide a detailed evaluation of the student’s skills, character and potential to succeed in their future endeavors.

The recommendation letter can make or break a student’s application, so it’s crucial to take it seriously and invest time in crafting a compelling one. Admissions committees and hiring managers read thousands of applications every year, and a well-written recommendation letter can help a student stand out from the competition. On the other hand, a poorly written one can raise red flags and hurt their chances of getting accepted or hired.

In this post, we will guide you through the process of writing a recommendation letter that showcases a student’s strengths and accomplishments. We will provide tips on how to structure your letter, what to include and avoid, and share examples to illustrate our points. Whether you’re a teacher, coach or mentor, this post will help you write a strong recommendation letter that reflects your genuine feedback and genuine support for the student.

Tips for Writing a Strong Recommendation Letter

Include Specific Examples

When writing a recommendation letter, it is important to include specific examples of the student’s achievements and accomplishments. These examples can be in the form of anecdotes or specific instances where the student demonstrated their skills and abilities.

By providing concrete examples, you not only make your letter more compelling but also help the admissions committee gain a better understanding of the student’s strengths and abilities. For example, if the student has a talent for leadership, provide an anecdote about a time when they demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, such as organizing a successful fundraising event or leading a team project to completion.

Similarly, if the student has achieved academic success, include specific examples of their accomplishments, such as receiving top grades in challenging courses or completing a research project that received recognition from their peers.

Remember to keep your examples relevant to the position or program the student is applying for. While it may be tempting to highlight every aspect of the student’s achievements, focus on examples that demonstrate their suitability for the program they are interested in.

By including specific examples, you can ensure that your recommendation letter stands out and provides valuable insights into the student’s abilities and potential.

Be Honest

When writing a recommendation letter for a student, it’s important to be honest in your assessment of their abilities and achievements. Providing truthful and genuine feedback not only helps the student, but also ensures that the letter will be taken seriously by the reader.

One way to be honest is to avoid exaggerating the student’s accomplishments or strengths. While it’s important to highlight the positive aspects of their character and work, it’s equally important to acknowledge areas where they may need improvement. For example, if the student struggled with time management, it’s okay to mention this in the letter as long as you also provide specific examples of how they overcame this challenge and showed growth.

Being honest also means avoiding generic or vague statements that don’t offer any real insight into the student’s abilities. Instead, focus on providing specific anecdotes or examples that illustrate the student’s strengths and accomplishments. This will help the reader get a better sense of who the student is and what they are capable of.

It’s also important to remember that being honest doesn’t mean being overly critical or negative. If there are areas where the student needs improvement, try framing your feedback in a constructive and supportive way. For example, instead of saying “the student is disorganized,” you could say “the student has shown potential in this area but could benefit from additional support and guidance.”

In summary, being honest when writing a recommendation letter for a student means providing truthful and genuine feedback that accurately reflects their abilities and achievements. By avoiding exaggeration, providing specific examples, and offering constructive feedback, you can help the student stand out and increase the chances of their success.

Highlight Strengths

When writing a recommendation letter for a student, it is important to highlight their key strengths and abilities. This will not only showcase the student’s unique qualities but also provide valuable insight into their potential for success.

To effectively highlight a student’s strengths, consider specific examples of instances where they excelled in certain areas. For example, if the student was particularly skilled at public speaking, provide examples of times they gave effective presentations or speeches. If they demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, mention specific situations where they showed initiative and led a group to success.

It is also important to focus on the student’s unique qualities that set them apart from others. This can include anything from their creativity to their problem-solving skills. Anecdotes or stories that demonstrate these unique qualities can help bring the student’s strengths to life and make your recommendation letter more powerful.

Overall, highlighting a student’s strengths and unique qualities will not only add credibility to your recommendation letter but also provide valuable insight into why the student would be an asset to any organization or institution.

