How to Write a Good Recommendation Letter for a Student in 2023

“A good recommendation letter is our lives. Everybody can read our actions and our deeds”- Lailah Gifty Akita. Now, imagine a portion of your life written out formally as a recommendation to get you through a door. That is basically what a letter of recommendation is all about.

A letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor is important when a student applies to a university or a job. By writing the letter, provide a character witness to a university or company on the student’s behalf.

The mode of writing a recommendation letter for a student differs from writing a recommendation letter for an employee. This article will discuss how to write a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023. Keep reading.

What is a letter of recommendation?

To write a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023, you must have a basic understanding of what a letter of recommendation is. A letter of recommendation for a student is a document that highlights the student’s character traits and works ethic to aid them in their application process.

The application letter can help them enter an academic program or venture into a new career path. The letter is written by a professional who has had some personal contact or experience with the student.

It provides information with a reference’s account of the student’s qualifications, including their skills, strengths, goals, and accomplishments.

How do I know I can write a good recommendation letter for a student?

To write a good recommendation letter, you have to have writing skills. Think carefully about saying yes. Make sure you only agree to write the letter if you can write a positive recommendation.

You can always tell the student you are not comfortable with writing the recommendation. If you feel you cannot write the letter, you might also consider pointing the student towards a teacher or administrator who might be a better fit.

Before you write a good recommendation letter, you must also make sure you can focus on the particular school, focusing on the student’s skills that relate to their ability to succeed at that school. Also, be ready to collect information to ensure you provide the correct information and to get a better sense of their interests.

You must also be ready to mention how you know the student. At the beginning of the recommendation letter, explain how you know the student and state how long you’ve known them. If you’re a teacher, state how many courses he or she has taken with you.

If you are an employer, describe the student’s role and their performance with your organization. Ensure you are comfortable about this before accepting to write the recommendation letter.

Recommendation letters in general require that you provide your contact information. You must also be ready to do this, providing a way for the school to contact you in case of any further questions or inquiries.

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Why are recommendation letters important?

There are a lot of reasons why writing a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023 is ideal. Recommendation letters for students have a way of seeing the student as a whole person rather than focusing on pieces of who she is based solely on grades and test scores.

Since they rarely meet the student in person, the recommendation letters, along with the student’s essay, play a huge role in illuminating the intellectual and personal qualities.

This is why recommendation letters for students from teachers carry a lot of weight. It expresses a strong vote of support, as well as highlights a student’s impressive academic and personal strengths, which can have a powerful effect on that student’s chances of admission.

How to write a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023? Step by step guide.

In writing a good recommendation letter, the steps you should take are-

Step 1

Ask for academic information

To write a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023, you must ask for a list of their academic achievements, academic records, and a record of extracurricular activities.

This information will help you tailor the letter to the program or job they’re applying to. Your goal is to be an advocate for your student and help support and highlight their success.

If your student is applying for a job, ask to review their resume so you can better understand their professional or academic background. You can also request the job description to best identify how the student can succeed in the role.

Step 2

Address the recommendation letter accordingly

Your recommendation letter would not even get to the right source if you don’t address it accordingly. You may address the letter to a hiring manager, department head, admissions counselor, or program director.

If your student does not have a specific person to address the letter to, you can also address your recommendation to a company’s human resources department or a college’s admissions office.

If the student you are writing for needs the recommendation letter for different schools or companies, you can keep the address general.

Step 3

Introduce yourself and your qualifications

This introduction should be written at the beginning of the letter, identifying who you are and your relationship with the student. In the introduction, you should also include your job title, the subject you teach, how you are qualified to speak on the student’s behalf.

You could alternatively specify your role as the coordinator of a club or extracurricular activity the student was an active member of, especially if you’ve never had them in class.

Step 4

Highlight the student’s qualifications with instances

For you to accept to write a recommendation letter, you must have had personal experience with the student. You have to be able to positively put these experiences into words, in a way that would convince the reader that the student can contribute to and improve the organization.

The admissions counselor may want to know if a student is likely to join clubs and organizations, be active in their education, and assist their peers.

Consider who is reading your letter of recommendation, and include examples and information about how the student will benefit the university or company.

In illustrating their qualifications and interests, you can do that by drawing experiences from sports, clubs, volunteering, competitions, awards and recognitions, individual or group projects, presentations and public speaking opportunities, leadership roles, such as captain of a team or president of a club, academic excellence, amongst others.

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Step 5

Offer honest praise

When it comes to writing letters of recommendation, offer honest praise. Avoid using negative words. Instead, focus on identifying praiseworthy characteristics, such as a student’s work ethic, intrinsic motivation, and leadership qualities. Before starting the recommendation letter, brainstorm.

Figure out what you want to include in the letter. This would help in making sure you narrow down your thoughts.

Look for ways to highlight how students who faced serious challenges like a learning disability, illness, disruption at home, or loss prevailed. Using a specific narrative about the way a student overcame adversity not only makes the letter memorable but highlights the key attributes of the applicant.

