How to Get Letter of Recommendation in India for Grad School Admission in USA

Raghuram Sukumar Application 14 Comments

Question from a reader about process of getting Letter of Recommendation in India.

I’m a big fan of HSB. Having said that, I had to ask you a question .

I’m a Ministry of defense employee (India) and it would be very hard for me to get an online LOR as our emails are scrutinized and giving an LOR without informing the authorities would be going against the organization and going through a proper channel is useless.My question is

  1. do universities accept paper LOR’s
  2. in any case how do they authenticate the genuineness of the LOR. Do they contact the person who has given the LOR or the HR department of that institute.

Because if someone gives me a LOR on a personal basis and they contact the HR department then this might put his job on stake. Please help me I’m in a fix.

Letter of Recommendation

Universities do accept hard copy of Letter of recommendation.

Having said that some universities require only online recommendation letter.

You may want to request exception for that rule from grad school. So, you can send the signed, sealed hard copy for recommendation letter.

For University of Idaho

Letters of recommendation can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed directly from the letter writer to the graduate admissions office. You can mail the letters with your other application materials so long as the letters are in sealed envelopes with the letter writer’s signature across the flap.

For University of Florida

Recommendation letters. Click on this link for a PDF copy you can read and fill out with Adobe Reader: Recommendation Letter Form.

Please note: You can now opt to submit your statement of purpose, resume and recommendation letters online via the UF Office of Admissions online application system.

For Stanford University

How are  letters of recommendation submitted?

Recommenders are to submit the letters online – not by mail, fax or e-mail. When you enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders in the online application, they will receive a message with instructions on how to set up a recommender account. They will then be able to electronically submit their recommendations directly to Stanford.


As you can see Stanford University accepts recommendation letters submitted online. If they are not going to give exception, then you have to look at different university.

But, in he above example, University of Florida and  University of Idaho accept email, fax and mail copy of recommendation letters.

Hope this answers your question about how to submit recommendation letters for Graduate school admission.

When you are asking for recommendation letter, make sure your recommender includes these skills about you in the recommendation letter.




  1. Thanx for a prompt reply but this only answers half of my question….how do they authenticate the LOR’s

    1. Hey, it depends on the university. Usually they do not contact but I have heard of the cases where if any thing is found wrong like mentioning fake projects, certifications; they will not consider for admission purposes at all. Its one’s own risk !!!

      I advice not to go for that risky option, now its your decision !!! Best Luck 🙂

      1. see in my case everything is genuine i’m a permanent employee of DRDO since three years and whatever said in the LOR would be true but people say officially i may not get a LOR but personally yes…. So what if someone gives me a LOR on a personal basis and they contact the HR department then this might put his job on stake….

    2. The person providing you with the LOR should place a stamp on the copy of LOR with his signature. The stamp provides the info. about the person’s designation.
      Basically if possible the LOR should be printed on Letter Pad of the Company or College in which that person works. I believe nothing more is required to authenticate the LOR.
      All these things can be done on a personal level and no one else actually gets to know about the LOR.
      Also if you go for online LOR, the person providing you the LOR is contacted on a personal level and not through the college or company.
      Best of Luck!!

      1. I only have issue with an emailing the LOR…online and paper are fine….

        1. Then you dont have a problem as LORs are not mailed but filled online or sent by post
          (in case of paper)…
          I don’t see there is anything you need to worry about.

          1. Thanx buddy….really appreciate your help

  2. Hi, I am facing the problem of not having a very good profile. My acads are fine(65%) and so is my gre score which 318. But i do not have any technical experience nor do i have any certificates in the technical field.
    How badly is this going to affect my chances of getting into a good university?
    Please help!

    1. Let me give you my example :
      No technical papers
      No big or worth boasting projects
      8.34 CGPA
      GRE 311
      Toefl 108
      Some participation certificates(college fests)
      Thats it!!
      But still if you are so afraid, you can make up a resume which has some tolerable lies written in it. 😉
      I got admits from Rutgers and University of Southern California.(MS Electrical Engineering)
      I agree that it will be a fight for the top 35 universities, but still you could apply in the universities having a rank between 40 to 80(assuming as per and try and contact professors for research work (to increase the value of your degree).
      Although the teaching standards in any university of US is very high in comparison to India.
      Advice :-
      Just try your luck at it!!

      1. Hi Abhishekh,
        I am a chemical engineering student.I had scored 328/349(Quant:168,Verbal 160) &(Awa:4.5).I have a CGPA of 8.3.I have 5 international journal publications.But,I do not have a IIT tag in my bachelors.I
        had studied under a public state University.I will be applying in the fall of 2013 for my Ph.d.I am yet to give my Toefl.I am thinking of applying to universities such as NTU,University of California
        Los Angeles (Samueli)(rank:24),University of Florida(rank:25),Ohio State University(Rank:28),Iowa State University(33)University of Southern
        California (Viterbi)(36),Columbia University
        (Fu Foundation) (40).[US rankings for chem. engg given in brackets]

        Where do you think I can get an admit?Plz help.

  3. Hi I am working in Cognizant.
    If I have to get LOR from my leader, how will I get it sealed?
    Please help!

    1. hi aishwarya

      i’m also working with cognizant.
      did u figure out any solution for the seal?
      even associate directors dont have seal…in cognizant.

      anyways let me know…

  4. Hey I do not boast of great academics. My undergrad aggre is 69 % and a GRE score of 320. Where can I expect to get admits? I have some good extra curricular activities too but no papers n stuff.

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