How to Write a Reference Letter for a Student

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Reference letters from teachers are a crucial part of the college application packet. Each letter must be unique and describe the student's work ethic, grades, activities and awards. It is also helpful if the letter starts or ends with a quote that relates to the career the student will pursue. Crafting a strong reference letter is a task that will help the student immensely. The letter will probably be saved forever!

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Resume weight paper and envelope (or use school letterhead)
  • List of the student's activities and sports played
  • The student's G.P.A. and a list of awards the student has won
  • A list of quotes that relate to the field the student will study in college

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    Crafting a Strong Reference Letter

  1. 1

    Start or end the letter with a quote from someone famous that relates to the career the student will pursue. The quote will catch the interest of the reader and add drama to the letter.

  2. 2

    Describe the student's work ethic and participation in class. Mention the aspects of the student's personality that will ensure success in college, such as motivation, enthusiasm and intelligence.

  3. 3

    List the student's G.P.A. and any awards the student has won. List any information that shows the student has excelled in high school.

  4. 4

    Describe the sports and other activities the student participated in while in high school. If any leadership position was obtained, list that, too. Show that the student was an active part of the high-school community.

  5. 5

    Write about why you feel the student will excel in the career she has chosen. Also list why she will be an asset to the college she chooses to attend.

Tips and warnings

  • Tell the students at the start of grade 12 that you will write a reference letter for anyone who has achieved a good grade in class.
  • Inform them that you will need at least 3 days to prepare the letter, so that they do not wait until the last moment before the application is due to ask for the letter.
  • Do not write a reference letter for a student who has been problematic.

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