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I had the pleasure of teaching Sara in her 11th grade honors English class at Mark

Twain High School. From the first day of class, Sara impressed me with her ability
to be articulate about difficult concepts and texts, her sensitivity to the nuances
within literature, and her passion for reading, writing, and creative expression-
both in and out of the classroom. Sara is a talented literary critic and poet, and she
has my highest recommendation as a student and writer.
Sara is talented at considering the subleties within literature and the purpose
behind authors' works. She produced an extraordinary year-long thesis paper on
creative identity development, in which she compared works from three different
time periods and synthesized cultural and historical perspectives to inform her
analysis. When called upon to give her thesis defense in front of her peers, Sara
spoke clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in
a thoughtful way. Outside of the classroom, Sara is dedicated to her literary
pursuits, especially to poetry. She publishes her poetry in our school's literary
magazine, as well as in online magazines. She is an insightful, sensitive, and deeply
self-aware individual driven to explore art, writing, and a deeper understanding of
the human condition.
Throughout the year Sara was an active participant in our discussions, and she
always supported her peers. Her caring nature and personality allow her to work
well with others in a team setting, as she always respects others' opinions even
when they differ from her own. When we held a class debate about gun laws, Sara
opted to speak for the side opposite her own views. She explained her choice as
motivated by a desire to put herself in other people's shoes, view the issues from
a new perspective, and gain a clearer sense of the issue from all angles. Throughout
the year, Sara demonstrated this openness to and empathy for the opinions,
feelings, and perspectives of others, along with shrewd powers of observation, all
qualities that makes her outstanding as a student of literature and burgeoning
I am certain that Sara is going to continue to do great and creative things in her
future. I highly recommend her for admission to your undergraduate program. She
is talented, caring, intuitive, dedicated, and focused in her pursuits. Sara
consistently seeks out constructive feedback so she can improve her writing skills,
which is a rare and impressive quality in a high school student. Sara is truly a stand-
out individual who will impress everyone she meets. Please feel free to contact me
if you have any questions at
The Break Down
Ms. Scribe has a high opinion of Sara and her skills at writing and literary analysis.
One way that she expresses this is by using powerful and specific language. She
doesn't merely say Sara is a good writer. She says she's articulate about difficult
concepts and sensitive to the nuances within literature. She calls her insightful and
self-aware with shrewd powers of observation.
These descriptors don't happen by accident. Ms. Scribe took the time to choose her
words carefully, and that effort paid off with a strong letter that captures Sara's
special qualities.
Ms. Scribe also supports her characterization of Sara with examples. She describes
her thesis paper and how she responded to questions thoughtfully under the
pressured situation of her thesis defense. She gives the example of the debate on
gun laws to illustrate Sara's openness to many different points of view.
In addition to illuminating her intellectual and personal strengths and supporting
them with specific examples, Ms. Scribe speaks to Sara's goals for the future. She
points out that she is talented at writing, poetry specifically, and that she is
committed to continuing to improve as a writer in her future.
This letter, by virtue of its wording, length, and specificity, shows that Ms. Scribe
took the time and effort to recommend Sara thoughtfully and with conviction. The
fact that she knows Sara well and is committed to helping her application succeed
with a thoughtful letter further adds weight to her assessment.
This letter would be a boon to Sara's application, especially if she's applying to study
writing or English. She clearly impressed her English teacher and, in return, got a
memorable, complimentary letter of recommendation for her college application.

