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10 Criteria for Writing Effective Recommendation Letters

Recently, I have been reviewing a few drafts of recommendation letters. I noticed that students tend to get confused when composing drafts of recommendation letter, usually forgetting to inform the reference letter provider to highlight the student’s important skills.

All Recommendation Letters Must be Positive

I read a comment from one of the professors who said, almost all the recommendation letters written by professors from India and China say that every student is their favorite student and are among the top 5% of the class.

I know majority of you reading this article will agree to it. So how do you think a college admission committee will able to differentiate students’ profiles if the SOP and LOR look the same?

Effective Recommendation Letters

An effective recommendation letter is written by someone who meets some of the following criteria:

  1. Is aware of your subject of interest as well as knows the universities and colleges you will be applying at
  2. Must evaluate your performance having known you for some period of time
  3. Should be able to describe your social skills and personal characteristics
  4. Is able to discuss your capacity to work with others in a team environment and individual contribution.
  5. Can discuss your leadership skills
  6. Is able to discuss your communication skills
  7. Can evaluate your level of personal skills like  punctuality, efficiency, assertiveness, etc.
  8. Can discuss your academic skills — not simply experience — but evaluate your potential to succeed in graduate-level study
  9. Evaluates you positively relative to others
  10. Has some recognition and whose judgment is highly valued within the field

So make sure the above mentioned 10 criteria are followed while drafting your recommendation letter.

Also, read the post, Dos and Donts when writing recommendation letters. Making mistakes or missing out important information in LOR will reduce the impact of a reference letter.

Also, the college/university admission committee should receive the LOR in a sealed envelop.

Some colleges/university provide option for the reference person to send the LOR via email directly to the graduate school or submit the recommendation letter online.

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2 Comments

  1. hey . hw r u? am renu wanted to ask u about spring admission. is it ok if i tk admission in spring… and what about schlorships in spring. and please wil you send some sample sop's so that i cn get an idea of how to start writing sop. i want to pursue an MS in biotehnology. thank u ….

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