How to write a Recommendation Letter

I first met so-and-so when she took my introduction to the English language course two years ago and I was so impressed with her research and writing ability that I encouraged her to enroll in my advanced grammar course, where I have students write an in-depth paper…You might try this:So-and-so came to our department two years ago and performed impressively in the introduction to the English language, where she wrote a fine short paper on gender and pronouns.Recommendation latter. Later in advanced grammar, she wrote an in-depth paper on adjective clauses in written English texts.Oh, and don’t start the letter by saying your name. They’ll see that at the end. Provide some evidence and detail.

Recommendation latter template

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Try to show as well as tell. It’s one thing to extol someone’s abilities to communicate, research, or think, but it’s even better to be able to say how you know. Was there a standout effort or project? Recommendation latter template. If so, what was unique about it? What was notable about the way that the person contributed to class discussions, organizational efforts or community? How did their efforts go beyond the norm? What are they best at? Reference forms often ask simplistic questions like: “Compared to all the candidates you have known, where do you rank this person?” Ugh. Who can say? And who keeps track of people that way? For students, try to focus on them as real people, not as some percentage or even a grade point average. Are they juggling work, family, and school? Are they funny, thoughtful, diligent, well-prepared, diffident? Do they know what they want to do or are they experimenting (or even drifting)? Are they excited about school, learning, and their possible careers? Free Recommendation latter. The same is true for colleagues. Try to put them and their work in. What are they involved in and committed to in your institution or community? Are they tapped for organizational priorities? Are they able to keep their balance while multitasking? Why are they ready for this new opportunity now? Be honest but tactful.

Letter of Recommendation

The most important part of a reference rests in your ability to be honest about someone’s abilities and background. It’s a delicate task sometimes, but we do no one any favors if we gloss over weak points. Honesty can be tricky in letters, since readers cannot see your face, they cannot ask follow up questions, and they may over-interpret remarks as more negative than they are meant to be. Letter of Recommendation. Are you damning with faint praise (“The student is a good writer” but not excellent) or sending a hidden message (“She often comes up with ideas that no one else considers” perhaps trivial ones or “He has a strong work ethic” but not much else). Be aware of what uncharitable readers might read into your letter. One strategy that works for me is to link a weakness with a discussion of a complementary strength or other attributes. So, for example, you might find yourself explaining that someone is “intellectually ambitious though sometimes takes on topics that are hard to manage in just one semester” or that while a person is “somewhat quiet in class, her written work shows that she is engaged with the material.” Another strategy is to point out to the recipient of the letter what is still needed to make someone flourish: “His skills have improved tremendously in a short time, and with further opportunities to develop them, he will be a solid researcher.”

 

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