It is a great pleasure to recommend Stacy for admission to your engineering

program. She is one of the most exceptional students I have encountered in my 15
years of teaching. I taught Stacy in my 11th grade honors physics class and advised
her in Robotics Club. I am not surprised to find out she is now ranked at the top of
an extraordinarily capable class of seniors. She has a keen interest in and talent for
physics, math, and scientific inquiry. Her advanced skills and passion for the subject
make her an ideal fit for your rigorous engineering program.
Stacy is a perceptive, sharp, quick individual with a high aptitude for math and
science. She is driven to understand how things work, whether they be the old
computer hard drives in the school library or the forces that hold our universe
together. Her final project in class was especially impressive, an investigation of
frequency-dependent sound absorption, an idea that she said was sparked by not
wanting to bother her parents with her hours of guitar practice at home. She's been
a strong leader in Robotics Club, eager to share her knowledge with others and
learn new skills. I have the students in the club prepare lessons and take turns
leading our after-school meetings. When it was Stacy's turn, she showed up
prepared with a fascinating lecture on lunar nautics and fun activities that got
everyone moving and talking. She was our only student teacher to be met with
much deserved applause at the end of her lesson.
Stacy's personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments.
She's an active, outgoing presence in class with a great sense of humor. Stacy's the
perfect person to get a group project rolling, but she also knows how to sit back
and let others take the lead. Her cheerful nature and openness to feedback means
she's always learning and growing as a learner, an impressive strength that will
continue to serve her well in college and beyond. Stacy is just the kind of driven,
engaging, and curious student that helped make our classroom a lively
environment and safe place to take intellectual risks.
Stacy has my highest recommendation for admission to your engineering program.
She has demonstrated excellence in all that she puts her mind to, whether it's
designing an experiment, collaborating with others, or teaching herself to play
classical and electrical guitar. Stacy's endless curiosity, combined with her
willingness to take risks, leads me to believe there will be no limit to her growth
and achievements in college and beyond. Please don't hesitate to contact me at if you have any questions.
The Break Down
Ms. Randall plugs for Stacy right off the bat with a statement of outstanding
ranking: Stacy is one of the most exceptional students she's had in 15 years of
teaching. A statement like this is pretty extraordinary and will make an impact in
the mind of its readers. Stacy sounds like a special student, and she chose her
recommender well.
Like in the last example, this letter uses strong, specific language, calling Stacy a
perceptive and sharp person who has the confidence and good humor to take
intellectual risks. Through its accurate and expressive language, this letter helps
Stacy come to life in the mind of the reader.
Beyond the evaluation, Ms. Randall gives specific examples of Stacy's academic and
personal strengths. She talks about her successful teaching in Robotics Club, her
leadership in group projects, and her dedicated practice to teaching herself to play
the guitar.
Rather than spreading the letter too thin, Ms. Randall highlights a few core themes.
She connects Stacy's love of music with her passion for physics by talking about the
frequency-dependent sound absorption project. All the threads tie together in a
nice, memorable bow.
This letter is a strong vote of support for Stacy's application to an engineering
program. Her physics teacher admires Stacy's skills and goals, and she made it clear
that Stacy had her highest recommendation in this letter.

It is hard to overstate the meaningful contributions that William has made to our
school and surrounding community. As both his 10th and 11th grade History
teacher, I've had the pleasure of seeing William make profound contributions both
in and out of the classroom. His school and community service is motivated by a
strong sense of social justice, which he informs through a nuanced and
sophisticated understanding of historical trends and events. I can say with
confidence that William is one of the most caring and driven students I've ever
taught in my fifteen years at the school.
As a child of immigrant parents, William is especially drawn to understand the
immigrant experience. He produced an extraordinary semester-long research
paper on the treatment of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. during WWII, in which
he went beyond all expectations to conduct Skype interviews with relatives of his
featured subjects to incorporate into his paper. William has a great capacity to
draw connections between past and present and to ground his understanding of
current issues in the context of historical events. He never retreats to a simple
answer or explanation, but is comfortable dealing with ambiguity. William's
fascination with U.S. and World History and skill for deep analysis have him an
exemplary scholar, as a well as a motivated activist driven to promote civil rights
and work towards social equity.
In sophomore year, William noticed that the college planning seminars students
attended included little information for first generation or immigrant students.
Always thinking about how institutions can better serve people, William spoke with
counselors and ESL teachers about his ideas to better support all students. He
helped collect resources and design a college planning curriculum for immigrant
and undocumented students to enhance their college access. He further helped
organize a group that connected ESL students with native English speakers, stating
his mission to be helping ELLs improve their English and increasing multicultural
awareness and social cohesion at the school as a whole. William identified a need
and worked with students and faculty alike to meet it in an extremely effective and
beneficial way. Ever the history scholar, he did plenty of research to back up his
William believes passionately in social progress and working for the common good.
His own personal experiences, along with his profound grasp on social history, drive
his advocacy work. He is a talented, intelligent student with the charisma,
confidence, strong values, and respect for others to make a huge difference in the
world around him. I'm looking forward to seeing all the good that William continues
to do for his fellow humanity in college and beyond, as well as the excellent work
that he will produce at the college level. William has my highest recommendation.
If you have any questions, please contact me at
The Break Down
Like Ms. Randall did in her letter, Mr. Jackson provides a statement of outstanding
ranking for William, calling him one of the most caring and driven students he's
ever taught. Considering his long teaching career of 15 years, this says a lot about
William as a student and a person.
Also like in the last example, Mr. Jackson focuses on a few core aspects of William's
character. He talks about his love of history and how it informs his social activism.
He comments on his exceptional historical scholarship, as well as his personal
qualities of caring for those around him and working for the social good.
Mr. Jackson also gives insight into William's personal life, explaining how he has a
personal connection to his projects and volunteer work as the child of immigrant
parents. This letter reveals that William is a thoughtful, motivated individual who
connects his own experiences with his learning and desire to contribute to his
This letter gives specific examples, of William's research paper and his work
supporting the academic and personal needs of ELL students, to demonstrate his
exceptional accomplishments. Mr. Jackson expresses his enthusiastic
recommendation while illuminating William's love of learning and strength of
character. This letter would be both impressive and memorable to admissions
officers considering William for admission to their school.

