Graduate school applications are standardized, meaning that they all contain the same basic parts: standardized test scores, admissions essays, transcripts, and, perhaps most overwhelming to students, recommendation letters.
Letters of recommendation - three words that often stress both students and faculty. Why are grad school recommendations so overwhelming? Because students often feel that they have no control over their content - and they often wonder who to ask. Requesting recommendation letter is daunting, but most students don't consider the challenge that professors face in writing letters of recommendation. So what does it take to write a letter of recommendation? A good, helpful letter of recommendation discusses the student in detail and provides evidence to support statements. Unfortunately there are many ways to write a bad recommendation.
Each student is different. Each application is different. There is no universal letter of recommendation. Every situation is different and certainly you will write different letters for all of your students. Samples, however, help. Letter writers (and students) may find these sample letters of recommendation helpful:
Sample Grad School Recommendation Letter from a Professor
This example is written by a professor.
An Effective Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School
An explanation of what goes into an effective recommendation letter coupled a brief letter.
A Poor Recommendation Letter
An example of what not to do when writing a recommendation letter as well as an explanation of why it is inappropriate.
Sample Recommendation Letter from an Employer
Frequently graduate applicants request recommendation letters from current employers. Here's an example of what you might write if you are in the position of writing on behalf of an employee.
Sample Recommendation Letter by a Professor
An example of a basic letter written by an instructor.
Another Prof's Grad School Recommendation Letter
Sample recommendation letter illustrating what might be included in a letter of recommendation.