Letter of Recommendation: Dos and Donts

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Raghuram Sukumar 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.


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  1. Kiran

    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.

  2. Aman

    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. Aditi Gaur

      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?

  3. Shruti

    hi.. i completed my engineering (comp sci) in 2011 and i’m applying to graduate schools in usa and france for a masters in entrepreneurship. currently working in an it firm. need help with recommendation letters, pretty urgent. please help!

  4. shady

    i am aeronautical engg(mechanical) with one year experinc n relevnt field, coming intake i am apply master n germany,plz send me some samples SOP & LOR’s… plz send me ASAP

  5. Kenny

    Hi I am applying for graduate school in September. Can you please send me some samples of LOR

  6. krishna

    hi,
    can u please send me few SOP’s and LOR’S for civil engineering in construction management.

    thanks in advance!!

  7. Tamara

    Hi!
    Can you send me samples of M.S and ph.D recommendation letters?
    Thanks!

  8. janani

    can you please send me sample letters for my M.S in computer science….
    pls reply…

    thanks

  9. Bish

    Hi
    I have completed masters in Physics Education and I’m planning to apply for a Phd program, would you plz send me some sample letter of recommendation, statement of purpose and letter of motivation.
    Your sincere

  10. Aileen

    Hi, I am planning to apply to study MSc in Molecular Medicine.
    Can you please send me a few samples of good recommendation letters?
    Thanks!

  11. minu

    Hello

    I have just completed my MSc Biotechonology. I am planning to go for higher studies in Biotechonology or any related field in US. Could you please mail me recommendation letter for biotechonology,so that I could draft my letter.

    thankyou

  12. sach

    I’ve been working in a MNC..and planning for US….
    So LORs..should they be from company or from my Btech university..??

    Please help..it’s important

  13. rajesh m

    Hi,

    I have been working as faculty in a engineering college since 2001.
    I am applying for PhD in US Universities.

    I am planning to take recommendation letters from:
    1. my university professor (who is retired)
    2. Research guide in M.Tech, also retired from R&D as general manager.
    3. Principal (my present employer).
    ROCs 1 & 2 will be very strong ones since the professors are well known even in us universities.

    will the universities accept the recommendations of retired persons? if not what is the alternative? Is it necessary to have a RC from employer?

    regards
    rajesh m

  14. armydon

    i am planning to apply for an oil and chemical job, can someone please send me a sample recommendation letter ASAP.

    1. Yves Multidor

      Hi, I am a medical Assistant Student, working now on a project. could you please recommend to my tutor Mrs. Beatrice Jacquet

  15. Kamanaoag Sharma

    I am planning to go to Korea for masters.Can you please send me some best examples of recommendation letter .
    Format of recommendation letter from working agency
    Format of recommendation letter from college
    I would be thankful
    kamana sharma

  16. parbati sharma

    Hello good morning
    I am planning to go to Korea for further study.can u send me some best examples of recommendation letter so that easily i can get scholarship packages for further study?
    Regards
    parbati sharma

    1. DINSSA BEKELE

      To whom It May it Concern
      Subject: Letter of Recommendation

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      This letter is in reference to the graduate studies application of Dinssa bekele .He was a student of mine at university of Arbaminch, Ethiopia from October 23, 2004 to July 15, 2007, and graduated in July 21, 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer science and Information technology.

      During his time studying with me, Dinssa proved to be an excellent student with a keen mind and a willingness to work hard to learn. Well-behaved and sincerely. I had many opportunities to observe his great talent, capacity and enthusiasm in identifying problems and generating solutions and ideas. His great high team work sprit and good behavior played an important role for his success in his endeavors. He has a great devotion for his duties .I believe that his excellence, strong scholastic ability and hard working personality would make him absolutely fit the criteria of your university to join in Graduate MSc Computing technology and in any related field of study.
      It is my opinion that, He would be a wonderful Candidate to your university graduate program.