It is my pleasure to recommend Joe, who I taught in my 11th grade math class. Joe
demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout the year and brought a
great energy to class. He has that combination of a positive attitude and the belief
that he can always improve that's rare in a high school student, but so essential to
the learning process. I am confident that he will continue to display the same
commitment and diligence in everything he does. I highly recommend Joe for
admission to your school.
Joe would not describe himself as a math person. He's told me on several occasions
that all the numbers and variables make his mind go fuzzy. Joe did, in fact, struggle
to comprehend the material at the beginning of the year, but his response to this
is what really struck me. Where so many others have given up, Joe took on this
class as a welcome challenge. He stayed after school for extra help, got extra
tutoring at the nearby college, and asked questions in and out of class. Due to all
his hard work, Joe not only raised his grades, but he also inspired some of his
classmates to stay after for extra help, as well. Joe truly demonstrated a growth
mindset, and he inspired his peers to adopt that valuable perspective, too. Joe
helped contribute to our classroom environment as one where all students can feel
supported and able to ask questions.
Joe's strong belief in his ability to acquire new skills and improve through practice
was likely shaped by his years as a baseball player. He's played all through high
school and is one of the team's most valuable players. In his final for our class, Joe
designed an impressive project calculating and analyzing batting averages. While
he initially described himself as not a math person, Joe reaped the benefits of his
tremendous effort and found a way to make the subject come alive for him in a
way that he was personally invested in. As a teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to
witness a student make this kind of academic and personal progress.
Joe is a trustworthy, reliable, good-humored student and friend who supports
others in and out of the classroom. He was a pleasure to have in class, and his
positive attitude and belief in himself, even in the face of difficulty, is an immensely
admirable asset. I'm confident that he will continue to demonstrate the same
diligence, perseverance, and optimism that he showed myself and his peers. I
highly recommend Joe for admission to your undergraduate program. Please feel
free to contact me with any further questions at
The Break Down
Mr. Wiles writes a strong letter for Joe, with the same kind of enthusiasm and
specific examples as the other three letters. Even though Joe may not have gotten
the strongest grades in his math class, he found an enthusiastic recommender in
his math teacher. Mr. Wiles was extremely impressed with Joe's attitude, effort,
and growth mindset, which he demonstrated throughout the year and inspired in
his fellow classmates.
Mr. Wiles focuses on Joe's substantial personal strengths, ones that would likely be
impressive to his future educators. Even in a subject that may not come naturally
to him, Joe is diligent and committed. He's not self-conscious about asking
questions or seeking extra help, and he retains a strong belief in himself that he can
continuously learn, improve, and acquire new skills.
This letter, like the others, is effective because it is focused, supportive, and backed
up with examples. As you can tell from these examples, recommendations can
communicate a great deal about a student. Because of this, they can have a
powerful impact on a student's chances of admission. So what can teachers and
students do to make sure they are sending a strong recommendation letter that
will help their chances?

