Who Should Write a College Letter of Recommendation?

on March 16, 2017

Some colleges and universities ask students for letters of recommendation during the college application process. These letters can convey a student’s character, as well as his or her best attributes.


Here’s a look at authority figures who can craft good letters of recommendation:


A Teacher in a Core Subject


Teachers who taught math, science, English or another language can speak with authority about a student’s academic progress and work ethic. Even if a student didn’t earn a top grade in a class but still performed well, one of these teachers is a great fit for a letter of recommendation. The teacher can explain how a student performs when handed rigorous material — something that is essential to success in college.


An Extracurricular Teacher or Sponsor


Students involved in newspaper, yearbook or a similar activity should ask for a letter of recommendation if they’ve done well. Extracurriculars often require time and dedication outside of the classroom and a teacher or leader can speak about a student’s ability to commit beyond typical classroom instruction. Electives also allow students to take leadership roles and teachers or sponsors can detail that to college admissions officers. 


A Club Sponsor, Organizer or Coach


If a student is heavily involved in a club, activity or sport, asking a sponsor, organizer or coach for a letter of recommendation is perfectly acceptable. These people — especially if they’ve worked with a student for multiple years — can speak to a student’s character, work ethic and ability to stick with something outside of academics. A letter from one of these individuals offers a perspective that a teacher or school official might lack.


An Internship Supervisor


Students who successfully completed an internship while in high school or are in the process of doing one can ask their supervisor for a letter of recommendation. An internship demonstrates that a student is ready to handle a level or responsibility that exceeds most other college applicants and a glowing letter from a supervisor can showcase that a student is ready for the responsibility of college life.

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