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Writing Recommendation Letters for Participants

Faculty advisers are encouraged to write individual letters of recommendation for students based on their participation in the High School Fed Challenge.

Here are some tips from Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University:

  • Tell the student how strong a letter you feel you can honestly write for them; give them a chance to ask someone else if you cannot write a strong letter.
  • Use a letterhead that matches your relationship with student.
  • Explain how long, how well and under what circumstances you have come to know the student. Why are you qualified to comment on him or her?
  • Give the recipients of the letter information about the aspects of student performance THEY care about; try to put yourself in their shoes. Include those special features that will interest them.
  • Address aspects of the student's performance you know first-hand. Eyewitness accounts are more convincing than hearsay.
  • Support your generalizations with SPECIFIC details or anecdotes; help the reader to imagine the student as you describe them. A purely general description is not useful.
  • End the letter with a summary paragraph recapping your main points; if possible, compare the student with others you have known.
  • Ask the student to let you know what happens to their application (you made the effort, you deserve some feedback).

If you would like to include some specific information about the Fed Challenge, you can attach the description located in the “How To Guide”, or borrow some of the language to use in your letter.

We wish you and your students the best of luck!