Recommendation Email Example for an Internship

Subject: Recommendation for Ellen Smyles
To Whom it May Concern:
It is my understanding that Ellen Smyles is applying for an internship with your
organization, working with children in your therapeutic riding program. I have
known Ellen for over ten years and have had the opportunity to work with her in
many capacities. Ellen was a riding student of mine in elementary through high
school, during which time she grew from a beginner herself to helping teach the
basics of horse care and equitation to newer students.
As well as a teaching facility, we also breed a few horses and ponies each year, and
Ellen was always very involved in working with the youngsters. She helped to
provide ground training and grooming to our weanlings, as well as helping with
saddle training and schooling green horses.
In addition to helping with the horses, Ellen has also been a fantastic babysitter to
my three rambunctious children. I have absolute confidence in her maturity, and
ability to make the right decisions to keep children and animals safe and happy.
Ellen is a bright, honest, sensible young woman, and I'm sure she would be an asset
to your summer program.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or email.

To Whom it May Concern:

It is my honor to recommend John Doe for matriculation into the Graduate program
at Rochester Institute. I have had the pleasure to know and work with John for the
last six years. He first worked with me as an intern in the software development
organization at XYZ in Syracuse, NY.
Following his graduation from Rochester Institute, I was fortunate enough to keep
track of his career so that when the opportunity arose, I was able to recruit him to
his current position at ABCD. The characteristics of John that attracted my attention
then and led me to hire him out of Company B last year, make it easy for me to give
him an unqualified endorsement for graduate study.
John brings to all of his activities energy, enthusiasm, and commitment. This is to
be expected in any successful member of an entrepreneurial organization, and in
this regard, John fits in well. Be it in the parsing of intricate algorithms in a billing
system, the crafting of an object hierarchy, or the establishment of best practices
with an emerging technology, John consistently delivers high-quality software for
our organization. This speaks to his overall intellect and ability to learn, attributes
that will serve him well in his graduate study.
While John is a relatively junior member of our organization as measured by tenure,
he quickly established himself as a go-to person in the product domains in which
he has worked. He has been ever-willing to work with members of our organization
to share his knowledge and expertise, most notably as a presenter for
presentations on product functions.
He has a deep-rooted spirit of helpfulness that coupled with his quick grasp of
subject matter speaks well to his potential as a teaching assistant or instructor.
What I find most engaging in John's character are his wide-ranging interests outside
of software. Two of his abiding interests are game theory and economics. He can
be quickly engaged in an in-depth discussion, for instance, of the rationale behind
EZ-Pass, the lack of rationality of the financial markets, or the optimal approach for
making a few quid on the super-bowl. John's broad range of interests speaks well
to his potential as a researcher, both in bringing a wide range of theory to the
research at hand, as well as carrying forward new hypotheses of interest to
John Doe is a valued member of our organization whom we have learned we can
rely on, regardless of the difficulty of the task to hand or the novelty of the
challenge. His combination of intelligence, commitment, perseverance, creativity,
and compassionate character will certainly make him a valuable member of any
academic program.
I encourage you to look favorably upon his application.

Dear [Name of Employer or Graduate School Committee]:

