Writing a letter of recommendation for a middle school student can be a challenge because most adolescents do not yet boast a long list of impressive accomplishments. Adults must consider the student's natural strengths and communicate those skills that the intended audience would find most desirable. Rely on examples of observed behavior to substantiate your endorsement of the student as a qualified candidate for admission to an organization.
Brainstorm the letter by listing the talents of the student you have witnessed and give an example of each skill in action. Order them by their relevance to the intended audience.
Open a new word processing document. Type your name and address. Skip one line and type the date. Press the "Enter" key four times and type the organization's name and address. Leave one line of space before beginning the letter.
Address the letter to the intended recipient. Use "To Whom It May Concern" only if you do not have the name of an individual at the organization. In the opening paragraph, introduce yourself. Explain how long you have known the student and your relationship. Provide any personal and professional qualities you feel are relevant to the organization or support your credibility in providing an accurate assessment of the child's behavior and performance.
Describe the student's talents and abilities in the second paragraph. Provide examples of your observations in these areas and explain how these personal strengths make the child a valuable asset for the organization. For example, if the middle school student is applying to join a student government, the admission officers would most likely be impressed by candidates with strong leadership skills, experience in conflict negotiation and creative problem-solving skills. Be sure to include three to five distinct talents.
Promote the student in the final paragraph by using phrases that include "fully endorse" or "recommend without reservation." Encourage the organization to contact you for further questions about the student's qualifications and experience. Be sure to include your e-mail address and phone number. Hit the "Enter" key twice and conclude the letter "Respectfully" or "Sincerely."
Print the letter and sign your name. Deliver it to the student or organization in a sealed envelope.
Keep letters to one single-sided page. The second paragraph can be divided into an additional paragraph if it is longer than six sentences.
Do not agree to write a reference letter for a student you could not recommend in good conscience. Never lie to make your qualifications or those of the student sound more impressive in the letter.
Adelaide Tresor has been a technical writer and book editor since 2006. Her work has been published by Thomson Reuters and Greenhaven Press, including several "At Issue" titles. Tresor holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and is also a certified teacher with experience in English, mathematics, chemistry, and environmental science. She currently teaches AP Physics.