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Writing recommendation letters for students?

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Hello everyone,


    I tried to search LOR in this forum but it was mostly about asking professors to write them for us. Has anyone had experience in which students asked them for a reference letter? What was it for? How did you do it? 

     Currently, I am planning to write one for a high school student who wants to go to a college I attended. I served as this student's instructor for a course and was very impressed with the student's caliber, and believe that I can write a strong letter. That said, I am only a 2014 graduate of that college. Does being a relatively young graduate of that college matter at all? Should I include that I'm a PhD candidate as well, or just that I served as her instructor for a course? Thanks! 



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Yes. Many times. I warn the student that my word has less weight and that they would be better off asking someone else, but if they persist I still write letters for them.

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Posted (edited)

I should also say, I have some criteria before I accept such a responsibility:

  • Must have had me for a class I was instructor of record
  • Must have been in top 5% of the class.
  • Must have talked with me outside of class.

If a student hasn't met all these, I cannot write a good letter for them.

In my ideal world, I would modify the criteria to be:

  • Must have had me for two semester-long interactions (classes typically, but if we're on the same project for whatever reason that works too)
  • Must have earned over grade 95% in class, or top 3 students
  • Must have talked with me during office hours about their plans and such, not just course material.
Edited by Duns Eith

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