I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for [name of student]. I highly
recommend [name of student] to your organization for the position of [job title].
I have known [name of student] for the past [number of months, semesters, years]
as [he/she] 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. [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].
It is my pleasure to recommend Jane Doe for admission to [name of program]
at [name of university]. I am a fifth-year Ph.D. student at the University of
California, Berkeley. I came to know Jane when I was her Graduate Student
Instructor for Philosophy 111: Ethical Relativism, taught by Professor John
Smith. The course comprised [short description of course]. Jane
distinguished herself by submitting an exceptionally well researched and
interesting project on ethical practices in ancient Greece. I would rank her in
the top 2% of students that I have taught in the past five years in respect of
her writing ability and research skills. Overall, Jane is highly intelligent and
has good analytical skills. Her project on ethical practices in ancient Greece
demonstrated her ability to come a detailed understanding of the ethical
practices of another, very different, culture, and to analyze the
consequences of those practices for contemporary ethical theories. She
gave a particularly interesting discussion of the difficult practice of infanticide,
and showed both sensitivity and detachment when discussing its ethical
consequences. Her overall intelligence is also reflected in her grades for the
course, which were by far the best in the class. Jane has excellent
communication skills. Her written work is both clear and concise, as well as
interesting to read. She demonstrated her oral articulateness in the
discussion sections that were an integral part of the course. Each discussion
section focused on a particular ethical dilemma. Students were required
analyze morally problematic situations, and to develop and argue for their
own ethical views with regard to the issue in question. Jane was highly
proficient in applying the course material in analyzing the problem situations.
She always explained her views very concisely and gave supporting
arguments that were both clear and persuasive. Jane also demonstrated
good teamwork skills in group assignments. At a personal level, Jane is a
well disciplined, industrious student with a pleasant personality. She went
well beyond the course requirements in the quantity and quality of her
project, putting in a lot of extra research and attending office hours every
week. Throughout the course, Jane demonstrated great perseverance and
initiative. Not only was she interested in and motivated to learn the material,
but she also put great work into assimilating it to her own experience and
developing her own ideas about each ethical topic that we discussed. Jane
is unquestionably an exceptional candidate for graduate study in Ethics.
Janes work in Philosophy 111 suggests that she would greatly benefit from
the opportunities for intellectual development provided by a sustained period
of graduate study. She has proven herself to have the perseverance,
initiative, and intellectual creativity necessary to complete an advanced
graduate degree. I would therefore highly recommend Jane Doe. If her
performance in my class is a good indication of how she would perform as a
graduate student, she would be an extremely positive asset to your program.
If I can be of any further assistance, or provide you with any further
information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sample Letter from a Non-faculty Member*
Through my campus work with the American Red Cross, I have known John
Lerner for approximately six months. He introduced himself to me as the co-
founder of a new business, Sword of the Round Table (SRT). He spent a
great deal of time with me when we first met, explaining the ways in which
this group could be of service to the American Red Cross. Our first project
together involved SRTs promotion of Red Cross Services in exchange for
our promotion of a textbook delivery service, after which we expanded into
numerous other areas. Though I was initially skeptical of the ways in which
we could work together, John successfully helped me overcome my
concerns, and worked hard to establish a relationship of trust and
commitment. Sword of the Round Table works to facilitate mutually beneficial
relationships between businesses and not-for-profits. With the help of SRT,
the American Red Cross has increased its exposure in the community,
yielding greater participation in our programs. With Johns help, the
American Red Cross has been able to promote its services through the
Mythic University Student Book Store, a highly visible business with a large
student clientele.
John was instrumental in the following initiatives developed with the
cooperation of the manager of the
Student Book Store:
(1) permanent window space to advertise Red Cross programs,
(2) periodic Red Cross information tables outside the store,
(3) blood schedules to be dispensed with customer purchases,
(4) the establishment of the first Business Partnership Award, designed to
other business/not-for-profit partnerships in our community.
Another example of Johns creativity was the development of a poster-sized
Semester-at-a-Glance calendar for Mythic University students to purchase.
This calendar will promote Red Cross services, listing campus bloodmobiles,
along with other important student-based events. Part of the proceeds from
this calendar will directly benefit the American Red Cross. John is a valuable
student leader, delegating with authority and competence. In addition to his
assistance as a co-founder of SRT, he has been of tremendous value to my
program as a resident assistant. He voluntarily made presentations on the
importance of donating blood to other resident assistants, as well as to the
residence hall council of which he is a member. Johns role as a persuasive
and informative disseminator of information is a valuable one. It will certainly
translate into the enrollment of new blood donors into our system. He has
also shared information about donating blood to dozens of fraternities and
sororities at Mythic University. John is a tireless volunteer and leader, and
has demonstrated great sensitivity to organizational needs, as well as
creativity in solving problems. He is perceptive, emphatic, and committed to
every task he takes on. In my six years of work with the American Red Cross,
I have never encountered a more capable or hard-working student volunteer.
John will be a committed and creative public servant, and I recommend him
highly indeed.

General Internship Recommendation

I am writing in enthusiastic support of Janet Lerner for an internship. I have
known Janet since she was a student in my course in Synoptic and Dynamic
Meteorology last fall. Janet distinguished herself in my course by receiving
the highest grade in the class. But this accomplishment only scratches the
surface of her ability and character. Janet is the type of person who loves
learning. Shes one of those rare people who works very hard and diligently,
but does so with a smile on her face. She constantly strives for excellence in
meteorology, but Janet does not let her thirst for knowledge rule her life. She
is a scientific humanist, with a genuine caring for others. It should come as
no surprise that Janet is well-liked and admired by her peers. Janets
knowledge of the intricacies of how the atmosphere works was unrivaled in
my course, allowing her to easily win a competitive class forecasting contest.
Janet is also a leader, holding a position in the Campus Weather Service, a
student-run organization that provides weather information to radio stations
across five states. I know first-hand that Janet performs with aplomb in
challenging situations. I was in the Weather Station one day while Janet was
conducting a tour for parents and their young daughters. The president of
Mythic University happened to be in the groupan intimidating presence to
most undergraduatesbut Janet handled herself with a polished confidence,
attending to audience questions about meteorology in a clear, friendly,
unaffected manner. In short, Janets high caliber of character and keen
meteorological expertise set her well above
others at her level of education. I warmly recommend her for an internship.

