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4 Frames for Reference Letter or Letter of Recommendation


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Follow the basic structure and rules of writing reference letters, mainly for academic purposes.

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4 Frames for Reference Letter or Letter of Recommendation

  1. 1. Recommender’s Contact Information Recommender’s Name Recommender’s Title Company or School Name Address City State, Zip Code Date Dear Authority/University: First Paragraph: your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know them, and why you are qualified to recommend the person for graduate school. Second Paragraph: information about the individual you are writing about, including why they are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are recommending them. If necessary, use more than one paragraph to provide details. Third Paragraph: When writing a letter recommending a candidate for a specific job opening, the recommendation letter should include information on how the person's skills match the position they are applying for. Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person's resume so you can target your letter accordingly. Summary: This section of the recommendation later contains a brief summary of why are you are recommending the person. State that you "strongly recommend" the person or you "recommend without reservation" or "has my highest recommendation" or something similar. Conclusion: The concluding paragraph of your recommendation letter contains an offer to provide more information. Include a phone number within the paragraph, include the phone number and email address in the return address section of your letter, or in your signature. Sincerely, Recommender Name Title Dear Authority/University: I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for Mr. X. I have known Mr. X for the past __ years as he has taken the following courses that I teach: [list courses, give brief description of content of course]. As [his/her] professor, I have had an opportunity to observe [his/her] participation and interaction in class and to evaluate [name of student]’s knowledge of the subject matter. [He/she] is and outstanding student in all respects.
  2. 2. [Name of student] has proven that through hard work, follow though, and team work, [he/she] can accomplish tasks in a courteous and timely manner. [Give one or two specific examples of the student's performance. Also, list other activities that the student is involved with at the university and outside of the university. Point out the areas in which this individual has learned and had the chance to grow with these opportunities.] [Name of student] is well equipped to grow from challenges that [he/she] is presented with. [His/her] [list three key traits (examples: patience, teaching ability, strong computer programming stills…)], prepare [him/her] beautifully for your [company/organization/school/program]. I strongly endorse making [name of student] a member of your team at [list company name/school/program]. Leadership Motivation Integrity Scholarship Effort Honor Maturity Empathy Altruism Responsibility Common sense Problem solving ability Details of any trait mentioned above (if have any) 1. Discuss with the student aspects of his/her record and his/her motivation for the chosen field. 2. Describe your qualifications for comparing the applicant to other students. For example; I have been teaching at FIU for 20 years, and teach approximately 400 students annually. I have also advised approximately 50 undergraduate students on independent research projects. 3. Discuss to what extent you know the applicant. Make it as personal as possible. For example---I first had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. X while he visited me during office hours to discuss advanced concepts not covered in class. Then he worked in my laboratory for the next academic year, participated in weekly lab meetings, and traveled with me and several graduate students to a national meeting, where he presented a poster. 4. Try to compare or rank him or her against other applicants. For example---I would rank him in the top 1% of the students whom I have taught at FIU. For example---She is the most mature undergraduate student I have come across in my 20 years of teaching. 5. Discuss the applicant’s potential in his or her chosen field