In addition to the work that flows naturally from a course–things like preparing, organizing the class, meeting with students, and grading–teaching also almost invariably involves an unrelated kind of work: writing letters of recommendation. On the one hand, these often come in bunches at very specific times (for graduate schools, for jobs, for education programs, for scholarships, etc.), and so, in the moment, can feel a bit overwhelming. And sometimes, it can be a little surprising who asks you for a letter.
On the other hand, writing letters of recommendation can be very fulfilling, as you look back over a student’s work, and reflect on the fact that they trust you to help them to further their goals.
Keeping that latter perspective uppermost in mind, perhaps, here are three resources for writing letters of recommendations:
- A new one today, via Shelley Krause on Twitter, is a “Brain Jogging List for Recommendation Writers.” It’s a big list of descriptors that might help you remember exactly what quality it is that makes the student stand out. (Of course, it could also make a daunting recommendation Mad Lib!)
- Last year on ProfHacker, Brian gleaned from our readers“Five Principles for Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation.”
- Finally, George’s guidelines for students requesting letters of recommendation (which he borrowed, in turn, from Matt Kirschenbaum) can help you keep the process organized.
Do you have favorite resources for writing letters of recommendation? Let us know in comments!Return to Top