Focus on Accomplishments

Focus on Accomplishments

When writing a recommendation letter for a student, it’s crucial to focus on their accomplishments, not just their duties. Admissions committees and employers want to see evidence of the student’s impact and how they went above and beyond in their role.

To showcase impactful contributions, provide specific examples or anecdotes that highlight the student’s achievements and how they made a difference. For example, instead of saying “the student completed their tasks on time,” you could say “the student consistently exceeded expectations by completing projects ahead of schedule, resulting in increased productivity for the team.”

It’s also important to note that accomplishments don’t have to be grandiose. Even small wins can make an impact and show the student’s potential. For instance, if the student showed exceptional teamwork skills during a group project, emphasizing this trait will demonstrate their ability to thrive in a collaborative environment.

By focusing on accomplishments, you can paint a compelling picture of the student’s abilities and potential. It demonstrates how they add value to any academic or professional setting and sets them apart from their peers who may have similar qualifications but lack distinctive achievements.

In conclusion, highlighting a student’s accomplishments can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your recommendation letter. Ensure that you provide concrete examples of their impact and avoid merely listing their responsibilities. Doing so will help the reader gain a better understanding of the student’s abilities and why they are a valuable asset to any institution or organization.

Structure of the Letter

Opening Paragraph

When writing a recommendation letter for a student, the opening paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the letter. This is where you introduce yourself and establish your relationship with the student. It should be concise, yet informative, and provide context for the rest of the letter.

Start by introducing yourself and your position, such as “I am writing to recommend Jane Smith for admission to XYZ University’s graduate program.” Then, briefly explain your relationship with the student, such as “I had the pleasure of working with Jane for two years as her supervisor at ABC Company.”

It’s important to mention how you know the student and in what capacity, whether it’s as a teacher, employer, or mentor. This establishes your credibility and gives the reader an idea of your perspective. Highlight any positive experiences or interactions you had with the student, and why you believe they are deserving of a strong recommendation.

For example, you could say something like “During our time working together, I was impressed by Jane’s exceptional work ethic, leadership skills, and ability to overcome challenges. She consistently went above and beyond to exceed expectations and demonstrated a strong commitment to her responsibilities.”

In short, the opening paragraph should introduce the purpose of the letter, establish your relationship with the student, and provide a brief overview of their strengths and accomplishments. A well-crafted introduction can set the stage for a compelling and persuasive recommendation letter.

Body Paragraphs

When writing the body paragraphs of a recommendation letter, it’s essential to provide specific examples of the student’s strengths and achievements. This makes the letter more compelling and helps the reader get a better understanding of the student’s abilities.

Start each paragraph with a clear statement about the strength or achievement you want to highlight. Then provide specific examples that demonstrate how the student exemplified that strength or accomplished the achievement. Use clear language and avoid vague or generic statements.

For example, instead of saying “the student is a good team player,” say something like “the student consistently demonstrated strong teamwork skills by collaborating effectively with their peers on group projects.” Providing specific examples like this helps the reader imagine the student in action and understand why they are a good fit for whatever opportunities they may be pursuing.

Additionally, it’s important to include quantifiable information whenever possible. For example, if the student increased sales in a business course project, mention the percentage by which they boosted profits. Highlighting specific accomplishments gives the reader a clearer sense of what the student is capable of achieving.

In summary, when writing the body paragraphs of a recommendation letter, focus on providing concrete examples of the student’s strengths and achievements. Use clear language, avoid generalizations, and include quantifiable information whenever possible. This approach will make your letter more persuasive and help the reader understand why the student is an exceptional candidate.

Closing Paragraph

The closing paragraph of a recommendation letter is just as important as the opening and body paragraphs. This is where you will summarize your recommendation and provide key contact information for the reader.

