Writing Recommendations for Study Abroad

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Faculty recommendations are critical part of the Study Abroad Application as they highlight whether a student is prepared for the academic challenges of taking courses abroad.  Therefore, you play an important role in helping students study abroad. 

The Selection Panel is looking for insight on whether the student will thrive academically while abroad.  As a faculty member who taught the student, you are in the best position to make recommendations. 

Who should write a recommendation?

Students are directed to ask only faculty member, at the higher education level, who has taught them in an academic course where they received or will earn a letter grade.  They may ask SF State professors and lecturers as well as academic instructors from other institutions, including community colleges. 

Most programs require 2 recommendations (one should be within their major and the second from any class) and a few many require an additional language recommendation.  A non-English language instructor may write both a language recommendation and a non-language recommendation as they target different information.

What are the recommendation formats?

SF State Abroad has two types of exchange programs that we send students on for a semester or year: the California State University International Programs (CSU IP) and SF State Exchange.  The main different between the two programs is the application process and the administrators for each. 

CSU International Programs are administrated by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and uses a combination of an online application for the students and recommendation forms from faculty.  Students may send faculty requests to complete the recommendation via email for an online form or bring a paper form.  Faculty only need to complete the form  through letters accompanying the form are more than welcomed. If using the paper form, you or the student may submit it to our office in-person or via campus mail to us at SF State Abroad, OIP, VSC-C.  As faculty, you may scan and email directly to studyabroad@sfsu.edu

SF State Exchange Programs are administrated entirely by SF State Abroad in OIP.  The entire application, including recommendations, is online using the Horizons system.   The instructions below outline how to submit an online recommendation through Horizons. 

How to complete an online recommendation in Horizons?
(SF State Exchange Programs only)

Step 1: Login to the Horizons System

When a student requests an application for the first time, the system will generate an automated email with the email address/user name and password.  You will need to go to the SF State Abroad Online Application system to enter your log in information. 

Step 2: Update Personal Information

Once you have accessed your account for the first time, please make sure to access the “My Account” tab of the menu bar.

  • Personal Information: add your basic information
  • Account: change your password to something more secure

Step 3a: Begin Recommendation

Click on the pencil and paper “edit” icon to the left of the student’s name under the “Action” column.

Step 3b: Decline a Student

Click the decline button all the way to the right of the student under the "Options" column. We will notify the student.

Step 4: Recommend a Student

The system will take you to an automatically generated recommendation form based on the type of recommendation the student has requested. 

Recommendation Types

  1. Faculty Recommendation: This form rates a student’s academic aptitude and adaptability.
  2. Foreign Language Recommendation: This form is for foreign language professors rating a student’s language abilities.

If a student has requested the incorrect recommendation type, please email us at studyabroad@sfsu.edu and we will send you the correct recommendation. 

Step 5: Submit

Hit submit! This will also stop the reminder emails.