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Counselor's Letter of Recommendation for MIT

I am writing a a letter of recommendation as a Counselor to a student who is applying to MIT, this is what i came up with, i really want to write a good letter for this student, thank you in advance for any suggestions.

To whom it may concern:

I feel honored that Antonio asked me to write this letter, an outstanding person who has my strongest recommendation for any undergraduate program he desires to pursue. As his Vice-Principal for two years and School Counselor during the past year, I've been delighted with his academics accomplisments and development as a person who always beautify the lives of those around him.

I have known Antonio in both academic and more casual environments. He is a very hard-working student and I´m impressed by how he managed to attain excellent notes despite all the class time he missed due to his trips to math contests, where he succesfully represented the school at national and even international level. Antonio´s teachers, understanding his special situation, tell me how he rejected the opportunities of not delivering projects because of his absence when he is competing, describing Antonio as a dedicated, focused and responsible student who is always comitted to earn every grade by his classwork and not extracurricular work. His academic commitment is something I had never seen in my entire career as an educator.

Antonio is a unique person whose interpersonal and strong communication skills are worthy of admiration. One day, I invited some local media to interview Antonio in the school, the interview was about Antonio's most recent achievement. Humble and appreciative like always, he talked emphasizing the importance of the support of his teachers, friends, family and particularly the financial assistance the school provided him to afford his trips. This showed me how grateful he is with the people who helped him, but honestly, I am more thankful with him by his contributions to this school. Antonio always wanted a better way to learn math and physics at school; co-working with some of his tecahers, arranging meetings with our school board, and showing his leadership skills throughout the process, a few months ago he made possible the finance and consequently the construcion of our Math and Physics Lab.

He also commented in the interview his desire to pursue a Mathematic Program in College, and I am convinced that his experience on the field combined with your world recognition Science Program would do a perfect match to make a betterment in both your community and Antonio. He is an exceptional,driven and enthusiastic student that this school will remember by his intelectual capacity and devotion for helping others, I have no doubt that he would be a remarkable student in your school as well and enrich the community in his College. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Mr. Ruiz
School Counselor

Dec 12, 2016   #2
Luis, this letter of recommendation will not work towards the benefit of the student. Majority of the information that you are sharing is hearsay from other teachers and his television interview. What you should be doing, is discussing the student on a personal level. On a level that you know him to be. What his actions are, his accomplishments, and his desires for his future education are. All based upon how you know him both as his vice principal and his counselor. It is difficult for the reviewer to believe the claims you are making about Antonio in the letter because you were not there to experience or hear it from him. Therefore, you cannot vouch for the validity of his actions, words, and other accomplishments. Even if you were physically present at the television interview, since you were not the one asking the questions and receiving the answers, that interview would be invalid. You have to speak of the boy based upon your personal talks with him. Try to reframe the television interview into something that you had to convince him to do so you can show his humility or something else. It would be better if you just say that you are attaching a copy of the television interview as part of your recommendation for Antonio. That way the reviewer will have the option to judge the boy's character on his own.

A letter of recommendation is written based upon your personal interaction and knowledge of a student's personality, character, abilities, and actions. Remove the reference to other people (the hearsay parts) and just write about Antonio as the student that you know him to be. Don't base the recommendation upon the way that other people describe him to be when you ask them about Antonio.
Thank you for the analysis, so I think I need to change most parts of my second and third paragraphs?, maybe I did a wrong approach to show the abilities and qualities I believe Antonio has, most of these qualities I mentioned in the opening and last paragraphs. Do you think the first and fourth paragraphs are well developed? I will work on the recommendations you gave me about things I have witnessed and perhaps the claims I do of Antonio in the first and last pargraphs will be more clear.
Dec 13, 2016   #4
Luis, only the first paragraph actually works for the benefit of the student. That is the only part of this essay that is not based on second hand information because it only represents your relevance to the application of Antonio. By the way, it is important that you address Antonio by his full name in the first paragraph. You can address him as Mr. so and so or Antonio in the succeeding parts of the essay. It is just important that you make sure that the reviewer knows who you are talking about in the letter at the beginning.

I am not saying that the information that you have in the current essay cannot be used. What you have to do, to make it useful, is use the first person perspective when discussing Antonio and his accomplishments. Talk about your observations of Antonio as a student. As his school counselor, what kind of interaction did you have with him? What apprehensions might he have had about his academic abilities that you may have helped him overcome? How did he overcome it? How did he react to being directed, guided, or ordered to perform by people in authority?

The aim for your letter, as his vice principal and school counselor is to vouch for the character of Antonio. Was he good student? Did he get into trouble with his classmates? What were his interests that you helped him to pursue? You said he was an appreciative person, so show evidence of this through his interaction with you or your observations of him with his classmates. Those would be better, first hand information that you can share with the reviewer. That information will certainly help the reviewer better consider his application.
You forgot to include appreciable personal interactions between you and the student with interesting anecdotes about his experiences. Also, your use of diction is quite weak.
I have changed the recommendation to more personal interactions I´ve had with Antonio, this is a non-english speaking school in Mexico, so forgive me if my use of english language is not very well developed. I hope despite the writing ability this recommendation make a good portait of Antonio as I see him and show how I believe the qualities Antonio has.
Dec 14, 2016   #7
Hi Luis. This letter most certainly works to the benefit of your student. There are just a few more points for you to improve upon though. Here is a list of the portions that require your attention.

Par. 1 : Mention the full name of Antonio and his year level in your school at the start of the letter. This will formally reintroduce Antonio to the reviewer based upon his position and considerations as a student at your school.

Par. 2: When you say that Antonio is attending one of the most demanding high schools in your state, make sure to mention the high school name before you say "most demanding high school..." That is because the reviewer may not remember where Antonio is attending at the moment and he might want to double check his attendance there.

Par. 3: When you say he made the project a reality, you should clarify that the lab was built thanks to Antonio's leadership. Then expand upon the idea that Antonio is a born leader who knows how to delegate tasks responsibly in order to complete a project.

In your closing signature, you must sign your complete name and contact phone numbers or email address aside from your position at the school. This is because you are allowing the reviewer to contact you for further information, but you are not giving him any contact points in case he wishes to do that. The information is normally placed under your name and position in any formal recommendation letter.

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