First, begin with a brief summary of your recommendation. Reiterate the student’s strengths and accomplishments, and emphasize why you believe they are an excellent candidate for the opportunity they are pursuing. This summary should be concise but impactful, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Next, it is important to clearly state your recommendation. Use strong language to express your confidence in the student and their abilities. For example, “I highly recommend [Student Name] for [Opportunity/Position].” This statement should leave no doubt in the reader’s mind about your level of endorsement for the student.

Finally, include your contact information so that the reader can follow up with any questions or concerns. This should include your full name, job title, email address, and phone number. You may also want to mention the best times to reach you, or any preferred methods of communication.

A well-crafted closing paragraph can help seal the deal for the student and ensure that your recommendation carries weight with the reader. By summarizing your recommendation, stating your endorsement clearly, and providing contact information, you can make sure that your letter stands out and has a positive impact on the student’s future opportunities.

Sample Recommendation Letter

A sample recommendation letter can be a great resource for those who are unfamiliar with the structure and content of such letters. It provides a template to follow, as well as concrete examples of how to showcase a student’s strengths and achievements.

When using a sample recommendation letter, it’s important to remember that it should serve as a guide and not a copy-paste template. Each student is unique and their accomplishments and qualities should be emphasized accordingly. However, a sample letter can provide inspiration for how to frame your feedback on the student in question.

Here’s an example of a sample recommendation letter:

Dear [Admissions Committee],

I am writing this letter in support of [Student’s Name]’s application for [Program/University]. I have had the pleasure of teaching [Student’s Name] in my [Course Name] course for the past [Semester/Year], and have been consistently impressed by their dedication, enthusiasm, and intellectual curiosity.

[Student’s Name] stands out as one of the most outstanding students I have taught in my [Number] years of teaching. They possess a rare combination of intellectual ability, creativity, and analytical skills. It was evident from their participation in class discussions, assignments, and projects that they possess a strong work ethic and are committed to excellence.

In particular, I would like to highlight [Student’s Name]’s [Specific Accomplishment/Achievement(s)]. This project demonstrated their exceptional research skills, as well as their ability to work collaboratively with others. Their passion for [Field/Area of Study] was apparent throughout our interactions, and it is clear that they have a bright future ahead in this field.

I am confident that [Student’s Name] will excel in [Program/University] and bring valuable insights and contributions to the academic community. I highly recommend them without hesitation and believe that they will be a valuable addition to your program.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.


[Your Name and Title]

This sample recommendation letter can be used as a starting point to craft your own personalized letter. Remember to customize it to the specific student and program, and provide examples of their unique strengths and achievements. A well-written recommendation letter can help a student stand out in a competitive applicant pool and increase their chances of being accepted.


Recommendation letters are an essential part of a student’s academic and professional journey. They provide valuable insights into the strengths, achievements, and unique qualities of the student, which can help them stand out in a highly competitive landscape.

In today’s fast-paced world, where everyone is competing for opportunities, a well-written recommendation letter can make all the difference. It can open doors to new possibilities, from admission to a prestigious school or program to landing a dream job.

Thus, it is crucial to understand the importance of recommendation letters and take them seriously. Whether you are a teacher, mentor, or supervisor, your feedback and insights can impact the future of the student you recommend.

In conclusion, writing a recommendation letter is not just a formality, but a responsibility. By highlighting the strengths, achievements, and unique qualities of the student, you can help them achieve their goals and dreams. So next time you are asked to write a recommendation letter, remember its significance and put your best foot forward.
In conclusion, writing a recommendation letter for a student is an essential task that should not be taken lightly. It can make a significant impact on the student’s future and help them stand out among their peers. To write a compelling recommendation letter, it is crucial to highlight the student’s strengths, accomplishments, and unique qualities while providing specific examples to back up your claims. Remember to structure your letter correctly and be honest in your feedback to provide valuable insights into the student’s character and abilities. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you will be able to create a powerful recommendation letter that truly showcases the student’s potential. So the next time you are asked to write a recommendation letter for a student, keep these tips in mind and use them to craft a letter that will help shape the student’s future success.

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