High school teachers and administrators are frequently called upon to write letters of recommendation for their students. They may be required for students applying for competitive academic summer programs or internships and are often required for college admissions. Writing a compelling, accurate recommendation letter helps the admission committee get to know the student better and learn how the student is perceived by his instructors and school counselors. Composing a high school recommendation letter is fairly straightforward.

Begin the letter by addressing it to the correct recipient. A letter addressed "Dear State University Admissions Committee" shows that you took more care with the letter than if you just write "To Whom It May Concern."

Provide background information about yourself. You may want to mention how long you have been teaching or working in high school administration and what subjects you teach. Your level of experience may sometimes add more weight to your letter.

State how long, and in what capacity, you have known the student. Include what courses of yours the student took and whether you know him in an extracurricular capacity, such as coaching him on a sports team or advising him in a school club or organization.

Describe the student's academic performance. Mention how the student matches up against her peers and how well prepared and capable you think the student will be for the camp, internship or college to which she is applying. Provide specific examples of papers or research the student has done.

Add extra information about the student. If the student particularly stood out either in class or in the student body, mention how and why. The more specific examples you give the better.

Print the letter on your school or departmental letterhead. Sign and mail the letter to the appropriate address.


Meet with the student before writing the letter to find out where the letter needs to be sent and ask the student for any information about him you may not know.


If you do not feel comfortable writing a letter for a student, suggest she ask another faculty member or counselor.

Related Articles