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High School Student Reference Letter Samples

FREE 6+ Sample Scholarship Letter Templates in MS Word PDF

Reference letters are a crucial part of the college application process. They provide an outside perspective on a student’s achievements, work ethic, and character. High school students often need reference letters from teachers, coaches, mentors, and other adults who know them well. However, it can be challenging to know what to include in a reference letter and how to format it properly. In this article, we will provide you with some high school student reference letter samples to help you get started.

1. Introduction

Begin the letter by introducing yourself and your relationship to the student. Explain how long you have known the student and in what capacity. This will give the reader some context and help them understand where you are coming from.

2. Academic achievements

Discuss the student’s academic achievements, such as their GPA, class rank, and any honors or awards they have received. Be specific and provide examples of their accomplishments, such as a high score on a challenging test or a research project they completed.


John has consistently maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his high school career, placing him in the top 5% of his class. He excels in challenging courses such as AP Calculus and Physics, earning high marks and demonstrating a deep understanding of the material.

3. Work ethic and character

Discuss the student’s work ethic and character, including their attitude towards learning, their ability to work collaboratively with others, and their dedication to their extracurricular activities. Provide specific examples of instances where the student demonstrated these qualities.


Jane is an extremely hardworking and dedicated student who always strives to do her best. She consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of her and is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it. In addition to her academic achievements, she is also a talented athlete and musician, demonstrating her commitment to her passions both in and out of the classroom.

4. Leadership qualities

If the student has demonstrated leadership qualities, be sure to highlight them in the reference letter. This could include serving as a team captain, leading a club or organization, or taking on a leadership role in a community service project.


Tom has shown exceptional leadership skills throughout his high school career. As the captain of the football team, he led by example and inspired his teammates to give their all on the field. He also founded a community service club at his school, organizing various fundraisers and events that benefited local charities.

5. Conclusion

End the letter by summarizing your thoughts on the student and reiterating your recommendation. Provide your contact information in case the reader has any further questions or needs additional information.


What should I include in a reference letter for a high school student?

A reference letter for a high school student should include information about the student’s academic achievements, work ethic, character, and leadership qualities. Be specific and provide examples of instances where the student demonstrated these qualities.

Who should I ask to write a reference letter for a high school student?

You should ask teachers, coaches, mentors, or other adults who know the student well and can speak to their abilities and character.

How should I format a reference letter for a high school student?

A reference letter should be formatted like a formal business letter. Include your contact information and the date at the top, followed by the recipient’s information and a formal greeting. Use a professional tone throughout the letter and end with a formal closing and your signature.

How long should a reference letter for a high school student be?

A reference letter should be no longer than one page. Be concise and to the point, focusing on the most important information about the student.

What should I do if I don’t feel comfortable writing a reference letter for a high school student?

If you don’t feel comfortable writing a reference letter for a high school student, it’s best to be honest and decline the request. Recommend that the student find someone who is better suited to write the letter and wish them the best of luck.

Sarah Thompson is a career development expert with a passion for helping individuals achieve their professional goals. With over a decade of experience in the field, Sarah specializes in providing practical advice and guidance on job search strategies, cover letters, resumes, and interview techniques. She believes in empowering job seekers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the competitive job market successfully.

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