Research Internship Recommendation

I am writing in support of Mr. John Lerners application to participate in the
NNUN Research Experiences for Undergraduates program this summer. Mr.
Lerner is a student in Materials Science and Engineering at Mythic
University. He is pursuing a joint BS/MS degree in our Integrated
Undergraduate/Graduate program in Materials Science and Engineering. He
possesses a perfect 4.0 GPA, and has shown significant aptitude in
performing research in my group. He is planning to use this research for his
dissertation. Among his accomplishments, last year Mr. Lerner was the sole
recipient of our departments research fellowships for first-year students, and
has selected a project in my group concerning the role of tin doping on the
structure, surface chemistry, and nano-indentation behavior of soda lime
silica glass. He began working alongside my graduate students in the fall
term, and has been actively engaged in glass batching, melting, fining, and
surface preparation for subsequent analyses. He is continuing this research
this semester, focusing on examining the leaching and hydration behavior of
the doped glasses. This work will lead to an examination of the role of tin on
hydrated layer formation and alteration of the surface elastic properties as
measured by nano-indentation techniques. In addition to his academic and
research performance, Mr. Lerner also interacts well with his colleagues. He
is an articulate, polite, informed, and motivated young man. He participates
well in my bi-weekly research group meetings, is always well prepared for
our one-on-one meetings on his research progress, and has an excellent
vision of where he would like to go, academically, over the next few years. I
think he would be an excellent REU candidate, and I enthusiastically endorse
his application.

Recommendation by a Graduate Student

I am writing on behalf of Ms. Janet Lerner, an undergraduate with whom I
have been acquainted for four years as her graduate student lab supervisor.
A biochemistry major, Janet has dedicated much of her time outside of the
classroom to research directed by our mentor Dr. John Teacher. Janets
efforts have been fruitful: she has contributed data to at least one manuscript
and has delivered several successful poster presentations. Over the years,
I have had the pleasure of watching this young woman blossom into a
focused, selfassured scholar who aspires to a career combining both clinical
and basic research. Although Janet struggled to see her own potential earlier
in her college career, encouragement from her advisor as well as her
labmates, coupled with her own growing desire to succeed, transformed this
once tentative student into an important contributor to the lab. Even as a
senior graduate student, I have benefited from Janets presence in the lab.
She has excellent lab hands, and she is, in fact, responsible for teaching me
some of the main staples of molecular biology, which have become essential
to my work. Furthermore, Janets mastery of quantitative RT-PCR, in
particular, has made her an invaluable resource for undergraduate and
graduate students alike. An undergraduate who has earned my implicit trust
and respect, Janet would surely be an asset to any laboratory. Janets talents
and motivations are not limited strictly to the lab, however. She is a young
person who cares deeply about the social implications of science and who
has demonstrated this conviction through several substantial internships.
Working closing with a well-known local TV health correspondent, one of
Janets internships involved producing news stories that pertained to health-
related topics. Another internship focused on health education locally. Her
efforts culminated in an HIV/AIDS prevention program designed for
teenagers at risk for infection in the local area. These few examples embody
the depth of Janets commitment to science, which for her begins at the
bench top, but has important implications at the bedside. Without hesitation,
I recommend Ms. Janet Lerner unequivocally for the Research in Science
and Engineering summer program.
Recommendation for a Specific Non-research Position
In my opinion, I have never before written a recommendation letter where
the candidate and the opportunity were such a perfect fit. I have known Janet
Lerner for two years now, since she took my introductory course in dinosaurs
during her sophomore year. In my long teaching career, I have never met an
undergraduate student with such a genuine and focused interest in
paleontology, and such a clear aptitude for it. I will demonstrate this by
speaking to Janets ability as a communicator, her specific interest in
dinosaur paleontology, and her maturity and integrity. Janet informs me that
you are seeking a skilled communicator to give tours of your animatronic
displays. Even during her sophomore year, Janet was a skilled
communicator on the subject of dinosaur paleontology. In my class, for which
she received an A, Janet wrote two compositions: one on the roots of the
discovery and the characteristics of Deinonychus; one evaluating the
defensive capabilities of Euoplocephalus. Janet proved herself not only
exceptionally articulate and schooled on the subject at hand, but she also
showed herself capable of wielding an argumentmoving from premise to
conclusion based on relevant evidence. Janet also did all this with style and
flair. I cite excerpts from her papers: Previously seen as cold-blooded, pea-
brained lizards . . . and The toe muscles acted as a spring mechanism to
flick the claw around towards the back of the foot. For me, such articulations
underscore both Janets authentic fascination with dinosaurs and her ability
to communicate that excitement and knowledge to others. As an academic
advisor to the dormitory where Janet lives, I frequently witness her
interactions with others and know first-hand of her community service. Last
year, Janet was the elected vice-president in the dormitory, and in this role
she was responsible for numerous functions, including faculty/student
lunches and a recruiting phoneathon. Janet is well-respected in the
dormitorya popular figure known for her honesty, calm, and kindness. I
have seen her handle delicate situations with discretion, and she handles
herself in all situations with poise. Finally, Janet has strong convictions
tempered by good judgment and reason; she has firm spiritual roots and an
active, diverse, social life; she is loyal, committed, and clear-sighted. It is a
rare treat to encounter a student as impressive as Janet Lerner, and if you
give her the opportunity I am sure you will find her equally impressive. Please
do give her your most thoughtful consideration.

