Letter of Recommendation: Dos and Donts

By 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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Raghuram SukumarLetter of Recommendation: Dos and Donts

Comments 85

  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. krishna

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

    thanks in advance!!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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 ?

  22. 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

  23. 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 of work experiance from manager for applying to a master’s of water resourse and hydraulic engineering.
    Best regurds

  24. sasan

    Hello

    I am planning to apply for a graduate program in the field of Project Management, would appreciate if you can help me sending me some sample letter of recommendation statement of purpose for applying to a master’s of Project management .

    Best regurds

  25. deepthi

    i hav completed b pharmacy…. can u plz send me sample LORs.. i am planning to apply for masters in pharmaceutics and regulatory affairs

  26. ghazal

    Hello

    I am planning to apply for a graduate program in the field of architecture, would appreciate if you can help me sending me some sample letter of recommendation statement of purpose for applying to a master's of architecture .

    Thanks

  27. Abha

    I have collected 3 LOR from my professors, But i have got only 1 copy from each professor, since i want to apply to more than 1 university, how can i handle the problem of having only 1 copy?
    can i send the xerox copy or the colored xerox copy which looks exactly like the original one?

  28. RAJVI DOSHI

    Hiii…i hv just finished my b.tech in biotechnology and am applyin now for MS in molecular biology/microbiology.I am fixed up at 1 point,LOR.PLzzzzzzz send me some near to perfect samples..actually have my GRE in a week.So dont have much time to spare on LOR…it would be really great if u help!!

  29. Bishwjit Das

    Hello,

    i am planning to apply for a graduate school in Quality system engineering, would appreciate if you can help me sending me a sample letter of recommendation and SOP

    Thanks,

    Bishwjit Das

  30. johnny

    Hello.
    I am planning to apply for a graduated school in mecanical engineering, I would appreciate if you can help me sending me a sample letter of recommendation.
    thank

  31. Shraddha Sankhe

    Hello.

    I am planning to apply for a graduate program in the field of Business and Economic Reporting,Journalism in the U.S.A. I am applying for Fall 2011.

    I kindly request you to mail a sample Letter Of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose to my email id( [email protected] ). It shall be really generous on your part.

    Thank you.

  32. jannat

    I would like to apply for MS in computer science. could u mail me some recommendation letter LOR and SOP. thank you~

  33. shweta

    hi
    i am doing my final year btech in computer science. i would like to apply for higher studies. could u help me preparing a LOR and SOP

  34. Dave

    Could you send me some sample letters of recomendation? I am applying to a graduate degree in mechanical engineering. Thanks.

  35. Honar

    hey please mail me some sample’s of letter of recommendation… for admission in law collages …….

    its very urgent…

    I hope you can understand…

    Thanks

  36. Hasib

    I have done under graduate degree in chemical engineering and now want to have admission in petroleum graduate degree,please,send me strong recommendation letters samples….looking forward for your reply,
    thanks

  37. Astha

    I am doing my final year biotechnology in India, I am planning for a research degree in U.S , Can u please send me statement of purpose samples and referance letter samples for applying for scholarships and universities my field of interest is stem cell research

    Eagerly waitig for ur reply

  38. Ahmed Elserafy

    please could you email me some samples of letter of recommendations and statement of purpose for applying to a master's of architecture graduate program?

    Appreciate your help,

    Ahmed

  39. Rachel Le

    HI,

    I am applying for the master in accountancy program. I have 2 years experience in auditing. Can you please send me sample of Statement of purpose and Letter of recommendations?

    Thank you

  40. ramandeep

    Sir my gre score is 1520. i am in b pharmacy 4th yr. i wish to apply for integrated phd or phd in U S . could you suggest me some universities.

  41. Shmruthi

    Hi…!!! I am doing my B.Tech in Information Technology in a reputed Institution.. I am planning to take up M.S in one of the top 10 universities.. I still have two more years to go n I ve already started my GRE prep… Pls mail me some sample SOP and LOR to get an idea… Thanks!!

  42. jaidheesh

    i m currently finished doin my Btech in mechanical engg. and i planning to do Msc. Can u plz mail me the type of LOR which will be the best in my case.

  43. RAHUL

    i am currently doing my graduation in civil engineering from WEST BENGAL i would like to do research in earthquake engineering is there any scope in JAPAN PLEASE REPLY

  44. RAHUL

    Hii. can u pls send me d sample recommendation letters or templates for applying to universities..(as i need from the scientist under whom i am doing project work) . Thanx in advance..

  45. Johnny

    I am doing my final year biotechnology in India, I am planning for a research degree in U.K , Can u please send me statement of purpose samples and referance letter samples for applying for scholarships and universities my field of interest is molecular biology, stem cell research and neuroscience.

  46. Ripon Kumar Adhikary

    Sir,
    I am a fisheries graduate.I want to apply for postgraduate schoilarship in my field.How can I get a recommendation letter for my goal?
    Ripon Kumar Adhikary
    Dept. of Fisheries Management
    Bangladesh Agricultural university
    Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh
    Email Add: [email protected]
    Ph: +8801911 969016

  47. jyotsana

    hi…m jyotsana…i’v just completed my B. Tech in Biotechnology…cud u plz mail me a sample of letter of recommendation for Biotechnolog…thnx in advance

  48. rajesh

    hello plz do in efavour for me,kindly plz send me all the Samples of lor's so that i can find out soem valuable information and more than that a proffesional look is very important which i will get from those lor's

  49. akshit

    hey,

    i m currently doin my 4th of Btech and i wanna apply for a PhD course in Biotech.

    Can u plz mail me the type of LOR which will be the best in my case.

  50. Deb

    Hi,

    Can any one of you give me some idea regarding research and project expossure.

    Actually I have doen my B.Tech in Metallurgy and Materials engg, and I am an applicant for MS in Materials science for Fall, 2009 session. During my engennering , I had participated in one project only. Considering the fact that I don't have good project exposure, will it hamper my chances of getting admission and sholarship in graduate schhol in the US, even if I make a decent score in GRE?

  51. Deb

    Hi Raghu,

    It would be great help if you kindly provide some sample letter of recommendations. If it is not a standard template provided by the university, then should it be simple hand written LOR, or computer print out. Should I make individual fields point wise, like, 1. research area, 2. analytical and problem solving skill, 3. communication skills etc, and get these fields filled by the respective professors.

    Please provide a standard sample LOR.

    Thanks!

    Debartha

  52. shawn

    My daughter Sun Jing is going to apply for a MS in accountancy in USA.

    She is a Chinese, just graduated from university in China. Her major was inport and export. Please send me some samples of recommendation.

    Appreciate your help,

    Shawn

  53. daphne

    I would like to help my daughter to change school becuase my husband the job relocation . please kinldy assist to draft a letter.

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