Guide: How To Write a Recommendation Letter for a Student

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 August 2022

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A letter of recommendation from a teacher can help a student stand out from other candidates when they apply to a university or a job. By writing a positive recommendation letter, the teacher can attest to the student's character and qualifications. Knowing how to write an effective letter can help you in many situations during your professional life. In this article, we will discuss how to write a recommendation letter for a student and share examples of such letters for different situations.

What Is A Letter Of Recommendation?

A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter that contains important information about a student's character, school performance, educational qualifications, abilities, skills and talents. Generally, a teacher or a school principal will write the letter to prove their students' capabilities and support their academic or career aspirations.

Having a LOR is usually crucial when a student wants to go abroad for further studies or wishes to take up a foreign job position. Aside from the requirements of a foreign college or company, the immigration authorities usually ask to see such recommendation letters.

How To Write A Recommendation Letter For A Student

Read these tips about how to write a letter of recommendation for a student:

1. Write a customised letter

Consider crafting a new letter for each recommendation. That way, you can customise each letter with specific details about the student you are recommending. For instance, you can include some of their skills and qualifications that are relevant for the job they are applying to. You can still use a template if you want to. But be sure to customise your letter every time.

2. Review the student's educational details

For a college application, ask for the course details and requirements. After reviewing the student's academic records and their performance in extracurricular activities, read their college application letter and personal essay. For a job reference, review their resume and cover letter.

Compare the student's information with the college course or job requirements and consider how you might tailor it to highlight their suitability for the college or the job. Ask the student why they are applying to a particular course or job. This can assist you in forming your perspective for the recommendation letter.

3. Find out whom to address

Ask the student for the name and title of the person you will write to and their role in the college or job application process. Knowing whom you are addressing in your letter of recommendation will enable you to personalise the letter in a way they will appreciate. College recommendation letters are typically for the programme director, the admissions counsellor or the college admission office. To recommend a job candidate, you typically write to the department head, the hiring manager or the company's HR department.

If your student wants to use the recommendation letter for multiple colleges or companies, write a generalised letter and include relevant attributes that will work everywhere.

4. Begin with a personal introduction

Start the letter of recommendation by introducing yourself and explaining why you are qualified to vouch for the student. Provide details of your job title, the subject or course you teach, your years of teaching experience and the timeframe you taught the student. If you never taught them but associated with them for extracurricular activities like sports, theatre, music and so on, make that clear.

5. Explain your educational relationship with the student

Discuss how well you know the student through your interactions in the classroom or during extracurricular activities. Provide your general impression of the student, including their character, behaviour and abilities. Go into detail about how they impressed you with their hard work, attention to detail, ethical behaviour, helpful nature and so on.

6. Provide details of the student's qualifications

The letter recipient will use your recommendation letter to decide whether the student will be an asset to their college or company. For instance, a college admissions counsellor is likely to want applicants who score in academics, participate in extracurricular activities and have an enthusiastic outlook. Such students will be more likely to sign up for college clubs, organisations and activities and be academically oriented and socially responsible. A company hiring manager too will want a candidate who will be hard-working, reliable and ethical.

To highlight these qualities in your recommendation letter, detail the positive contributions your student made in school. Depending on the student, you can write:

  • If they did well in academics and sports

  • If they held any leadership positions, such as class monitor, school head, club president or sports captain

  • If they participated in individual and group projects

  • If they excelled in public speaking and presentations

  • If they did any volunteer work

  • If they were members of the school club or other organisations

  • If they received awards and recognition in local, national or international competitions

7. End your letter on a positive note

At the end of the letter, reiterate your confidence in your student's character and abilities and assure the letter recipient that they will be a valuable addition to their college or company. Inform them of your readiness to answer any questions that the recipient might have about the student. Include your contact details, such as your email, your phone number and the hours in which you will be available. Such personal endorsement will show the recipient that you fully support your student, and they will consider that when they make their selection decision.

Example Student Recommendation Letters

You can use these sample recommendation letters as inspiration to craft your own letter:

Example 1: Recommendation letter for a college applicant

Dear Mr. Gonsalves,

My name is Anant Shukla, and I have been an English teacher at Vivekananda High School in Mumbai for 16 years. I taught Ruchi Karambelkar from Standard 8 to Standard 10 and came to know her well in this duration. She was always an excellent student, with a high level of intelligence and a passion for doing well. Aside from that, I noticed her willingness to help her classmates who were not as academically gifted. With her cheerful nature, it was a pleasure to have her in my class.

I understand she wants to join the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Mumbai, and I recommend that you consider accepting her application. Ruchi is a calm, mature and ambitious person who is likely to go far with her overall attitude. She is a voracious reader and an excellent writer. While at school, she regularly wrote for our school magazine, and I have followed her online writing since then. As a writer, she is creative and original. She has a high critical thinking ability, fine sensitivity and a good sense of humour.

I believe she will continue to grow and expand as a writer, especially as she gathers more life experiences. She will always look for the positive in things but has the inner strength to withstand the negative. When she was my student, I watched her rebound from setbacks with the determination to do better the next time. These and other traits will make Ruchi a good choice for the Creative Writing Program at the University of Mumbai.

If you have any questions for me or would like further details about Ruchi's accomplishments in school, please call at (91)-5555444777 or write to

With regards,

Anant Shukla

English Teacher at Vivekananda High School, Mumbai

Example 2: Recommendation letter for a job applicant

Dear Mr Hussain,

My name is Ravi Shrivastava, and I teach Mathematics at Lilavati High School in Pune. I was Arvind Kohlapure's teacher in Standard 9 and Standard 10. In this period, I formed a high opinion of his mathematical skill and his overall diligent attitude. He was not just a bright student, but an incredibly hard-working one too. His interest in learning went beyond the class syllabus, and he took the initiative to find out more through online research.

Arvind was also popular with his classmates and an active participant in many of our school's sports and extracurricular activities. He was the President of the Nature Club for two years and organised two annual exhibitions that impressed all visitors. They even found mention in our local newspaper and TV station.

I understand Arvind wants to work as a business analyst with Ethene Solutions Pvt. Ltd, and I highly recommend him for this position. He will do well in his career and be an incredible work colleague.

If you want more information about Arvind, please call me at 4444333222 or send an email to


Ravi Shrivastava

Mathematics Teacher at Lilavati High School, Pune.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.


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