It is with great pleasure that I am writing this letter of recommendation for

Susie Student. In the past four years, I have taught Susie in a number of
visual arts courses in all of which she has excelled. Based on my experience
with Susie, I can say without the shadow of a doubt that she is one of the
most naturally talented and hardworking art students with whom I have had
the opportunity to work. She is exceptionally well prepared to move onto the
collegiate level, and it is clear to me that she has a very bright future in the
creative arts.
Susie is very mature for her age and she approaches her art with an astute
sense of objectivity. She processes constructive criticism well and is always
willing to go the extra mile in order to take her work to the highest level of
formal and conceptual refinement. Susie has a very methodical creative
process; she develops her concepts thoughtfully, creates interesting
exploratory sketches, and builds meticulous scale models before she
commits herself, with confidence, to the fabrication process. Once Susie
begins fabrication, she works with precision and purpose. Her skills of
craftsmanship are highly developed and she has an incredibly astute
attention to detail. In addition, I have been impressed by Susies ability to
couple her attention to detail with a broader stylistic focus that allows her to
consider how effectively her compositions function as a whole. Therein,
Susie creates sculptures that are cohesive in form and eloquent in their
communication of sophisticated concepts. All in all, Susie is an incredibly
well rounded art student who has found a way to balance all of the aspects
of the creative process with apparent ease.
Aside from Susies natural artistic ability, it is important to touch on her work
ethic and her presence in the classroom setting. Susie never settles for
second best and she utilizes class time in a productive and determined
manner. She arrives to class early and works late when the need arises. Due
to this approach, Susie quickly became a role model for her peers in all of
my classes. Students observed Susies commitment to the creative process
and they strived to excel as she did. Though Susie is very talented, she is a
humble young woman who never lets her abilities go to her head. She thrives
off of the entire creative process both the successes and the challenges.
Most importantly, Susie is always willing to help her classmates as they
create. She offers both technical and conceptual support to her peers in a
kind and caring manner that speaks to Susies patience and her
understanding of the importance of collaborative learning.
In looking ahead to Susies college years, I am certain that she is ready to
tackle the rigorous and challenging curriculum of the collegiate level. Susie
will not take the path of least resistance, rather, she will push herself to
continue to grow and develop as a creative thinker. She will immerse herself
in her new community and she will share her energy, enthusiasm,
commitment and talent with her peers and her professors. Susie Student is
an exceptional candidate and it is with the utmost confidence that I
recommend her to your college or university. Please do not hesitate to
contact me if you have any further questions.