Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation

Admission committees get an exhaustive pool of applications, and hence letter of recommendation carries considerable weightage. While a well written Statement of Purpose gives an opportunity to the student to showcase himself/herself to the admission committee, a well-drafted letter of recommendation is a chance for professors or bosses to help the applicant put his or her best foot forward. There are two types of recommendations – Academic and Professional, and a University generally requires two to four recommendation letters.

 An LOR is an “expert testimony” that projects a student’s overall personality by talking about his skills, achievements, knowledge, and personality. A recommendation letter is not restricted to the applicant’s scores and grades and is targeted towards endorsing his/her capability and character to succeed in a particular program. A gleaming LOR goes a long way in establishing one’s candidacy for a particular program. Recommendations not only validate a student’s technical and academic competence, but can also convince the committee of his/her overall preparedness for the program in terms of aptitude, attitude, adaptability, flexibility, open-mindedness and interpersonal skills. A letter of recommendation provides insights into the student’s overall personality, which cannot be ascertained by only reviewing a student’s mark sheets or standardized test scores. Moreover, a recommendation can validate a candidate’s admissions essay and serve as an authentic validation of all the facts that the student mentions in the profile.

Much thought must be given while selecting your recommender. Firstly, they must be qualified to write a recommendation and should know you well enough to attest to your credibility for the intended program. Also, make sure that they are open to discussions with respect to any thing you want to explicitly mention in the LOR based on the University requirements. You also need to make sure that the person has enough time to submit LORs to multiple Universities and will do so before the deadlines. The following factors must be kept in mind while deciding your recommenders-

Your interaction with the professor:

You must preferably get your recommendation from a professor who has spent a sufficient amount of time with you to be able to appraise you thoroughly for the program that you are applying for. Someone who has taught you subjects that are in alignment with your future course will be an ideal referee to evaluate your potential. When it comes to professional recommendation, you can obtain it from your immediate supervisor who can provide an inclusive picture of your skills and capabilities.


A spineless recommendation can do more harm than good to a student’s future. Your recommendation must be able to project you in the best light, and hence, you must not settle for anything less than an outstanding recommendation, which you can only get from Professor / Supervisor you share a great rapport with.

Availability and commitments:

While the recommender may have the best intention to help you, you can still land up in a tight spot if his commitments are not allowing him to devote the required time for writing or submitting the recommendation. Please check his engagements and obligations before you finalize your recommender.

Ace subject professor:

The prospect of getting the best evaluation is something you must not miss out on. It is a good idea to get your recommendation from a professor who has taught you subjects you were best at and can substantiate his positive opinion about you with concrete examples or grades. If he considers you as the cream of the crop in your class, he will end up giving you genuinely appreciable comments.

Paint a holistic picture:

Try getting, at least, one recommendation from someone who has known you outside the classroom setting and can speak convincingly about your strengths and involvement in extracurricular activities, thus making you sound like a cut above the rest. Admission committees are not just interested in your academic achievements but are also looking for well-rounded individuals who can add value to the university through their versatility.

Professional recommenders: 

Sometimes, people are in a dilemma whether or not to inform their managers about their application. In that case, you can still take LORs from the team leaders, project leaders, project managers or program/module managers. You also need to make sure that the recommenders are articulate, can write well and put you in the good light through examples. It is necessary that they should be available to submit the LOR before the relevant deadline.

A crucial point to keep in mind is that getting a glowing recommendation from the Assistant Professor of your ace-subject is any day better than getting a lack-luster one from a Fulbright professor. Don’t get stuck with titles and qualification of the recommender. It is important that the person has a long meaningful association with you and can convincingly endorse your preparedness for the program.

A good LOR should talk about the flowing aspects of the student:

  • Academic/Professional skills
  • Personal character and attributes
  • Intellectual abilities for writing a Letter of Recommendation
  • Aptitudes and fortes
  • Interpersonal Skills Guidelines for writing a Letter of Recommendation
  • Validates the credibility of the candidate and endorse his/her competence
  • Talks about the aspirant’s accomplishments
  • In some cases, talking about weaknesses to provide an objective analysis of an applicant could be advantageous

To conclude, recommendation letters are a crucial part of your application and are highly valued by the admission committee. By adhering to the above suggestions, you will be successful in getting good letters of recommendation that will help you in securing admission in the university of your choice.

