wikiHow to Address College Recommendation Letters

Most college and university applications have a uniform application system for prospective students. It is important to address college recommendation letters within a format consistent with the application. Being asked to write a letter of recommendation is an important honor. Make sure to help the person who is being recommended to get accepted to the school of their choice by paying attention to the how the letter is addressed.


  1. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 1
    Write a return address. Place the return address at the top of the paper, flush with the left margins. If the recommender is a teacher, the address of the high school should be included. If the recommendation letter is coming from a personal reference, the home address is fine. If the letter is being written on letterhead, a return address is not necessary.
  2. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 2
    Date the letter. Leave 2 or 3 spaces between the return address and the date. Write the date using the month, day and year, with a comma separating the day and the year.
  3. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 3
    Put the name and address of the college on the top left part of the page. Writing a college recommendation letter is like writing any business correspondence. It should be formal and professional. Include a name, a title or a department so the letter, once mailed, will get to the right person's attention.
  4. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 4
    Use a name in the salutation, if one is provided. Many colleges do not have a specific name the recommendation letter should address. However, if there is a name, address him or her professionally. Write Dear Mr. or Dear Ms. followed by the individual's last name.
    • If a name is not provided, address the college recommendation letter to the admissions team at the school, since they will likely be the people reading the letter. Write Dear Admissions Committee, Dear Director of Admissions, or Dear Admissions Department.
  5. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 5
    Use correct punctuation after the salutation. Once the individual or department has been addressed, use a colon before moving to the next paragraph.
  6. Image titled Address College Recommendation Letters Step 6
    Write the body of the letter. After addressing the college recommendation letter, write the letter in support of the individual applying to college.


  • Remember not to assume the gender of the person reading the letter. "Dear Sir" is a generic salutation that has been used in the past to address letters when the name of the individual receiving the letter was not known. College applications are received and read by men and women, so "Dear Sir" should not be used.
  • Make sure the margins are consistent, and the spacing is even. The beginning of each line should be flush to the left margin, and 2 or 3 spaces should separate the return address, date, college address, and salutation.
  • Before writing and printing a letter on regular paper, check to see if there is a specific form that must be used. Some college applications require recommendation letters to be submitted on a provided page.

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Categories: Applying for Tertiary Education