How to Write a Recommendation Letter for College

How to Write a Recommendation Letter for College

Since colleges have become more competitive, it is important that potential recommenders know how to write a recommendation letter for college. A recommendation letter for college is a letter that discusses academic and when necessary, the personal attributes of a student. It clarifies the learning style of the student while distilling what makes a student unique and appropriate for admission in a specific college-

Competitive colleges assess the character, goals and passions of students using recommendation letters-

As a recommendation letter writer, you provide vital and integral service to the college-bound students. By writing an excellent recommendation letter, you can enable the college applicant to be accepted by their preferred college with ease.

A step-by-step guide on how to write a recommendation letter for college

  • Meet the student that you are recommending

Before you start writing the recommendation letter, you should meet with the student and discuss if he or she is approaching the application with a certain angle. For instance, the student might opt to bill himself or herself as a potential civil engineering student. In that case, you can write the recommendation letter with this in mind-

During your meeting, ask the student to list down the extracurricular activities that she or he engaged in when she or he was a student in your institution. This will enable you to include such specifics in the recommendation letter if necessary.

  • Include relevant information only

Once you have known why the student needs a recommendation letter and if there is a certain angle that you should take when writing the letter, ensure that you include relevant information only. For instance, if the letter is for supplementing an application, include information about what makes the applicant an appropriate student for a college that he or she wants to join. Nevertheless, a recommendation letter for college should attest the character and capabilities of the applicant.

  • Address

The return address should be written at the top left side of the page. If you are a teacher or a principal, include the name of the school or college. Home address can be used if the letter is a personal reference.

  • Date

The return address should be followed by the date with 2 spaces between them. The date should be written in a format that starts with the month, then the day and the year separated by a comma.

  • Write the address of the college

A recommendation letter for college is like a business letter. It ought to be professional and formal. Therefore, include the name, department or title to ensure that the letter goes to the right person.

  • Write the introduction

In most cases, recommendation letters for college begin with “To Whom It May Concern.” The line that follows has the name of the college applicant. However, you can start with a salutation that includes the name of the recipient. For instance, you can start with, “Dear Admissions Director:” Note that a colon follows the salutation.

  • The body

The body of your letter is the section that shows that you really know how to write a recommendation letter for college. In the body, explain the strengths of the student. In most cases, recommenders say that the applicant is intelligent, disciplined and hard working. You should go past such adjectives if you want to come up with a recommendation letter that makes your student unique. For instance, if the personality of the student is unique and if he or she makes classroom discussions lively, include that in the letter. If the student has the ability to negotiate compromises among students who have differing opinions, include that in the body of the recommendation letter too. The admission director or panel wants to know what makes the student unique and you can present the applicant as a unique student by being specific and providing examples.

  • Conclusion

In the concluding paragraph, summarize the unique attributes of the student. If you know the college that the student wants to be admitted to, describe your reasons for thinking that the attributes of the applicant makes him or her ideal for that college. Avoid including anything fancy. The standard way of concluding a recommendation letter for college is “for more information about this person, do not hesitate to contact us/me.” You can also conclude the letter with a ringing endorsement or recommendation of the abilities of the applicant.

  • Sign

After the conclusion, leave some lines where you will sign after printing it then include your name and title.

  • Edit

You may know how to write a recommendation letter for college but if you do not edit the letter, it will not serve your intended purpose properly. A recommendation letter that has grammatical and spelling errors reflects badly on you and the student that you are writing to recommend. Therefore, edit your letter or seek our help with editing and proofreading your recommendation letter.

Sample letters of recommendation for college

You may have known how to write a recommendation letter for college but sample letters will make writing this letter easier.

Here are sample letters of recommendations for college applicants:

Sample One

2913 O’Shaughnessay Hall Academy

Notre Dame, 432

June 22, 2015

College of Mathematics,

Ridge Water College,

Brooklyn, NY.

Dear Admissions Director:

I am glad to recommend Jonathan Ken, who has been my math student for the last three years to your college. When Ken was my student, he exhibited strong qualities that made him a role model for other students.

Ken is a student that combines exceptional abilities, eagerness and willingness to learn. He always helps other students who have difficulties in understanding mathematical concepts. He does this in a non-condescending and practical way. Despite knowing his natural abilities in the field of mathematics, Ken is always challenging himself. He has been a member of the mathematics team in our school. This team challenges students from the local universities and colleges during mathematical competitions. Ken is also a very active member of the Greenpeace school community. He also plays defense in the soccer team of the school.

I am confident that Ken will be an excellent student in your college. I enthusiastically recommend him for admission in your college. If you have questions or need further clarification about him, do not hesitate to contact me.


Henry Patrick

Head of Mathematics Department,

O’Shaughnessay Hall Academy,

643 6432 888

Sample Two

To Whom It May Concern:

It has been my pleasure having Jayson Smith as my student. Being his science teacher for the last three years, I have known Jayson since the 9th grade. He was my best biology student who has excelled in most classes. He has also been a very active Science Club member in the school for the last three years. This has made his peers to always elect him as the Club’s president. During his presidency, Jayson has aggressively and successfully run a campaign for renewable energy in the school.

Jayson is perhaps, the most impressive student that I have met during my teaching career. Apart from being hard working, he is intelligent, easy-going and creative. I am confident that Jayson will excel in his endeavors. He will undoubtedly be a great asset to your college. I recommend Jayson for admission in your college without reservation.


Martin George

Head of Science Department,

Denton High School

Sample Three

Ms. Jillian Jones

Admissions Director

Recruitment and Admissions Office

MacDonald College

2341 Dorchester Ave, Montreal

Dear Ms. Jones

I am pleased to recommend Frank John to your college. Frank has been our liberal arts’ student in Holy Mount High school for the last three years. During this time, I have seen him grow to become an accomplished and poised young man. He is an exceptional student whose skills and performance have not been matched by most of his peers. His diligence has enabled him to score excellent grades always.

He possesses great interpersonal skills and he works well both independently and in group settings. He has great leadership skills as depicted by the roles that he play in group projects. He is respected and liked by his peers and teachers.

Frank has also been a member of our cross-country team for the last two years. He has also been a member of a Mentoring Program that helps juniors during the first years in high school. He has also participated in the organization of various projects including fundraising for cancer research and marathon events.

Frank has interest in international development and world affairs. I understand that he is interested in pursuing a degree in Sociology or Political Science. As our student, Frank has travelled to various places and written great reports about his intellectual observations.

I am convinced that Frank has a great potential as your student and I have no doubts that he will be a great asset to MacDonald College.

Yours truly,

Alan Smith


Bonus tips on how to write a recommendation letter for college

  • Include specific information regarding the applicant
  • Point out specific examples where the student has portrayed unique attributes-
  • Include information that will not be found anywhere in the application of the student-

Would you like to write a recommendation letter for college that will compel the admission director or panel to grant your student admission to their preferred college? Then follow the step-by-step guide provided above.

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