Whom to take recommendation letter from

Admission committees get an exhaustive pool of applications, and hence letter of recommendation carry considerable weightage. While a well-written Statement of purpose gives an opportunity to the student to showcase himself/herself to the admission committee, a nicely drafted letter of recommendation is a chance for the professors/bosses to help the applicant put their best foot forward. A gleaming letter of recommendation can help the admission committee in making admission constructive decision regarding a candidate, and for that reason, you must be extremely careful while selecting your recommenders. Read More


|This is a letter of recommendation by a professor for a student aspiring to pursue a Masters in Management Information Systems in USA.|

It is with pleasure that I am writing this letter of recommendation for ___________ in support of her application to pursue a Masters degree at your university. I have known her for the past three years in my capacity as the senior professor at _____ College and as her professor for Project Management. Read More


This is a recommendation supporting the application of ___________, currently pursuing her Final Year Bachelor’s degree in Electronics at ______________ College.  As the principal of this institution, I would like to point out that she has made a mark for herself, in not only academics but extra-curricular activities too. I would be honored to elucidate a few aspects that would make her a welcome and worthwhile addition to your university.

Read More


|This is a professional letter of recommendation  for a student aspiring to pursue Masters in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in USA.|

Dear Sir/Madam,

It gives me immense pleasure to recommend ____________ for a masters degree course in your esteemed university. He has been working with us for the past five months and my personal experience of working with him has been quite satisfactory. We are a firm engaged in multiple software activities and he is part of ERP implementation support group. He has made a very seamless transition from an academic to a professional environment. Read More


|This is a professional letter of recommendation  for a student aspiring to pursue Masters in Management in USA.|

As the CEO of ______________ Ltd, it gives me great pleasure to provide this letter of recommendation for ___________, who came in as a trainee under me, working part time over a period of the last one year.
Though she was studying for her engineering course she expressed keen interest in venture capital and entrepreneurship.  She committed and would spend several hours each week in completing the assignments given to her and I had offered her the flexibility to work either from office or home and with flexible timing. She has been associated in 3 areas viz: (i) developing a hand-holding website for new entrepreneurs in India (ii) providing analysis of valuation of companies and (iii) preparing appraisal notes for current proposals. Read More

|This is a professional letter of recommendation  for a student aspiring to pursue Masters in Real Estate Development in USA.|

I take immense pleasure in writing this recommendation for ____________. I am given to understand that he wants to pursue a Masters degree in Real Estate Development from your esteemed University. And he has my unqualified recommendation for the same. I have known him since the last four years. I first met him when he visited my office way back in 2009 to secure sponsorship for his college projects/event from our company. I was thoroughly impressed, not only with the way he went about explaining the proposals he had brought along, but it was also interesting to know his insights about the Real estate industry, despite his young age. Our company ended up sponsoring the major part of his college event and with subsequent interactions; I got to know him much better.

I have closely interacted with him when he was interning with our company full time during his summer break and on weekends thereafter. Our company was in process of developing a large project called ‘Amanora’, on the extended suburbs of Mumbai. The project is spread over 25 acres of land and involves development of low cost rental housing. I am happy to mention that he has been involved in this project right from the planning stage. He has a zeal to learn new things, thus it has enabled him to understand most aspects of Real estate development. He has shown profound interest in day to day working of the construction industry and has actively worked with our architects, design and marketing teams as well as had the experience of dealing with customers while working with our sales team. He took specific interest in preparing project reports for securing joint venture partners, funding from financial institutions as well as private investors and has learned the intricacies of project finance.

He continued to work with us part time even after his college commenced as he was keen to take the funding project that he was working on to its logical conclusion. I have no hesitation in saying that he is matured beyond his age and loves accepting challenging tasks and learning from them. His experience working with our company along with what he has learnt over the years, working with his father’s Real estate firm, has equipped him to make a transition to the next level.

I believe that the time is perfect for him to pursue his Masters in Real Estate development from your university. This degree is very much in line with his career objectives and will help him immensely to fulfill the same. I vouch for his leadership qualities and communication skills and I am confident that he will be a great asset to your program. I strongly recommend you to consider his application and wish him all the success in life.



Company Name

|This is a letter of recommendation by a professor for a student aspiring to pursue Masters in Management Information Systems in USA.|

I am writing this recommendation for ______________. I understand that he is seeking admission for a Masters degree. I have known him since past two years having taught him Digital Communications and Coding techniques, Computer Organization and Architecture and Digital Computer Networks. He has been an inquisitive student and always a pleasure to teach. Read More

To Whom it may concern:
It would like to introduce Mr. __________, at your prestigious university. He has been my student for the past two and half years. I have taught him subjects including Aircraft Systems and Instruments, Flight Dynamics and Aero-elasticity. I have observed him to be an industrious worker, with superior emotional and intellectual maturity. Therefore, I am pleased to recommend him as an applicant for the Graduate Program at your Institution. Read More

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