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Student Recommendation Letter Template – with Samples

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Student Recommendation Letter Template – with Samples

Updated July 21, 2023

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The student recommendation letter is a reference, usually by a former teacher, of a student’s work ethic, personality, and how they interact with other people. A recommendation should be provided by the teacher for any individual applying to college, graduate school, an MBA, or any position where a former teacher’s acknowledgment would be helpful. The letter is to be written by the former teacher and sent directly to the party that is requesting the reference.

Types of Student Letters

College (High School Student) Recommendation Letter – For high school students applying to college.

Fraternity Recommendation Letter – For college students pledging to be in an organized group of men.

Graduate School Recommendation Letter – For those with a bachelor’s degree-seeking additional studies or a master’s program.

MBA Recommendation Letter – Also known as a ‘Masters of Business Administration is a graduate school although usually cannot be started until the applicant has had some real-world experience.

Scholarship Recommendation Letter – For a student seeking a grant to pay for education.

Sorority Recommendation Letter – For college students pledging to be in an organized group of women.

Table of Contents

Who to Select?

A student that is looking to have someone else write a recommendation for them should ask themselves, “who have I been closer to than any other teacher, coach, or faculty member at my school?”. What schools are looking for in the recommendation letter is to get a glimpse of the student’s personality when making the judgment of whether or not to allow the applicant into their school. Therefore, it is best to select someone who can write the most personal of recommendations about the student.

How to Write (Format)

The letter should fit on one page, preferably with a letterhead. It must contain a short introduction, one to two body paragraphs, and a conclusion that reiterates your recommendation of the student.


In the first paragraph, you must establish why you are writing this letter: Who are you writing on behalf of? Who is the letter addressing? Introduce yourself and the context of your relationship with the student: What is your title? How long have you known the student, and in what capacity? It can also be helpful to include a general summary of your impression of the student.


Dear Admissions Board,

I am thrilled to be writing this letter to recommend Elijah Smith for admissions to Vanderbilt University. Elijah was a student of mine for three years at Troy High School, where I’ve been teaching English and creative writing for almost 15 years. I have watched Elijah blossom as a young man and writer, and I have no doubt that he would thrive in your undergraduate Creative Writing program.

Body Paragraph(s)

The body of the letter dives into the student’s positive attributes and characteristics, providing concrete examples and anecdotes that demonstrate these qualities.


Some of my favorite qualities about Elijah can be described in the following words: extremely hardworking, inspired, and diligent. Despite having a night job as a pizza delivery courier to support his single mother and little brother, he never missed a single homework assignment in any of my classes during the three years I had the pleasure of teaching him. In addition, the papers he turned in never lacked depth: His voracious curiosity about literature and the infinite possibilities of storytelling never fails to come through his writing. Even during class discussions, he was always one of the most engaged participants, challenging his fellow peers to dig deeper.


The conclusion wraps up your letter in a few sentences, reiterating the points of your recommendation and providing a method of contact for the review board in case anyone wants to follow up.


In my 15 years working as a high school teacher, Elijah is one of the most special students I’ve come across. I have no doubt that his undeniable work ethic and passion for creative writing will take him far in his life, whatever path he follows. I’d be happy to provide any further information about my recommendation. You can contact me at b.white@troy.edu.


Betsy White
English, Creative Writing Teacher
Troy High School

Sample 1 – College

Dear Admissions Committee,

It is my pleasure to be recommending Kermit Kim for your university’s acclaimed College of Journalism. As Kermit’s school newspaper advisor at Sunny Ridge High School for the past four years, I’ve closely watched her grow into a promising young reporter and editor. In addition to her incredible knack for journalism, Kermit has shown a constant initiative in bringing the team together and exploring new ideas. Her leadership skills and vision as the Arts and Culture Editor of our student newspaper The Falcon have been proven time and again, especially with a first-place recognition last month from the National Student Journalism Association in page design and feature stories.

Beyond Kermit’s accomplishments with the student newspaper, her academic prowess has landed her in the top five ranking of her high school class for the last four years. Her unrelenting work ethic and time management skills allows her to perform highly in her classes while maintaining involvement in a number of extracurricular activities. In addition to devoting her time and energy to The Falcon, she is also an active member of the Sunny Ridge Marching Band, which went on to place 3rd place at the regional competition this past spring.

Without a doubt, Kermit has so much to offer and is one of the best students I have had the pleasure of teacher in my 30 years at this high school. It is my hope that Kermit develops her passion for journalism into a career; I have no doubt in my mind that she will thrive at your university’s College of Journalism. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with regard to my whole-hearted recommendation of Kermit Jones.


Tammy Lee

Newspaper Advisor, English Teacher

Sunny Ridge High School

Sample 2 – Fraternity

Jack White
Alpha Mappa Kambda House
321 Frat Row St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

June 15, 2022

Brogan Smith
Alpha Mappa Kambda Recruitment
College University

Dear Brogan,

It is my utmost pleasure to recommend my brother Mack White to join the brotherhood of Alpha Mappa Kambda at College University. Mack is currently a freshman studying marine biology and is enthusiastic about finding a family during his time in school. I can vouch for Mack’s reliability, adventurous spirit, and loyalty as someone who has known him for 18 years. As someone who has been with this fraternity for the past four years, I think that he will be a great fit for our brotherhood.

In high school, Mack was the star quarterback of the football team, which went on to win the regional championships last year. In addition, he was involved in a number of clubs, including French Club and the Key Club. He held leadership positions in both, as vice president and treasurer respectively. His field of interests has proven to be diverse, and with his effective time management, he pursues his interests passionately. In addition, his enthusiasm and outgoing personality is infectious, which led his class to elect him as the homecoming king in his senior year.

