Letters of support are an important part of a student’s college application process.They demonstrate the credibility of the applicant, their credentials, and reasons why the applicant is the best fit for the school. These letters help students stand out from the crowd and helps admissions officers get to know them on a more personal level.
When someone asks you to write a letter of support, though, where do you start? We’re here to help.The outline below contains a few tips on how to write the best letter of support possible.
Who are you? Why are you writing a letter of support? For who? These are a few questions you should answer early in the introduction. Clearly state your intent in the first few sentences—emphasize your personal relationship with the applicant and your own connection to the student. This helps you build credibility early in the letter and shows that your recommendation should be taken seriously—you know the applicant, you know the subject matter at hand, and you know why this person would be a good fit. Convey that right away.
Be clear and concise with your wording. Here are some examples of sentences that you could include in the introduction:
Intent: “I am writing to show my support for [name] to be accepted into [NAME OF COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY].”
“I believe [Name]’s would be a great fit at your school and am writing to express my full support.”
“I have worked closely with [Name] for X number of years and feel confident expressing my full support for his/her acceptance.”
Background: “I have been [Name’s] teacher for a number of years. [Details about what subjects you taught the applicant and how he or she excelled in the classroom].”
The body of the letter of support answers why this student is a good fit. What was it like having this student in class? What made him or her stand out? What is his or her work ethic like?
The letter of support ideally closes the gap between you and the admissions officer. The letter should specifically address how this student will have a positive impact in college.
“In class, [Name] has demonstrated he/she has a great work ethic, a desire to better himself/herself, and is eager to learn. This lines up directly with the mission of your school.”
The ending of the letter of support summarizes again why your student should be accepted into this college or university and offers any final endorsements.
A typical, well-written letter will should be one or two pages in length. It should not be longer than two pages except in special circumstances. (Ask the student if there are any specific requirements included in each particular school’s application.)
Here are a few examples for the conclusion:
“I fully believe [Name] would be a great addition to your campus.”
“I eagerly anticipate [Name’s] acceptance into your college or university.”
Letters of support often make a difference for applicants, no matter what school they are applying to—so while you could use the examples above as a guide, be sure to make the letter as personal as possible. And be honored! By asking you, your student clearly respects your opinion and wants you to vouch on their behalf.