This Letter of Recommendation Got Me Into Yale!

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Below is a letter of recommendation for which I am extremely grateful.  Dr. Carol Nash was my history teacher for two years in high school (including AP History), and boy could she write a letter of recommendation!Letter of Recommendation for College Sample

What do you see works in this letter?  What would you improve?  Here it is:

Dear Admissions Committee:

When Brenda Bernstein tackles a question, the result is a definitive work!  Brenda was in my tenth grade Global Studies class and, on my recommendation, my eleventh year 1985-86 Advanced Placement American History-Economics class.  She ranks among my most outstanding students.  It may be premature to speak of a definitive work; nevertheless, I am certain that she will be working on the frontiers of knowledge.

The students in the global Studies class were expected to find four articles on the French Revolution in different types of sources.  Brenda’s impressive search bore all the marks of an outstanding scholar.  For example, she located a particularly unusual primary source.  The result was an outstanding paper which represented a truly significant contribution to my understanding of the women’s rights movement in the French Revolution.  Brenda also most effectively communicated the information to the class during the class discussions.  For her paper on the socio-economic basis of Hitler’s rise to power, Brenda drew her material from sophisticated journals.  In the AP class, Brenda did a really exhaustive paper on Quaker anti-slavery sentiment.  The paper was full of solid information and creative and intelligent comments.  For example, she suggested that the Quaker community served as a support network for individuals who deviated from the rest of the establishment.  Brenda wrote all her papers with style and imagination, and she demonstrated complete mastery of the basic research techniques.

Brenda’s insightful treatment of the material was evident on her tests.  For example, analyzing how the new American nation inherited England’s problems, she observed that the decentralization of the Articles of Confederation created many problems just as the want of decentralization had done for England before.  This link shows her ability to compare, contrast, and synthesize.  The rest of the essay demonstrated her mastery of the historical literature.  Just as she wrote integrated and creative papers, Brenda wrote an excellent document based essay drawing comfortably from the documents and her outside information.  Brenda’s analytic essays comparing historians like G. Wood and C. Kenyon were exactly on target.  When she was asked to find evidence to support historical interpretations, Brenda demonstrated her superior capacity to interpret data.

Brenda is a petite young lady with an enormous mind and unusual intellectual maturity.  This is matched by her rich personality.

Carol S. Nash, Ph. D.

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5 Responses to “This Letter of Recommendation Got Me Into Yale!”

  1. I can see why this letter was successful – it bears all the hallmarks of a recommendation written well.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your teacher! Kudos to you Brenda for publishing her letter of recommendation. Where would any of us be without those special teachers who cultivated the very best in us??

  3. Ivan Bayross says:

    Hi Brenda,

    What an amazing recommendation.

    When I read through it, I was reminded of my teacher Mrs. Mabel Anrade.

    She taught me English, without her grace, patience and guidance my English would have been terrible.

    Just as I was truly blessed because of her, you appear to be truly blessed in Dr. Carol Nash.

    She, put her heart into her recommendation and Yale opened its doors.

  4. Cool! I’m glad to have a fellow Bronx Science alum reading my blog! I’ve wanted to find Dr. Nash or find out what happened to her. Do you know anything?

  5. Scott says:

    Well played Ms. Bernstein. I hope that you use this personal example when you talk to schools and candidates, its comprehensive and tell us a little insight into you at younger age. My Dr. Nash was named Mr. D. Bell, a wonderful, encouraging English teacher that pushed me to take challenging lit courses, introduced me to a friend of a lifetime and had me hanging out in the English department offices, which was like back stage at The Met. He was a man of all season that also played a role in many other lives including my school’s first Girls Nation representative, Tracy Sutherland in many years who later had a successful hollywood executive career. His appreciation of F. Scott Fitzgerald will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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