General WritingResearch and CitationTeaching and TutoringSubject-Specific WritingJob Search WritingESL
OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Writing Letters of Recommendation for Students

Summary:

The resources in this section are designed as a quick guide to writing effective letters of recommendation. It is specifically for the high school teachers and guidance counselors who may be asked to write letters of recommendations for students. 

Contributors:Reme Bohlin
Last Edited: 2013-08-10 12:18:54

The Purpose of Letters of Recommendation

Recommendation letters are an important piece of the college application. The Princeton Review writes that “competitive colleges use the letter of recommendation to assess [a student’s] passions, goals, and character. They want more than just a statistic.”

As a potential recommendation writer, you are providing an important and integral service for your college-bound student. A good recommendation letter brings the applicant to life on the page. However, writing such a letter can be challenging if you are unaware of the conventions. What follows are some guidelines for high school teachers and guidance counselors for writing good recommendation letters, including knowing what to expect or ask from the student requesting a letter, how to incorporate sensitive or negative information, and what format a letter of recommendation should follow.

Copyright ©1995-2014 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.