This weekend I get to fulfill one of my favorite teaching duties which is also a privilege: writing a letter of recommendation for a former student.

The student who has contacted me is applying for a Fullbright Scholarship.

I have also written letters for students applying to law school and medical school.

So why do students who are not seeking a career in the humanities request a letter of recommendation from a professor who taught them language or literature?

They know they have acquired critical thinking skills in addition to knowledge of a foreign language.

Naturally, I attest to each student’s knowledge and their acquisition of that knowledge in each individual letter. I like to let committees know three things:  what we covered and how we covered it and the student’s performance beyond their grade.

Writing letters of recommendation is a great privilege and and one of my favorite parts of teaching.

I am always happy to hear from former students asking for letters of recommendation or just letting me know how their careers have progressed.