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Four Incredible College Recommendation Letter Samples To Help Your Child Get Into College & Win Scholarships

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4 Incredible College Recommendation Letter Samples To Help Your Child Get Into College & Win Scholarships

Did you know that you can’t rely on your GPA and test scores alone to secure your place at a great school? While these are important aspects of your application, they don’t tell your whole story as a student. 

According to data collected by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), 40% of colleges reported that counselor and teacher recommendations are significant to the final admissions decision. This means that, if you want to create a well-rounded application that guarantees your chances of acceptance, you’ll have to submit good letters of recommendation.

As the founder and CEO of Prep Expert, I have had the honor of helping more than 100,000 students attain a spot in top colleges and earn thousands of dollars in scholarships. In this guide, I will teach you how to make sure your letters of recommendation are as strong as they can be through both tips and sample letters. Let’s get started!

Why Recommendations Matter

While it is important to have a high GPA and great test scores, your teacher recommendation letters might just make the difference between whether or not you get into your dream school.

Colleges and universities want to see that their applicants are well-rounded, passionate, and determined. Thousands upon thousands of students can earn a 4.0 GPA, but far fewer students are able to do so while also demonstrating strong leadership skills, advanced critical thinking skills, and impeccable character.

Schools rely on recommendations from teachers to gain a more holistic view of their applicants, allowing them to see which students have what it takes to thrive on their campus and contribute to the institution. In short, recommendations help you stand out. They showcase your personality and the way you interact in an academic setting.

How to Get Good Letters of Recommendation

If you want to get into your dream school, you’re going to need letters of recommendation that highlight your strengths. The last thing you want is a generic letter that makes it sound like you were just another face in a sea of hundreds of students within a teacher’s classroom.

Let’s go over a few tips you can use to make sure your letters of recommendation are strong and personal.

1. Ask Teachers Who Know You Well

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s important to consider. You probably have a lot of teachers and educators who have made a difference in your life. However, you can’t ask all of them to write you a recommendation. Most colleges will ask for only 2 or 3 recommendations, so you have to narrow down your choices to the teachers who know you the best.

Think about how long each person has known you and how much you have interacted with them. It may be helpful to choose teachers who have also worked with you outside the classroom in a club or volunteer setting because they may have a better understanding of your personality.

2. Ask in Advance

Your teachers are busy! Make sure you give them enough time to write a well-thought-out recommendation letter. Not only is it impolite to ask them the day before a deadline, but it will also require them to rush through writing it, meaning it might not be as strong as it could be. Provide at least 2 weeks notice before the deadline, if not more.

3. Be Polite in Your Request

Approach your teachers politely when you ask them to write a recommendation for you. It’s important to let them know what the recommendation is for so they can write as effectively as possible. However, try to avoid telling them exactly what you want them to say. It’s better to let them come up with their own evaluation of you and your strengths.

4. Provide Relevant Information

Some schools require recommenders to answer a specific prompt or submit their recommendation in a certain way. Be sure to give your teachers all the information they need to submit the recommendation correctly and on time. It may also help to provide your resume or personal statement that they can use as a reference while writing.

If your school asks that you mail in your letters of recommendation rather than submitting them electronically, include a stamped and addressed envelope for each teacher as well.

5. Don’t Forget a Thank You Note

Your teachers write letters of recommendation for you out of kindness, so remember to thank them for helping you. A hand-written thank you note is an excellent gesture of appreciation. If you aren’t sure what to write in your note, you can include an update about the outcome of your application and the role your teacher played in your success. Most teachers will be happy and excited to receive a follow-up.

Sample Letters of Recommendation

Here are 4 college recommendation letter samples that will help you learn what type of letter boosts your chances of admission.


Dear Admissions Committee,

My name is Mr. Smith, and I have had the honor of teaching John in AP Literature and Composition at High School X, during which I noticed his impeccable character, discipline, and leadership. John is a self-motivated student who always went above and beyond in my class. It is a pleasure to recommend him.

