A Good Letter Of Recommendation Can Be A Ticket To Your College Admission Abroad-Here’s How You Can Get It Right!


LOR – Letter of Recommendation plays a key role in getting an admission in foreign university. Almost all the MS programmes abroad require the applicant to submit Letters of Recommendation (LOR) for masters degree as part of the application package. A letter of recommendation is a detailed assessment of your potential from the point of view of a third person. It is written in support of the academic transcripts, certificates and statement of purpose presented by the applicant. This recommendation letter for university has a crucial part as it conveys applicants potential. So one need to have a clear picture on how we should present our self through Letter of Recommendation for masters program.

Key points to be mentioned in LORs
Letters of Recommendation for graduate school are to be garnered from people who know the students in an official capacity, either as a faculty member in the university or as a supervisor in the student’s place of work. The accepted norm is that for an UG/ MS/ PhD program, one shall need to procure at least 3 recommendation letters. Generally the candidate would want two faculty members and one project guide to recommend his to the university. If you have worked for one year or more, you may choose to replace one recommendation letter from a faculty member with that of a letter from your work place. If you have worked for three years or more, you may want to have two recommendation letters from your work place and one from your college. It is important to note that the recommendation letters should be taken from the last academic institution that the student attended. Thus, if a student has completed an MS in India, he should ask faculty from the Master’s program to recommend him, and not approach the faculty in the Bachelor’s program.

The MBA programs generally require only two recommendation letters. And both should preferably be from one’s work place. If this is not possible, you may choose one letter from your work place and one letter from your faculty.

The faculty should enumerate the special interest of the student in the curriculum, his ability to connect between the curriculum and practical use of the theory and his demeanour in class. It would be prudent to also talk about the candidates ability to communicate, motivate and work with team members. The letters should also bring out the research papers that the candidate may have worked on (This is especially true for PhD applicants).

Letters of recommendation from the work place should bring out the candidate’s ability to work with his team, his good communication skills, leadership and motivational abilities. Try to bring out your ability to initiate projects, work on activities that enhance the profitability of the company, work beyond the call of duty and yet have a cheerful disposition. These facets in the students character should be explained via examples, rather than just be mentioned as qualities of the candidate.

What is the procedure of getting these LORs?
– The candidate should speak with the recommenders at least 3 months prior to the deadlines of the university (Around July/ August should be good, earlier for MBAs). Explain to the recommender why you need the letters of recommendation and also highlight the procedure to them, to avoid any last minute hesitation. It is pertinent to note that the recommenders shall need to also interact with the universities after the recommendation letters have been sent, and this fact should be kept in mi d also while choosing your recommenders.

– The process in the US is that the recommendation letters are drafted by the recommenders themselves, but this is not the case in India. It is possible that the recommenders may ask the candidate to get a draft and the resume/ SOP to the recommender and they would, after due diligence, edit and sign the recommendation letters. These are then to be printed on the letterhead of the institution that the recommender represents and signed and sealed for dispatch to the universities.

– Over the last three years, as a move away from dealing with hard copies, most universities want the recommendation letters to be sent online. Thus, you will need to upload the letters via a PDF file, from the recommenders official E Mail ID to the university. While this expedites the process, you do not have any control over the actual despatch of the letters. Hence, you will need to sure that the recommender has indeed uploaded the recommendation letter in time.

3. How many LORs required for admission into university?
Each university shall have its own requirements of recommendation letters for admission. For example, the University of Colorado requires 4 recommendation letters for its Telecommunication Department, most other universities mandate the need of only three letters. This is true of programs in Undergraduate (BE/ BS), Graduate (MS/ ME) and Post Graduate (PhD) Degrees.
MBA programs shall need two letters of recommendation.

4. What is the weightage given to LORs
Admission officers look at a host of factors for admission, among which, recommendation letters are one essential part. Via these letters, the university admission officers get the opportunity to relate better with the candidates abilities, especially since they are written by professionals, who are able to testify to the various facets in the candidate’s personality when they write these letters. Also, since these letters are written by the faculty, they also carry a higher weightage.

The other facets that the university admissions officers look at are:
– Academic scores of the candidate
– The GRE/ GMAT/ SAT scores
– English proficiency through scores in TOEFL/ IELTS/ PTE
Statement of Purpose to gauge whether the candidate is a good fit in the university
– Extra and co-curricular activities to highlight the soft skills of the student.
Each of these are important independently and collectively for admission.

Content Source – IMFS


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