      Dinssa has my full endorsement as a prospective graduate student. You would be doing your institution a service by accepting him.
      If you have any questions regarding Dinssa’s qualifications or Recommendation, please feel free to contact me with:
      Phone no: ________________ or e-mail:[email protected]
      Thank you in advance for your timely consideration.
      Regards,

      Mr.____________________________________
      Head department of Computer science and IT ArbaMinch, University, Ethiopia

      1. US Professor

        Just a hint…

        This is a great way to get your application ignored by 99.9% of US professors. We are sick of form letters from hundreds of Indian/Chinese students per day.

        1. Aman

          ‘US Professor’,

          I’ve always wondered how the faculty are able to go through hundreds of ‘letters of recommendations’ that they must get every year. But, unless the application process evolves such that a prospective student’s ability and possible fit in a department/program can be objectively evaluated, I don’t see your job (of winnowing the genuinely interested and good international students from the ones that may not be) getting easier any time soon.

          I do however believe that a ‘Statement of Purpose’ can be a fairly reasonable reflection of a prospective student’s interests (whether they are genuine or not), goals (whether they are clear or not), and expectations (whether they are well thought out or not.)

          And if a student’s SOP jives well with what has been mentioned by her endorser in the letter of recommendation, a reasonable assessment can be made.

          – aman

  17. Anteneh Alemayehu

    hi sir/Madam,
    I’m planning to do Msc in Renewable Engineering in european coutries.so, pls would u send me some good recommendaton letter samples?

  18. akash reddy

    hello sir…i am planning to do post graduation in the field of tele communication.can u send me few samples of sop’s and lor’s.

  19. rajatesh

    I have just given my GRE(1340).Since the applications will begin soon I am in the process of collecting references from my faculty.I have some peculiar doubts though.
    1.Does the the qualification and the credibility of the recommender matter much?
    2.Is it necessary to take the a recommendation from the HOD(among the three required)?.
    3.If the first one is important then which one weighs more..closeness of association to the student or the credibility of the recommender.

  20. sneha

    hieeee dis is sneha

    i have completed my btech in india i wana go to canada can u please send me some statement of purpose &some recomandation letters……………..
    please send me as early as possible

    1. Deb

      @Aparajita:

      Try to write it yourself. Statement of purpose is why you want to do grad studies, in what area you want to do, why a particular school and what are your future goals. Also try to incorporate some of your qualifications and achievements to justify your interests in a subject and explain that you will be successful if you pursue that subject. 1 to 2 pages of SOP in simple words is enough. There is no point in copying it from other SOPs as profs understands it very easily. Just sit in a quiet place and think why you wanna do grad studies and what you are trying to get out of it, and you will end up writing a nice 1 page essay effortlessly. Good Luck!

  21. aparajita

    Hi
    I have completed masters in pharmacy and m planning to apply for a Phd program, would you plz send me some sample letter of recommendation, statement of purpose and letter of motivation.
    Your sincere

  22. Orcun

    Hi i am planning to apply for an international business master program, i need to have a LOR from a company, do you have a chance to send me a sample of LOR from a company manager

  23. Augustine

    Hi

    I am planning to apply for a master program in international community development. would you mined help me sending me some sample letter of recommendation and statement of purpose for applying to that field .

    Your faithfully

  24. JAMAL

    Hi

    I am planning to apply for a master program in Civil engineering for risk mitigation, would you mined help me sending me some sample letter of recommendation statement of purpose for applying to that field .

    Your sincere

  25. Mouath Rashdan

    Im applying for aerospace engineering at several universities , u know i cant ask my refernces to write me , four recomendations for each of the universities im applying. they can only write me just one so i have to copy it and sent it to universities ..is that ok?

    and i used to work in a company and i asked my boss to write me a recommendation letter , he said send me a draft and ill make the adjustment and then send back to u…but ive never written recommendations before shall i send him samples and then he'll make the adjustment ?

  26. alhoque m.

    dear sir would kindly send me a sample letter of reference for post gratuatecourse course in microbiology

  27. Daniel ba

    I am planning to apply for post graduate program in the field of water resourse and/or hydraulic engineering,i have 10 years of work experiance as site engineer and project manager in different hydraulic structure construction projects, would appreciate if you can help me sending me some sample letter of recommendation statement which could state best work experiance
    Best regurds

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