Sometimes getting a letter of recommendation is too easy.
Who wants a letter that looks just like the other 23 that arrived today?
We prefer original letters by professors who write a personal letter for each student.
I make their letters easy to understand.
*To Whom It May Concern,
As a math teacher who has been working for many years in the Such-and-Such High School, I feel that it is my privilege to write this letter to recommend one of my favorite students, Mr. Zhang Qiang to your undergraduate program to study. As the math teacher of his class, I became acquainted with him since 2013, and he impressed me much with his talent and enthusiasm in math, ability and willingness to help others and leadership reflected in the program. In this sense, he outweighs any other students in my class from the perspective of a math teacher.
As a student whose math scores could achieve top 40 out of 500 students in his grade, Qiang showed me his innate mathematical talent and mind. Besides, he was also such a kind of students who enjoy challenging themselves. He took the AP class on Calculus BC on his own initiative and got a score of 5. He also joined in the school team of mathematics contest through his hard-working and won contest awards the most in his class. In addition, Qiang showed me great enthusiasm and interest in math from time to time, he always wrote down more than three solutions for a single problem in his assignments. He also had the curiosity in the formation and reason of a single math principle. For some laws of limit and series, although they were difficult to understand and were not demanded in test, Qiang would spend several days proving them with his own approach.
Despite his excellent performance in study, Qiang often helped others learn with his strengths in math, and he became an outstanding teaching assistant in my class. Before he took the AP class, he would volunteer to interpret yesterday’s assignments and offered some thinking of college-level problems to his classmates. When he took the AP class, he would help his classmates prepare lessons before class. I can clearly remember that once he tried his best to let 15 students in his class understand the solution and application of average series, which is the most confusing part of calculus.
Qiang’s strong ability in teaching benefited from an extracurricular activity. As a registered volunteer, he had taught little kids in welfare institution math since 2012 and successfully helped two of those kids pass the elementary school entrance examination. In order to make his teaching better and more efficient, he always turned to me for professional pedagogic methodology. Qiang’s interest in mathematics was not just limited in solving difficult problems, but could be reflected in helping others. He was growing from a single student to a pedagogue with patience and benevolence. And such ability is what modern Chinese students’ lack. When he transformed from a single competitor of solving math problems to a kind-hearted teenager, to a helpful man to society, I could clearly see his enthusiasm in math and eagerness to use his strengths in practical effect.
What impressed me most is his spirit of self-sacrifice for collective interests. I remember that Qiang had a fever suddenly in the night just before the Mathematics League Contest; when all of us teachers concerned about his physical condition and felt sorry for the waste of his long-term hard-working preparing this contest, he appeared in the examination room. His action moved me deeply and his performance, a Honor Roll certificate, also earned glory both for our school and himself.
Also, Qiang had outstanding leadership and right-minded researching attitude. Once, I was invited to attend the math seminar of International Space Settlement Design Competition organized by him. On the seminar, there was a flaming argument which impressed me greatly. Someone in the team is responsible for collecting files and data, coping amount of completed research paper during the process of finishing their team’s report. When Qiang noticed this situation, he held a discussion with all team members. Some members think that they can easily get success and won awards with the help of others’ research production. However, Qiang regarded this action as coping, which is immoral and meaningless to attend this competition no matter whether they could be awarded or not. After a long-time dispute, everyone reached a consensus, followed Qiang’s advice, abandoned their primitive paper and tried their best to research on other unexploited field.
I highly recommend Mr. Zhang Qiang to your distinguished university for study and I feel sure he can be an excellent and competitive candidate in your large pool of applicants. He used to amaze his teachers and students around him and make a change in my class and in society so I believe he will do the same or even better in the future.
*When most Americans receive a letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern” they toss it away unread.
- Address your letter to the person who will be reading it.
- Use the person’s exact title – Mr/Mrs/Dr/Professor, etc.
To find these names and titles, study the university’s website or ask your friends at the university.
If you cannot find the person’s name, then at least use a title such as Admissions Committee.
Dear Admissions Committee:
It is my privilege to recommend Mr. Zhang Qiang to your undergraduate program. I met Mr. Zhang in 2013 at the Such-and-Such High School where I have taught math for many years. I am impressed with his math talent, his helpfulness, and his leadership.
Mr. Zhang not only scores among the top 0.1% of students in Beijing, but he enjoys a challenge. He took AP Calculus BC on his own initiative and scored 5. He has earned the most mathematics awards in his class – in part because he writes three or more solutions for each problem and can spend days proving his own approach to laws of limit and series.
Mr. Zhang enjoys solving math problems, as do many good students in China. Yet, unlike most, his interests extend beyond himself to helping others.
Qiang learned helping skills by volunteering as a tutor in the Beijing Children’s Home, often asking my advice on teaching methods. Two of his protégés have passed their math entrance examination.
Qiang is an outstanding teaching assistant. He interprets assignments, explains college-level problems, and helps classmates prepare for their AP class. He once taught 15 calculus students how to apply “average series.” He has grown from a strong math competitor into a kind-hearted teenage teacher and is on his way to becoming a man of practical help to society.
As a leader, Mr. Zhang sacrifices his own interests for the group. For instance, the night before the Mathematics League Contest, he developed a high fever. We teachers felt concern for his safety, yet we wondered how the team would perform without the benefit of his faithful preparation. So the next morning, when he showed up in good health, we were deeply moved. That day he earned not only a certificate for himself, but glory for his school.
As a leader, Qiang also displays a proper concern for ethics. When he organized a math seminar on the International Space Settlement Design Competition, Qiang noticed that some research reports had been copied. He held a discussion: Some thought they could copy others’ work, but Qiang felt copying made the competition meaningless. After a long dispute, the team reached consensus – to follow Qiang’s advice.
I highly recommend Mr. Zhang Qiang to your university. He will prove a competitive and helpful scholar, continuing to amaze his teachers and classmates. I trust you will maintain his development into a positive influence in society.
Mrs. Cheng Xiaomin