How to Write a Recommendation Letter to Committee Members

Graduate committees read letters of recommendation carefully.
Graduate committees read letters of recommendation carefully. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

When a student considers graduate school, she submits a variety of documents to the graduate committee at the college where she is applying. She will submit an application, a letter of intent, a sample of her work, transcripts and test scores. The crowning pieces of her application file are her letters of recommendation. The graduate committee will pay close attention to these letters because they are a testament to the student's character as well as her work ethic.

Begin the letter by typing the date. Skip a space, and type the name of the graduate committee, the department name, the university's name and the department's address on separate lines.

Type "Dear Graduate Committee" followed by a colon. Another alternative is to call and ask for the name of the head of the committee and address the letter to her.

Identify the student and the program that she is applying to in the first paragraph. Explain how you know the student and for how long you have known her.

Discuss the student's work, especially the significant strengths she has as a student in her field. Give specific examples of projects she has worked on that show her ability.

Provide an assessment for the student's potential as a graduate student.The main things the committee wants to know is if she can produce the caliber of work that is appropriate for a graduate student in her field and whether she has the drive and determination to finish.

Give an overall recommendation for the committee. Provide your telephone number and e-mail address in case the committee would like more information.

Close the letter by typing "Sincerely," and skip three line spaces. Type your name. Print the letter on your department letterhead, and sign your name above the typed name.

Make a copy of the letter for your records and mail the original.

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