Letter of Recommendation: Dos and Donts

Raghu Study in USA 85 Comments

College admission typically requires at least 2 Letters of Recommendation (LOR) from candidates.

Graduate School Admission committees evaluate the candidates’ credentials and the reference letters play an important role in the evaluation process as these provide important information about the candidates.

Some colleges and universities require LORs to be submitted online. I also know some graduate schools requiring LORs to be sent via email directly to the graduate school or to a specific department.

There are graduate schools that have their own form (template) that candidates must complete instead of the usual traditional LOR done in letter form.

Here are what to include in an LOR and what is the right way to submit an LOR for graduate school admission application.

The process is very simple, but it might be time consuming.

  1. Identify the persons who are going to give the recommendation letters.
  2. Ask them to include important details about your research skills, problem solving skills, capacity for team work, communication (written and oral) competency, analytical ability, leadership skills, social skills, etc.
  3. Put the LORs in the referring person’s official letterhead, and make sure you get it signed and if possible placed with a seal (or stamped).
  4. Put the LOR inside an envelop, paste it, and have the recommending person sign on the seal flap. This ensures that it will not be tampered with.

Now that your recommendation letters are ready, here’s a list of top 8 skills to include in reference letters.

I have collected sample recommendation letters from current students in the U.S. I will be posting them within few days. If you like to be notified by email, subscribe to email updates of this blog.


  1. To those who are looking for “sample letters of recommendation”: Please grow up.

    First of all, you should not be writing your letters of recommendation. Try talking to faculty/supervisor/whosoever-you-are-seeking-recommendation-from, and request them to write one for you. If they really do not wish to write one on their own – ask them to at least jot down a few points around which -(I feel incredibly dishonest even suggesting this, but there may be no other way around it*) – you can put together a letter and then get it signed and sealed.

    *Actually, there may be a way around it. You could mention to the folks at the universities that you are applying to that your faculty/supervisors are disinclined to pen a letter of recommendation on their own. May be a few of the schools will be impressed by that alone! Worth a shot, isn’t it?!

    – aman

    1. That can work, but may also be dangerous, since universities may think that candidate is not good enough, and recommenders are not willing to write for him? dont you think?

  2. Hello Sir,
    I completed my BE in computer sc engineering in 2013.I’m hoping to pursue my MS in Software engineering in USA/Europe.Need help with recommendation letters.Pls help me.Also include a few sample letters too.Thank you :).Need help urgent,pls.

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