Advice for Recommenders

The deadline for letters of recommendation is Friday, February 26 at 11:59 PM PST.

Thank you so much for agreeing to write a recommendation letter to support a student interested in our programme, the Canada SROP! You were asked for this letter because you have played an important role in this student’s life as a mentor, supervisor, professor, religious leader, or other important community member. We want to take a moment to thank you for that.

We are hoping to learn these things about the student from your letter of recommendation:

  • Your experience with the student and their character
  • Your thoughts on their aptitude for academics or research and any relevant skills you know they have
  • What you know of the student’s goals and aspirations
  • Why you want to support this student’s application to the Canada SROP

If you do not feel able to speak to one or more of the points above, do not worry! Ultimately, we want to know your perspective on and experience with the student. We want to know what moves you to support their application. However you want to share that information with us will be appreciated!

Example Structure for the Letter

One approach to writing a strong letter would be to write one paragraph in response to each of the four points listed above. You could make the first sentence of every paragraph be an assertion of your main response to each point, and then the remaining sentences in each paragraph could tell a story that provides an example of that assertion.

For some reason, there is a convention that the first sentence of most recommendation letters states your recommendation with something like “It is my pleasure to recommend [student’s full name] to [programme]” (e.g., It is my pleasure to recommend Norman Bear to the Canada Summer Research Opportunities Programme), and the last sentence of most recommendation letters reasserts this recommendation with something like, “For all these reasons, I give [student’s full name] my [[no qualifier]/strong/strongest possible] recommendation to [programme]” (e.g., For all these reasons, I give Norman Bear my strong recommendation to the Canada SROP.).

Published by pagegould

Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould's preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. You are welcome to call her "Liz." She is the current website administrator for the Canada SROP and Quant-TIDE. Liz is an abolitionist, friend, wife, mother, activist, mentor, and colleague. She is also the Canada Research Chair in Social Psychophysiology, an Associate Professor of Psychology, and the Chair of the Graduate Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto.

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