What a boring place the world would be if all letters looked the same! Nonetheless, there are some features that make letters for major awards more persuasive…
- Start with how you know the nominee, since when, and in what context
- Give your own qualifications as a context for your comments
- Get to know the award for which the professor, instructor, or teaching assistant is being nominated — address whatever criteria you honestly can address
- Provide specifics: not just your favourite teacher ever, but the specific ways in which he/she (for example) helped you grasp a concept, choose a major, succeed in a career, teach others something, overcome test anxiety, become aware of your own skills, and so forth.
- Explain with examples how you are different for having had this teacher. What did you take away from the course BECAUSE of his or her teaching style and/or methods? This might involve concepts, but it might also involve values, approaches, or attitudes!