Writing Recommendations

By Marc Powellmusic-for-motivation

I was recently asked by one of my high school seniors to write a letter of recommendation for his college application. This was my first time being asked, so it took a bit of asking around and researching how to do this. Here is what I figured out to make it easy:

-Write honestly and constructively – The letter should make it sound the same way you would talk to someone in person. In writing, people tend to use hyperboles and clichés to describe others.

-Only write a positive letter – If you do not feel like you have anything positive and encouraging to write about the student, don’t accept the offer to write a letter. That will only waste your time and the student’s time. Letters of recommendation should not be used to give punitive or sarcastic remarks.

-Think about how much you interact with the student- I was fortunate in this letter that I have been teaching the student for 5 years, and have been his string quartet coach as well as a private instructor. If the student was newer in the studio, I would not feel comfortable since the only capacity I would have seen in just playing in my teaching studio once a week.

-Keep it to the point – Anecdotes can be nice, but they need to be pertinent and as concise as possible. Remember, the counselors who have to read these letters have many others to read as well. You’ll be remembered more for being straightforward and brief.

– Spell check and use proper grammar – There is nothing more unprofessional that a letter with spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure to proofread to show your professionalism.

These letters can be the push to help a student get into their dream school or program. I enjoyed writing this letter, and now have no worries about writing future letters for other students.



Catoctin School of Music

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