The following are apparently real Letters of Reference, but I think they are worth including here for their entertainment and/or horror value:
REAL LoR 1 (from "seat-of-the-pants scientist"):
XX is a student in my lab. She has made progress this year.
REAL LoR 2:
APPLICANT may be mediocre but her personal problems make it impossible to tell.
MOSTLY REAL LoR 3:
Marc X is a student whose self-perception of achievement is inversely proportional to his actual skill level. He is incapable of teamwork and unable to understand criticisms of his own work. I have had to put up with him in three classes. He likes to ask questions that he thinks demonstrates his superior understanding of the course material. He has an issue with handing in work on time and has had to hand in a second term paper in one of the classes, as the first one was a gross plagiarism. He particularly requested that I give him this letter of recommendation, although I twice said that I didn't think that this would be a good idea. We will be glad to see him graduate, just to get him out of our hair.
7 months ago