Step 6

Be original

Over the years, admissions officers have read letters about numerous students. They can detect a cookie-cutter submission or duplicate letters that simply substitute student names.

Make your recommendation letter unique by writing about unique experiences with students. Keeping notes and comments throughout the year about an individual’s work overtime helps me to recall specific details for the letter.

Ask students why they want you to write on their behalf. This would help you recall when a major transformation happened.

Step 7

Write clearly

The first rule on how to write a recommendation letter for a student is to write clearly. Spelling and grammar matter. Commit to making your letters professional. If writing is a challenge, ask a colleague or friend to review your letters.

Beyond catching typos, they can alert you if something doesn’t make sense. Avoid overusing adjectives, which can come across as superfluous. Instead, stick to concrete observations that show, rather than tell, a student’s potential.

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Step 8

Conclude your letter

You can end your letter by restating your support of the student’s qualifications and offer to remain available should the reader have more questions about your recommendation and experience with the student.

Consider including a few options for them to contact you, such as a phone number where you can be available and your email address.

This final step can show the company or university that you believe in the student’s abilities and fully endorse them for the program or role, which may influence their decision in selecting the student.

Samples of a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023

Example 1- A letter of recommendation for a student applying to university

“Dear Mrs. Langley,

My name is Jonathan Wesley, and I have had the pleasure of teaching and coaching Rachel Cortez at Summer Park High School. I’m head of the math department and had Rachel in my Calculus 4 class this past year. In addition to her drive for academic excellence, I’ve also coached her on the golf team for the past four years where she embodied the essence of humility and sportsmanship. Therefore, I highly recommend Rachel for acceptance into the Accelerated Business Program at South Vermont University this fall.

Rachel has always demonstrated ambition and maturity on the green and in the classroom. She is genuinely interested in developing her skills and challenging her abilities as well as being a great role model for her peers.

Also, she has impressed me with her calm and calculated attitude. She always shows kindness toward other athletes and keeps a positive attitude during tournaments.

I believe a great athlete is someone who shows positivity even when they lose, and that is exactly how I can describe Rachel. This is why I chose her to be the captain of the Summer Park High Lion’s girl’s golf team.

I believe South Vermont University will benefit from Rachel’s ambitious nature, friendly attitude, and affinity to lead others. These attributes and so much more will make Rachel the right candidate for the Accelerated Business Program at SVU.

I’d be happy to discuss more of Rachel’s accolades in the classroom and on the green. You can reach me by phone at 657-987-0023 or by email at [email protected].

Sincerest regards,

Jonathon Weasley

Calculus Teacher at Summer Park High School”

Example 2: A letter of recommendation for a student applying for a job

“Dear Mr. Benson,

My name is Jennifer Greystone, and I teach Honors English at Miller Heights High School for grades 11 and 12. I have taught and worked in several organizations with Michael Boyle for the past four years at Miller Heights High School. I’m always impressed by his ability to lead and mentor his peers. He exemplifies humility and maturity in the classroom and during extracurricular activities. I therefore highly recommend Michael as your Human Resources Assistant.

Michael led students as the Vice President of the Student Safety Committee to make the MHHS campus safer. He helped the school implement new crosswalks in the student parking lot and drop-off zones after many students and parents voiced their concerns during a community forum. The local news stations covered the story as well and deemed Michael a “kid who truly cares about his peers.”

In addition to his passion to lead, Michael has demonstrated an ability to support his classmates in my Honors English class. During a group project, Michael offered to tutor a classmate who was struggling with the early 20th-century literature we were exploring. He successfully helped that student better understand the symbolism of the content, improving the student’s essays and insights during class discussions.

I highly recommend Michael as your Human Resources Assistant. He is an invaluable resource to this school, and I know he will make an incredible colleague.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss Michael’s character and attributes further. You can reach me by phone at 756-432-1198 or by email at [email protected].


Jennifer Greystone

English Teacher at Miller Heights High School”

Frequently asked questions

What should recommendation letters say?

A recommendation letter must include information on who you are, your connection with the person, and the specific skills of the student you are willing to sell.

How do you start a sentence in a recommendation letter?

A recommendation letter should start with the name of the person being recommended. The statement should normally be one short sentence and should never exceed two sentences.

Must a recommendation letter for a student be written by a teacher?

No. Anyone of professional status who has had direct experience with a student can write a recommendation letter.

How do I ask my teacher for a recommendation letter?

Ask in person, ask in advance and make sure you do not group-ask the teacher.

Can a teacher write a bad letter of recommendation?

Yes. This can be done mostly where the teacher does not like the student in question. They may write a poor letter out of spite. Before asking a teacher for a recommendation letter, make sure it’s a teacher that likes you.


While these letters are about different students with different interests, they all share certain fundamental features. They all seek to portray that the teachers or writers of the recommendation letter are impressed by the students and eager to help them get into college or a different path in life.

If you have been wondering how to write a good recommendation letter for a student in 2023, this serves as a complete guide.



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