Write an Excellent College Recommendation. Step 2.

STEP 2: STRUCTURE YOUR LETTER

Introduction: Mention how long you have known the student and in which classes you have taught him/her. Also include the clubs/sports/other activities in which you have worked with the
student outside the classroom. Demonstrate that you know this student well. Your feelings for him/her should be reflected in your word choice. If there are any circumstances that may have affected the student’s performance in your class, mention them. Above all, be genuine.

Body: Give concrete, detailed examples of the student’s work in your class and extra-curricular activities. Be sure to refer to academics, activities and character. Colleges are looking for diverse
students who will excel academically as well as contribute actively to student life. Your job is to convince the school what the student can offer, based on his/her performance in your class and extra-curricular activities. Mention not only strengths but also how the student dealt with setbacks or challenges.

Conclusion: Sum up the student’s overall impression on you. Reiterate the qualities that will convince the admissions officer that this student is ready to embrace the rigors of academic work and the joys of college life.

SAMPLE INTRODUCTIONS

SAMPLE A

______ _______ is an outstanding member of a class that fairly brims with excellent students. Over the past three years, she has consistently ranked among the top 5% of the class of 20__,
having first come to my attention when she won a school-wide Shakespearean Sonnet Contest as a ninth grader. I have had the pleasure of teaching her in Honors English 10 and in AP English
Language and Composition as well as working with her on the literary magazine in her junior year. An extremely well-rounded student, ______ excels in all academic areas. While her first
love is science and her future plans include medicine, she is just as committed to the arts, and she is one of the strongest writers I have taught in over 30 years. Dedicated to community service,
_______ heads the Orphanage Division of our chapter of Roots & Shoots. Modest almost to a fault, _______ attributes her outstanding performance to assiduousness and perseverance. She sets goals each semester and does everything humanly possible to achieve them. While her junior year was especially hard because her father died of cancer, she soldiered on.

SAMPLE B

I have taught ______ _______ for two years, in Honors English 10 and in AP English Language and Composition. A quiet, even-tempered young man, _______ has worked very hard to maintain a B average in these demanding English courses. His writing is still occasionally
plagued by syntax, diction, and subject-verb agreement problems; however, this is not surprising, for even as an adolescent, ______ was taking Extra English classes to perfect his language skills.
His progress over the past two years has been rapid because he is highly intelligent, very diligent and eager to improve his performance. In my long experience of teaching students for whom
English is a second or third language, I have observed that lingering EFL issues generally tend to disappear once students begin university work. Outside class, I worked with _______ mainly in his capacity as Business Manager of our award-winning literary magazine, which I sponsor.

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