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How To Get A Letter Of Recommendation For Graduate School

How To Get A Letter Of Recommendation For Graduate School

Most universities these days, especially the international ones have made it a mandate that you submit a letter of recommendation, otherwise known as the LoR when you apply for admissions. Most students find it the most difficult part to getting one to write about your strengths and achievements is going to be hard when the time you have spent with them is limited or when you’ve not been in touch with them for a long time.

In reality, when you ask people to give you a letter of recommendation, they usually are happy to provide you with one. The key here is choosing the appropriate person to ask and also giving them the set of information that you would want on your letter of recommendation which syncs with the course you are applying into. So here is what you have to keep in mind when getting a letter of recommendation for your graduation.

Whom Should You Ask?

The best ones to ask for a letter of recommendation is your immediate superiors, could be in the ones in your previous or current employment or the faculty in your university or anyone for that matter who can write about your skills, talents, personality and knowledge. You could also consider asking your coach or your academic mentor.

If you are going to ask your professors, choose the ones who have handled lesser batch sizes, as they are more likely to remember you by name than someone who handles batch sizes in excess of hundred. If you are not sure on how to go about this, start by making a list of your professionals whom you’ve had interaction with in the past. Write down the names of anyone who comes to your mind. Ask your friends who have gone to graduate schools on who wrote their letter of recommendation. This could give you some ideas on how to go about.

The key is that the person who writes you a letter of recommendation should know you well. A letter written by someone who knows you for years will have a better impact than the one written by an acquaintance. It is but usual for you to get the letter of recommendation from someone in a position of authority, it is better to choose someone who knows you well. For example, a letter of recommendation from your reporting manager is much effective than a letter of recommendation written by the CEO of the firm or a letter of recommendation written by a course faculty is much more effective than the one written by the Dean of the university.

How Should You Ask?

You’ve now identified whom to ask for the Letter of Recommendation, now the question is how to approach them. If it is someone whom you interact with on an everyday basis, then asking the person over a phone call can be appropriate. However, if it is someone whom you’ve not been in touch with for a while, a detailed email would be required explaining the context and your request.

Irrespective of the mode of communication, start in a pleasant way, explain the context to them that you are applying for an admission in a university, explain why you’ve chosen them to write a letter of recommendation for you and that you would be honored by it. Give the person an easy out so that if they are busy or stuck amidst work, they have the option to decline from it.

In the request, ensure that you give them specific information needed such as the deadline for submitting the LoR as well as any specific instructions that the university may have given. It is important that you give them enough time to complete this task, do not hurry them because you are nearing the deadline or go to them at the brink. Giving them enough time will work in your favor because they may take the efforts of crating more than one draft while improvising on the earlier ones.

Most universities would mention the number of recommendation letters that you would have to submit. It usually is two to three. However, if there is no mention about the number of letters required, it is safe to stick with three such letters.

What Information Should You Give?

It is important that you give them all possible information required to write the letter for you. You never know, they may not remember your last name or the period of association and would be embarrassed to ask you for it. It is ideal if you send them your updated resume which will give them sufficient information about your personal details, your skills, technical abilities, etc.

Give them information about the program you are applying into and the context of the course so that they can tune their letter in sync with the course. Also intimate them about any recent awards or achievements that you may have received that they may not be aware of. If the program that you are applying into is not relevant to your field of work, give the writer the information required explaining your reason for making that switch.

How Should It Look?

A good recommendation letter starts with the writer explaining how they know you and the association with you. The letter should explain what the writer has noticed in you and how it syncs with the program you are applying into.

On an average, the Letter of Recommendation should be concluded within 300 to 500 words. If you receive a letter that is fewer than 300 words, you should consider not using it for your admissions. It only shows you in poor light and the university may think that the person who has written the letter does not know you well.

Keep In Touch

The person you have asked for a letter of recommendation will not have it on their priority list. It is important that you remind them on the deadlines and at the same time make sure that you don’t over do it because that would not work in your favor.

Be polite in your follow up. You must remember that the writer is not obligated to give you a letter of recommendation.

Once you’ve received the letter from them. Do not forget to thank them.


We at IRC Resume have been working extensively with the global student community over the years helping them write the best SoPs, LoRs, Academic Essays, so on and so forth. So, if a college program is on your mind, drop in a line to info@ircresume.com or give us a call at +91 88383 76704 and lets discuss to see how we can leverage to ensure that you get admitted into your dream university.