Career Planning Finding a Job Academic Reference Letter and Request Examples By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Facebook Twitter Website Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years. learn about our editorial policies Updated on July 20, 2022 In This Article View All In This Article What is an Academic Recommendation Who to Ask for a Recommendation Academic Recommendation Request General Academic Recommendation Sample Academic Recommendation Photo: Maddy Price / The Balance An academic letter of recommendation is a specific type of reference letter. Often, it's written by a high school teacher, vocational instructor, counselor, or college professor for a student or recent graduate. These letters are frequently required when people apply to college or for scholarships, special college programs, internships, training programs, or fellowships. Academic recommendations may also be requested as part of a job application, especially for an internship or entry-level position. They can be particularly powerful when a position is aligned with the applicant's academic experience. Note Students may use academic recommendations from their high school teachers, instructors, or college professors to make up for a lack of work experience, and to attest to their educational achievements. What's in an Academic Recommendation Letter? An academic reference letter is typically one to two pages in length. It highlights a student's academic history, character, and academic or career goals. The letter expands upon a student's report card or transcript, providing insight into how the applicant behaved as a student and is likely to perform as an employee. Note If you are a student who needs an academic recommendation letter, it's important to ask a teacher whom you are confident will write what you want the hiring company or academic institution to hear. Recommendation letters may be requested in sealed envelopes with the signature of the letter’s author over the seal. This is done to ensure the reference is authentic and accurately portrays the candidate. Another option is to have the recommender send the reference directly or complete an online recommendation form. That means you may not have an opportunity to read what your recommender wrote about you. The letter is more likely to be positive and support your application if you have a good relationship with the recommender. Note Check before you use someone for a reference. Ask them if they would be willing to provide you with a reference to help ensure that the recommendations you get are positive. Who to Ask for a Recommendation In addition to teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, supervisors, and others who can attest to your academic achievements may also write academic letters of recommendation for students. You can ask for letters of recommendation before you graduate. This way, you have some letters ready to go and can attach them to your resume or application right away. Letters written ahead of time will need to be more general, so they can work for more than one application. On a similar note, when you ask your teachers for references at the end of your time at school, request formal and informal copies of your transcript from the registrar's office. You will be pleased to have these in a folder waiting for you when you apply for your first job. Sample Academic Recommendation Request This is a sample letter a student can email or mail to a former teacher asking for a reference letter. You can download the recommendation letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples. Download the Word Template General Academic Recommendation Request from Student to Teacher (Text Version) Sue Wright123 Main StreetAnytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.orgMay 19, 2021Lisa LeeProfessor Childhood EducationAcme University123 Business StreetBusiness City, NY 54321Dear Professor Lee, As I prepare for my journey into the workforce after graduation, I am hoping to gather a general letter of recommendation from you that I can use for future teaching position applications. As my elementary education advisor, mentor, and professor, I believe a reference from you would provide a potential employer with insight into my character and teaching abilities, ensuring them I would be an ideal candidate for the early childhood education position they are looking to fill. If you need any additional information, please contact me via email or phone. If you would kindly provide me with four signed copies of the letter in sealed envelopes with your signature across the seal, I would much appreciate it.Thank you for your consideration and support.Sincerely,Signature (hard copy letter)Sue Wright Sample General Academic Recommendation for a Student This general academic reference letter can be drafted by a teacher for a student to keep in their academic portfolio for future use. General Academic Recommendation for a Student (Text Version) Laurie Gallo123 Main StreetAnytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555 email@example.comMay 19, 2021Lisa LeeOperations ManagerSunshine Hospital123 Business StreetBusiness City, NY 54321To Whom It May Concern,I am writing this reference for Mary Miller, a student I was fortunate to work with during her senior year at Newton College. As both Mary’s academic advisor and professor of Children's Literature, I have watched her grow into a passionate and knowledgeable teacher.A natural in the classroom, Mary has worked with students in both inclusive classrooms as well as individually, focusing on their special needs in reading and writing. Mary is a patient and compassionate teacher and is the ideal candidate for your special education graduate program. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions you may have regarding Mary at 555-123-2345 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely,Signature (hard copy letter)Laurie GalloEducation Department ChairNewton College Sample Academic Recommendation for a Student Here is a sample academic reference letter from a teacher. Academic Recommendation for a Student (Text Version) Susan Samuels123 Main StreetAnytown, CA 12345555-555-5555 email@example.comMay 19, 2021Franklin LeeDepartment Chair CommunicationsAcme University123 Business StreetBusiness City, NY 54321Dear Ms. Jones:I am writing this reference at the request of Katie Kingston, who is applying for the Summer Communications Program at Acme University.I have known Katie for two years in my capacity as a teacher at Smithtown Middle School. Katie took English and Spanish from me and earned superior grades in those classes. Based on Katie's grades, attendance, and class participation, I'd rate Katie's academic performance in my class as superior.In conclusion, I would highly recommend Katie Kingston for this academic program. If her performance in my class is any indication of how she will succeed, Katie will be a positive addition to the program. If you should need any additional information, you can feel free to contact me at 555-555-5555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.Sincerely,Signature (hard copy letter)Susan SamuelsTeacherSmithtown Middle School Key Takeaways Academic references are often required to apply to college or for scholarships, educational programs, internships, training programs, or fellowships.An academic reference letter highlights a student's academic achievements, character, and academic or career goals.Teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, supervisors, and others who can attest to a candidate's educational accomplishments typically provide academic references. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. CareerOneStop. "References."