Without a doubt, I believe that Mack will be a great fit for our brotherhood. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding my recommendation for Mack.


Jack White

Sample 3 – Graduate School

June 16, 2022

Dr. May Lee
Professor of Psychology
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am writing this letter to give my whole-hearted recommendation for Eunice Park, a remarkable pupil I’ve had the pleasure of teaching during her undergrad at Stanford University. I truly believe that she has what it takes to thrive in Harvard University’s Master of Psychology program and bring great contributions to the school.

In her freshman year, Eunice left a strong impression on me in the lecture hall. Her inquisitive mind and assertiveness were quickly made evident by her thoughtful questions and active participation in the class. Between her sophomore and senior year, I had the pleasure of teaching Eunice in a number of my advanced psychology courses. She shined in this intimate setting as well; her high level of comprehension and willingness to go above and beyond what was required made her stand out among her peers. In class discussions, Eunice was typically the most reliable source of thought-proving points, challenging other students to dig deeper into the psychological concepts I presented them with.

Eunice’s admiration of psychology is undeniable, but what sets her apart is her unending commitment to deepen her understanding of the field outside of the classroom. Her comprehension of the history of cognitive psychology and its effects on modern psychology is far beyond the undergrad level; the countless hours she spends doing research and reading journals are made evident in her ability to connect dots and communicate them succinctly, whether in a class discussion or in her papers.

I am so excited to watch Eunice’s career bloom as a leader in modern psychology academia, and I have no doubt that she will be successful in this journey. Harvard University’s Master of Psychology program would be very lucky to have her. Please feel free to contact me for any more information. I would be happy to speak more about Eunice’s admirable strengths as both a student and an individual.


Dr. May Lee

Sample 4 – MBA

Dear Admissions Committee,

It is my utmost pleasure to recommend Jane Doe for Tulane University’s MBA program. I first met Jane as her supervisor at Geocode Productions, a startup I founded in 2015. Jane came on as our accountant in 2016 and was quickly promoted to the position of senior financial manager. Her superior judgment, critical thinking skills, and unmatched expertise in finance made her an integral part of our small but growing team.

When Jane joined the company, she quickly laid out a financial plan with clear objectives and helped set up all of our business accounts. Her extraordinary interpersonal skills allowed her to guide our team with ease when it came to managing our expenses. Even though she was one of the youngest members of our team, her confidence and know-how in the business world allowed her to establish herself as a natural leader.

The growth and success that our company has seen over the last few years is in no small part thanks to Jane, whose expertise as an accountant and leadership as a senior finance manager went beyond every CEO’s wildest dreams. She is extremely qualified to pursue an MBA and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for her next. You can reach me anytime via email (robert@geocode.com) if you need any more information regarding my recommendation.

All the best,

Robert Smith

Sample 5 – Scholarship

June 17, 2022

Helena B. Carter
English Teacher
Troy High School
2200 Dorothy Ln. Fullerton, CA 92831

To the Betty White Scholarship Committee,

I am very pleased to be recommending June Carter, one of my favorite students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in my 40-year secondary teaching career. June was a student in my honors English class in her sophomore year, a star student in my beginner, intermediate, and advanced creative writing classes through her junior and senior year. June is a natural-born storyteller whose passion for literature grows with each passing day. If selected for the Betty White Literature Scholarship, I have no doubt in my mind that she will carry on Betty White’s legacy of being a trailblazing female artist and creator.

June left an impression on me from the first day she set foot in my class. Her boldness and ability to articulate nuanced ideas as a sophomore made her stand out among her peers, but it was her unbreakable passion for reading and writing that turned her into a favorite of mine. Her contributions in class discussions about various stories we’d read were always rooted in cultural sensitivity and historical knowledge. In the same way, her papers reflected a maturity and level of comprehension not often seen at the secondary school level.

As the advisor of our school’s literary magazine, I’ve watched June as she used her critical judgment to curate a bimonthly magazine for the campus. As the head editor, June led the student team with ease and treated everyone with respect. Her passion for providing a platform for marginalized voices made her into an impressive and thoughtful editor and writer.

I have no doubt in my mind that June will thrive in her budding career with the assistance of the Betty White Literature Scholarship. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding my recommendation: helena@troyhs.edu.


Helena B. Carter

Sample 6 – Sorority

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this recommendation on behalf of Jennifer Aniston, who I have had the pleasure of knowing for the last 18 years of her life. As her older sister, I’ve watched Jennifer blossom into an ambitious and gregarious individual with many accomplishments under her belt. As a longtime member of Kappa Delta, I can say with confidence that Jennifer would be a great fit for Ohio University’s Kappa Delta chapter.

In high school, Jennifer was the captain of the cheerleading squad and demonstrated impressive leadership skills that would lead the squad to regional championships. The squad earned a first place honor in three different categories, and it was under Jennifer’s unifying leadership that the team was able to achieve that. In addition, she has maintained a rigorous academic schedule, maintaining a 3.8 GPA with AP and honors classes. She is very interested in doing her best in whatever she does, and that’s the most impressive quality about her. Whether it’s academics, her involvement with school clubs, or with cheerleading, she always comes out on top. She is a winner through and through.

Jennifer is an absolute pleasure to be around, and I find myself always laughing when I am with her. Her winning personality and her passion to be the best version of herself are qualities that I think would make her a great fit for the sisterhood of Kappa Delta. You can reach me at judyanniston@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Judy Aniston