John has an insatiable desire to learn, and he demonstrated this throughout his year in my class. His questions were insightful and eloquent, and he produced work that was far above that of the average student. John’s writing and research skills are phenomenal. For his final project, he produced a truly remarkable essay analyzing cultural identity in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. John’s academic strengths are unparalleled, and I know he will be an asset to your institution.

John’s character is also impressive. He acts with generosity and compassion, and he is well respected by his peers and teachers alike. John is a natural leader, and he was such a joy to have in class.

As a learner and a leader, John is beyond exemplary. He has my strongest recommendation. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.


Mr. Smith

English Teacher

High School X


Dear Admissions Committee,

It is with great pleasure that I recommend Jill for admission to your institution. Jill is one of the strongest students I have taught in my 22 years of teaching, and I am beyond impressed by her academic performance and her leadership skills. Jill was in my AP Literature and Composition class, and I had the honor of coaching her on the High School X debate team. I am happy to recommend her, and I know that she will be a great addition to your university.

As captain of the debate team, Jill has spent countless hours conducting research and analyzing sources to prepare for our competitions. Her hard work and dedication led to her winning first place at the Iowa State Tournament this year. Jill not only has a strong aptitude for learning and debate, but she is also a strong leader. I watched her go beyond what is required of her to take students under her wing and help them become better debaters throughout our season. She is an incredible captain that understands the importance of leading by example and serving others. I firmly believe that both her personal and academic strengths will contribute greatly to your school.

Jill is an exceptional student, and she has my strongest recommendation. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.


Mr. Smith

English Teacher

Debate Coach

High School X


Dear Admissions Committee,

It has been a pleasure to have Jason in my English classes over the past four years. Jason is an exceptional student, and I have long been impressed by both his academic and interpersonal skills. Throughout the years that I have known Jason, his natural curiosity and desire for learning, his maturity and leadership, and his desire to serve his community have been remarkable. He has my strongest recommendation for admittance into your institution.

In my AP Literature and Composition class, Jason wrote some of the most insightful papers I have read in my 12 years of teaching. I was blown away by his analytical skills and his ability to make connections between different texts. His paper on Toni Morrison’s Sula, was one of the most incredible pieces of student work that I have ever had the joy to read.

Jason’s personal strengths are also strong. He treats his peers and teachers with respect, and he is one of the most compassionate and gracious students I have had in class. Jason is a strong applicant, and I know he will be the perfect addition to your university.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.


Mr. Smith

English Teacher

High School X


Dear admissions committee,

Teaching AP Physics at High School X is rewarding because of students like Abigail. I have had the joy of watching Abigail’s critical thinking skills and passion for science grow over the past four years in my AP Physics class and as captain of the High School X Robotics team. Abigail is one of the brightest and hardest working students I have had in all of my years of teaching, and it is truly an honor to recommend her for admission to your institution.

Abigail takes her position as captain of the Robotics team very seriously. I have seen her go above and beyond what is required of her to make new members feel welcome and ensure our team is prepared to do well during our competitions. I have never met a student with her level of dedication and passion for sciences, and I know she will be a strong addition to your school’s engineering program.

In addition to her academic strengths, Abigail also has strong leadership skills. She always takes initiative, tackles challenges head on, and serves as a role model for the other students on the team. I know her work ethic and leadership abilities will make a positive impact at your institution.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Mr. Smith

Physics Teacher

Robotics Team Coach

High School X

Why These Letters Work

Notice the structure of these 4 college recommendation letter samples. Not only do they highlight each student’s strengths, but they also provide specific examples of the qualifications that back up those strengths. Specificity is important in recommendation letters because it shows that the recommender does know the student well and, thus, is qualified to recommend them. Their recommendation becomes both more trustworthy and more personal as a result.

So, when you request a letter of recommendation from your educators, remember to choose a teacher who knows you well enough to write an insightful, detailed letter about you. That letter might just be the final push that helps you secure a spot at your top school.

For more information about improving your chances of admission, I recommend booking a free appointment with Prep Expert’s college admissions consulting team. Every year, I work with our team of experts to help 96% of Prep Expert students gain admission to at least one of their top-3 choice colleges and win millions of dollars in merit scholarships. Sign up today to receive guidance for applications and holistic college planning for all students in grades 7 through 12.

Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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