Knowing how to write a letter of recommendation is essential as a teacher or a professor. Many of your pupils will come to you throughout your career asking for a recommendation or referral letter for university admission or a job as they try to advance in their careers.
To help, here are four recommendation letter examples and templates that you can easily copy and paste into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to speed up your writing process.
Table of contents:
- For students applying to college
- For students applying for scholarships
- For students applying for graduate school
- For teachers applying for jobs
1. Letter of recommendation for college
If you’re a high school teacher, at some point, you’ll need to write a letter of recommendation for a student applying to college. But you might not know everything you need to include to make sure your student has the best chance of being accepted into their top university.
This template shows you how to write a recommendation letter for college by ensuring you hit all the necessary points. While writing, keep in mind that you should focus on:
- Highlighting both the academic and personality traits of the student to portray them as a well-rounded student
- Emphasizing the strengths that are relevant to the department or university the student is applying to
- Maintaining a positive and enthusiastic tone throughout the letter
Here’s a college letter of recommendation template:
Now, here’s the completed college letter of recommendation example:
February 12th, 2022
University of Connecticut
123 College Address
Storrs, CT, 06251
Dear Admissions Committee,
It is my great pleasure to recommend Jonathan Baker for admission to the University of Connecticut’s Mechanical Engineering Department. I have known Jon for 3 years and was delighted to serve as both his AP Physics teacher and Robotics Club adviser at Greenwich High School. During that time, I watched Jon grow into an outstanding individual who excels in his academic and personal pursuits.
As Jon’s teacher and adviser, I witnessed his extraordinary ability to quickly understand advanced physics concepts and then adeptly apply them to real-world situations firsthand. His senior year robotics project was particularly impressive: He designed, built, and programmed a robot that could climb any surface, no matter how smooth.
Jon’s academic accomplishments are rivaled only by his personal strengths. His compassion and charisma are beyond his years, and he is well-loved by his peers as well as all those who have had the pleasure of teaching him. Whenever any of his fellow students have a difficult time or feel down, he never fails to step in with an encouraging word and a smile.
I highly recommend you accept Jon into your Mechanical Engineering program. I am confident he will make an excellent addition to your university’s community. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding his character or past academic work.
Physics Teacher, Greenwich High School
2. Letter of recommendation for scholarships
With college tuition becoming increasingly expensive, scholarships are sometimes the only way a student can afford to attend university.
Make sure your student has the financial support they need to continue their education by writing a scholarship recommendation letter for them.
In your scholarship recommendation letter, you’ll need to focus on:
- Reading through the necessary requirements or qualities for the scholarship program
- Customizing the letter to focus on how the student demonstrates or fulfills the criteria desired by the scholarship organization
- Mentioning how the student not only deserves the scholarship but financially needs it
Here’s a scholarship letter of recommendation template:
Now, here’s the completed scholarship letter of recommendation sample, in text form:
February 12th, 2022
Office of the American Secretary
The Rhodes Trust
8229 Boone Boulevard
Vienna, Virginia 22182
Dear Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee,
It is my pleasure and honor to recommend Thomas Schriver for the Rhodes Scholarship. I have known Thomas for 2 years and was delighted to serve as his professor in my History course on Taiwan Politics and Cross-Strait Relations, as well as his graduation thesis adviser at the University of Minnesota. After reading through the criteria of the Rhode Scholarship, I strongly believe that you would struggle to find a student more deserving and more in need of it than Thomas.
The Rhodes Trust looks for students who possess exceptional academic abilities as well as the drive to use those abilities to their full potential. Since I have known him, Thomas has demonstrated his superior intellect and thirst to understand the culture and consciousness of his fellow man on multiple occasions. In particular, his graduation thesis—discussing the complexities of Taiwan’s history and how it has influenced the development of modern Taiwanese identity—was culturally sensitive and contained remarkable analysis that was eye-opening even for an experienced professor in the field such as myself.
On a personal level, Thomas is a young man of strong character who fully embodies all the traits you look for in potential candidates. Specifically, I was astounded by his kindness, selflessness, and devotion to helping the less fortunate in any way he could. Every summer vacation, instead of using his free time for himself, he travels to Indonesia to do volunteer work teaching English to children living in rural villages.
