The United States Military Academy at West Point is the college to attend if you are looking for a sterling career in the Army. Only 4,400 cadets attend West Point and graduates enter the Army as second lieutenants. Competition for admission is fierce and recommendation letters can make or break your application. Writing an effective letter of recommendation to West Point requires precision and patience.
Accept the responsibility for writing a recommendation letter only if you are certain yours will shine with luster. Jot down important aspects of the candidate's character that you admire. Write a few notes about how the candidate impresses you. Gather a page of substantial thoughts before moving onto the first draft.
Type a first draft. Double space the first draft and compose the letter in standard Times New Roman font. Begin the letter explaining how the candidate first appealed to you. Identify clear ways he has demonstrated leadership, strength and honor. Conclude the letter with an unconditional recommendation, such as: "the candidate is the finest student I have ever met" or "I absolutely recommend the candidate for admission," etc.
Note any specific qualifications that will appeal to the West Point admissions board in the body of the letter. Highlight, for example, that the candidate scored perfectly on the Cadet Fitness Test and/or scored between 1680 and 1970 on his SATs. Mention any connections to former West Point cadets or accolades from elected officials.
Print off the first draft. Edit the first draft with a pen with a different color ink than the printer ink. Read the letter through two or three times to ensure proper syntax, grammar and punctuation. Return to the computer and revise the document.
Complete a final draft. Add thoughts or feelings you feel appropriate to improve the letter. Include your contact information -- mailing address, phone number, email address -- beneath your printed name at the bottom of the page. Print off the final draft and sign it. Confirm with the candidate about word or page limits before presenting him with the actual letter.
Politely refuse to write a letter if your recommendation is anything less than stellar and absolute.
Jeffery Keilholtz began writing in 2002. He has worked professionally in the humanities and social sciences and is an expert in dramatic arts and professional politics. Keilholtz is published in publications such as Raw Story and Z-Magazine, and also pens political commentary under a pseudonym, Maryann Mann. He holds a dual Associate of Arts in psychology and sociology from Frederick Community College.