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The letter should address the following questions:

Intellectual characteristics: How do you rate the applicant in overall

intelligence? How well does the applicant learn and retain information? What
is your assessment of the applicant's skill in analysis and logic? What is the
applicant's ability to deal with complex or abstract matters? Does the
applicant show evidence of creativity? Has the applicant's academic record
been affected by special circumstances such as work, social or academic

Knowledge of field of study: What is the applicant's depth and breadth of

knowledge in the field? Does he/she know how to use the methods in the field
of study or have the experience in research? Where applicable, does the
applicant have the requisite laboratory techniques?

Ability to communicate: Is the applicant an effective writer? Does the written

work submitted demonstrate a mastery of the convention of English? Is the
written material clear, well-organised and forceful? Is the applicant articulate
in oral expression?

Industry and self-discipline: To what extent is the applicant persistent,

efficient and motivated? Is the applicant able to work independently? Is there
any reason to doubt the applicant's commitment to graduate study or
diligence as a student?

Personal effectiveness: Does the applicant possess the qualities of maturity

and personal adjustment requisite for graduate study? Would you choose the
applicant for graduate study under your tutelage? Does the applicant enjoy
the trust and respect of fellow students and peers?

Potential for graduate study: What is your prediction of the applicant's

probable performance in graduate school? Does he/she have any specialized
skill or studies in the field? Does the applicant have an aptitude for the chosen
field? How does this applicant rate with other candidates who have been



Identify the individual for whom you are writing the recommendation.
State the length of time you have known the individual.
State the capacity in which you know the individual. Briefly include any
information necessary to explain this relationship, or its depth, to the
State your overall opinion of this individual, ideally in as short as one
sentence. Examples might be "I hold in the highest regard", "This
student is very promising," "I am pleased to recommend."

Describe your detailed interaction with the individual. Examples are

specific projects, papers, events, or other experiences through which
you came to know the individual.

Express your evaluation of the individual based on those experiences.

Include specific likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, energy

level and motivation, areas of talent and challenge, and any unusual
contributing factors.

If appropriate, describe how academic skills would relate to business

skills. This section is generally both detailed and descriptive, and often
will be several paragraphs in length.

Overall, do you recommend this individual? If so, to what extent?

If interested, offer to be contacted in case additional questions arise as
to the qualifications of the candidate. (In this case, be sure to include
your contact information in the letter.)
When Asked for a Letter of Recommendation

Ask for a copy of the individual's resume.

Request a list of information that is not typically on a resume - activities
outside school, relevant classes, specific paper topics or projects.
Inquire as to why the letter of recommendation is necessary? The more
detailed reasoning, the better - for example, a specific graduate school
program or a college-level teaching position.
Ask for a detailed list of the different ways in which you have interacted,
starting with the first time you met - class, office hours, organizations,
personal interaction.
Ask for specific information that would set the individual apart from
others in his/her field awards, relevant travels, studying abroad,
volunteering, and any other distinguishing factors.
Do not hesitate in asking for any information that would make the
process easier for you.

Recommendation Letter - High

Robert S. Smith
38 New Jersey Avenue
Washington, DC 20007
May 1, 2000
To Whom It May Concern:
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Timothy
Jones. I first met Timothy two years ago, at which time he was a student in my
Calculus III class during his Junior year at Georgetown University. I hold him

in the highest regard both personally and academically.

Timothy demonstrates the exceptional intellectual ability required to
understand and apply the various mathematical concepts presented in
Calculus. He unquestionably derives considerable pleasure and satisfaction
from the challenge of solving complex Calculus problems. This fact is certainly
supported by his involvement in a variety of inter-school math competitions,
where he notably achieved a high score among his classmates. Timothy
visited my office frequently for further explanation of topics discussed in class
in an effort to truly understand the material. He was very eager to volunteer
during class, and was always open to correction of his mistakes. Outside of
the classroom, Timothy was president of the Math Club on campus, and then
spent two evenings a week tutoring inner-city children with their math
In the two years that I have interacted with Timothy, both inside and outside
the classroom, I have found him to be a polite, responsible, sincere, and an
all-around respectable young man. Timothy's self-motivation and keen desire
to learn are to be commended in this day and age when, to many, a good
grade is the only matter of importance.
It was my great pleasure to have Timothy as a student. Overall, he is a very
motivated and bright student, and I certainly believe that he has talent and
drive to achieve success in future scholastic endeavors. I strongly recommend
Timothy into your institution of higher learning.
Very truly yours,
Robert S. Smith
Professor of Mathematics
Recommendation Letter - Medium
June S. Johnson
38 New York Avenue
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 555-8049
November 1, 1999
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a letter of recommendation for Kim Sanders, a Senior at Missoula
University, Missoula, MT. Kim was a student in my Introduction to Literature
class during her Freshmen year, and is presently a student in my
Shakespearean literature class. It is with pleasure that I offer you this letter of
recommendation on her behalf.
In both classes, Kim's comprehension of a broad range of authors' writing

styles has been evident. Her eager participation in class reveals her passion
for literature. Her most recent paper involved a detailed analysis of Romeo
and Juliet, into which she obviously put great effort. In general, her writing
assignments have reflected a truly creative and imaginative mind, and they
reflect her unique talents.
Kim is a very exuberant student who can produce great work when her energy
is focused. She is always very eager to volunteer during class, and to share
her views. Kim works well in group situations, where she is able to use her
verbal talent to convince others of the correctness of her vision. In the four
years I have interacted with Kim, I have found her to be an energetic and allaround respectable young woman.
It has been my pleasure to have Kim as a student in both classes. I
recommend Kim Sanders into your institution of higher learning.
June S. Johnson
Professor of Literature
Recommendation Letter - Low
Smith Computers, Inc.
142 Dakota Avenue
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 555-7109
July 1, 1999
To Whom It May Concern:
Sandy Jameson was employed by Smith Computers as a Technical Assistant
from January 4, 1998 to July 15, 1999. Her responsibilities included the
upkeep and maintenance of the company's servers, troubleshooting
mainframes, and upgrading office computers. During her employment, Sandy
was of little asset to this company.
Sandy completed many projects during her employment with us. While the
majority of her assignments were completed on time, she tended to
procrastinate her work until completion was absolutely necessary. She was
very rigid in her methods, and proved to be closed-minded when listening to
supervisors suggestions. Sandy's work resonates her lack of desire to be
successful at Smith Computers, Inc., and her close-mindedness prevents her
from becoming a better employee with our company.
Sandy's intelligence could gain her great success in the computer industry,
however, her close-minded approach to fellow employees' and supervisors'
suggestions prevents her from gaining increased responsibilities at Smith

Computers. While her intelligence is attractive, her work ethic is sub-par.

Therefore, I am hesitant to recommend Sandy into any position where her
reliability is necessary, and where teamwork is integral.
Richard J. Smith
Technical Supervisor