I have absolutely no reservations about recommending Thomas for the Rhodes Scholarship. I have no doubt he will uphold the standards of a Rhodes Scholar and become a shining member of your community. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding his character, past academic work, or any other qualifications related to the scholarship.
Professor of History, University of Minnesota
3. Graduate school letter of recommendation
Letters of recommendation for graduate school are taken very seriously and generally should only be written by a professor who can describe a student’s capabilities and academic works in great detail.
This is why it’s essential to know how to write a letter of recommendation for grad school before getting started. When writing a graduate school recommendation letter for your student, focus on:
- The student’s relevant academic accomplishments for their target graduate program
- Although both are crucial, place more emphasis on academic strengths over personality traits
- Provide detailed examples to prove the student has the abilities you describe in the recommendation letter
Here’s a grad school letter of recommendation template that you can use to get started:
Now, here’s an example of a completed, well-written graduate school recommendation letter:
February 21st, 2022
Office of Graduate Admissions
University of Iceland
123 College Address
Reykjavik, Iceland, 142
Dear Graduate Admissions Committee,
It is my great pleasure to recommend Jess Chen for admission to the University of Iceland’s master’s program in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies. I got to know Jess as her Anglo-Saxon studies professor at the University of South Carolina. During that time, I was thoroughly impressed by Jess’ commitment to understanding and exploring the hidden depths of Anglo-Saxon culture and literature.
While taking my Scandinavian literature course, Jess demonstrated an extraordinary interest and ability to analyze classic Icelandic sagas. Her final paper on the Bandamanna Saga was already on a level that would usually be expected only from a master’s student. In it, she analyzed the Christian themes of Saga and explored how they relate to the current perception of Christianity in modern-day Iceland.
In addition to Jess’ exceptional academic accomplishments in Nordic studies as an undergraduate, her selflessness and commitment to helping the less fortunate made her an outstanding member of the University of South Carolina’s community. As a member of Habitat for Humanity, she provided invaluable tutelage and mentorship to countless underprivileged children.
It is my strong opinion that Jess would be a tremendous addition to the University of Iceland’s Viking and Medieval Norse Studies graduate program, and she has my highest recommendation. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding her character or past academic work.
Marcus R. Winfield
Professor of Anglo-Saxon Studies, University of Maryland
4. Letter of recommendation for teachers
It’s an honor when a colleague views you in high regard and asks you for a referral letter, especially for a teaching position.
Teaching positions, especially those at well-established universities and colleges, are hard to come by. You’ll need to ensure you display your coworker or colleague in the best way possible by:
- Making sure you’re qualified to write the letter. You should be able to talk about the applicant’s teaching abilities from a position of authority (e.g., principal, department head, or professor)
- Highlighting both the applicant’s exceptional teaching abilities and positive personality traits that made them a distinguished member of your institution’s community
- Citing detailed examples that prove the applicant was an effective teacher
First, here’s a teacher recommendation letter template:
Now, here’s a well-written teacher recommendation letter sample, in text form:
March 15th, 2022
Lenox Elementary School
123 School Address
Lenox, IA, 08967
Dear Principal Kieslehorst,
It is my great pleasure to personally recommend Melanie McGregor for the role of 5th grade Math teacher at Wilton Elementary School. Ms. McGregor was a treasured member of our faculty for 6 years and was loved by students and teachers alike. As principal of Wilton Elementary School, I can assure you that Ms. McGregor is an outstanding teacher who will quickly become an integral member of your school’s community.
When we hired Ms. McGregor 6 years ago, her extensive knowledge of mathematics and the learning needs of children were immediately apparent. With her kind-hearted and nurturing nature, she seamlessly integrated herself into all her classes and effortlessly engaged with all her students. During her time at Wilton Elementary, she also significantly contributed to the girls’ tennis team, which she coached to victory last year.
Since her very first year, Ms. McGregor utilized her exceptional teaching abilities to improve the average grade of her students by one letter grade. Her particularly adept use of multimedia, advanced visuals, and practical storytelling enabled her to capture the attention of her students and ensure they were always focused on schoolwork in the classroom. I am confident she will continue to produce such results at Lenox Elementary School and will quickly become a new favorite among the students.
I have no reservations about giving Ms. McGregor my highest recommendation for this position. I am confident she will become an invaluable addition to your faculty. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding her character or teaching abilities.
Principal, Wilton Elementary School