A letter of recommendation for student is a very important document that holds immense value for a student who is applying for a college or an internship or for any other official or unofficial position. So, if you have been asked to write a letter of recommendation for a student, you must know that you have been entrusted with a very important task. As a teacher or guidance counselor, you must know that this is a serious responsibility that carries heavy weight.
Purpose of Recommendation Letter
A recommendation letter is very significant for a student’s career as it strengthens his chances of application whether it is for a college course or for any other position. It serves as a letter of support that augments the chances of the student. The letter contains important information about the goals, passion and caliber of the student and is a kind of certificate from an authentic and reliable source. Its primary purpose is to act as a supplement for the resume or application. The other purpose is to present his academic past in such a fashion that it seems compatible with his future. The letter gives weight to the candidate’s character, qualifications and skills.
Characteristics of Recommendation Letter
A recommendation letter for a student talks about his capability, character and qualifications. However, the packaging of the letter is quite different because it is not very formal in its tone. Since it is mostly written by a teacher or a guidance counselor, who knows the student well, the letter carries a personal touch. It is a type of document that attests the qualities of the student, thereby, giving support to his candidature for the position for which he has applied.
Tips for Writing the Recommendation Letter
The recommendation letter for a student plays a very important role in his success. If someone has come to you with a request for recommendation letter, it means that he trusts your guidance and thinks highly of you. So, give the letter proper attention. These tips will come in handy as you go about drafting the letter.
1. Discuss With the Student Before Your Start Writing
Agreed that if the student has chosen you to write the letter it means that he considers you qualified enough to write the letter. It is a sign that he assumes you to be aware of his credentials and character. However, a recommendation letter is more than character and credentials. It will only hit the target if you can customize it to suit the position for which the student is applying. Suppose the student has worked with you on a research project and is applying for the position of a research scholar in a college then you can write about his qualities and skill set that make him perfect for the position.
2. Evaluate the Position for Which the Student is Applying
A letter of recommendation is not just for a course in college. It can also be for a job or a position in a non-profit organization. So, you must keep in mind the position and write only specific stuff that can strike a chord with the recipient. Otherwise, the letter will merely become a formal and ordinary supportive document that would not cut much ice.
3. Ask Yourself Whether you are the Right Person
This is also very important because many a time it happens that the student applies for such a position about which you cannot write much. This is to say that what you know about him is not beneficial for his position. For example, if you are an arts teacher and your student is asking you to write a recommendation letter that is for a course in a science stream. Then how can you write a suitable letter? In such cases, it is best to decline the request as you are not the right fit for the job.
4. Take Help of a Colleague who Also Knows the Student
It is always advisable to consult others and take their advice for the stuff that you have to write. If you do not have much experience in writing such letters, then it is almost a must to get a recheck from your colleague. It would ensure that your letter brings forth the best of the student’s caliber and quality.