Recommendation Letter – The Art of Writing Letter of Recommendation

recommendation letter
What is Letter of Recommendation ?
Writing a Letter of Recommendation for College
Whose recommendation is more important- Professors Vs Employers
How do I choose my recommender?
Do’s and the Don’ts for the recommender

What is Letter of Recommendation ?

A letter of recommendation for graduate school or student recommendation letter is a document also known as reference letter or letter of reference, in which the writer of the letter evaluates the qualities, potential and characteristics of the person he is recommending for a particular position in a company or an academic institution. In the case of mba applicants it acts as an important factor in the applicant’s admission chances. A strong well-constructed professional Letter of recommendation for graduate school is a big plus point for any applicant as it provides insights about the applicant from a third party perspective.

Student Recommendation letter is the most important component of your application, and plays a decisive role in evaluating your candidacy.

Writing a Letter of Recommendation for College

Why is the Recommendation Letter needed?

Your student recommendation letters, are the only external source of information, that the admission committee receives. They can greatly influence, the impression of a candidate. So, you must present the student recommendation letter, by carefully choosing what to share, and what not.

The professional letter of recommendation for college plays a significant role in your application. It helps the admission authorities, draw an impression. The letter of recommendation provides the 3rd party perspective, where a candidate’s experience, and leadership skills are evaluated. Therefore, the student recommendation letter helps the admission authorities, draw a better picture of the candidate.

How are the Student Recommendation Letters are written?

It is highly suggested that one should understand how a professional letter of recommendation for college is written. Student Recommendation letters are considered as a very important and vital aspect in the mba application process. They hold immense value particularly when lots of students spread across various nationalities and backgrounds have more or less the same set of scores in the GMAT.

The following sentences should help you in understanding what to expect in the student recommendation letter.In other words what is the procedure to be followed while writing a letter of recommendation for a student?

1.Take care of the salutations

It is important for you to know and understand that if your recommender is writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school where he/she knows the name, designation of the person who is going to receive the letter, then it is suggested to use the name of the person such as Dear Mr Sanders or Dear Dr. Peter

However, if you are not aware of the person who is going to receive the letter, it is advisable to use ‘To whom it may concern’

2.In the first paragraph

In the process of writing a letter of recommendation, ask your recommender to mention the relationship and connection between you and the recommender. Also ask the recommender to mention his/her credentials stating the fact that why he/she is qualified well enough to write your professional letter of recommendation for college.

3.In the second paragraph

This paragraph should contain details about you such as your credentials, qualifications and what you can contribute to the place you are applying for. Your achievements should be highlighted properly so that the recommender’s writing a letter of recommendation for college is justified.

4.In the third paragraph

While writing a letter of recommendation for a student, this paragraph should tell about how your present skill sets match with the required skill sets of the university or program that you are applying to. You need to brief the recommender regarding the kind of skill sets that the university is looking for in potential candidate so that he/she can do justice with the professional letter of recommendation for graduate school.

5.In the fourth paragraph

This particular paragraph should summarize the fact that why your recommender is recommending you for the program. Ask him/her to mention that your past work and experience is highly appreciated by him/her and he/she is highly recommending you to that particular university. This is a very important point to be kept in mind while writing a letter of recommendation for a student.

6.In the fifth paragraph

Ask your recommender to mention that he/she can offer more relevant information if needed and also mention his/her contact details along with name and full signature.

Whose recommendation is more important- Professors Vs Employers

It is important for students with one or two years of experience to note that the B-schools are interested in a ‘writing a letter of recommendation for college’ from your professors or the head of the departments as well as recommendation letter from employers. They should be particularly those type of people who know you personally and are acquainted with your academic work and early professional career progress.

Whereas in case of applicants with experience, writing a letter of recommendation for an employee needs to address lot of concerns. The experienced professionals are needed to get the professional letter of recommendation for graduate school written from their employers as well as their professors. The difference is, that in this case more emphasis would be given to the recommendation letter from employers specially in those cases where it is mandatory for the students to have certain number of years of experience before they apply to certain mba programs.

Common Questions

1. Can I write my own student recommendation letter?

The answer is No, because it is not only ethically wrong, but also strategically negative. Your recommender, might ask you to write the letter yourself, and will agree, to gladly sign it.

You should never make the mistake, of writing your own student recommendation letter, because you might miss out on your strong points, as self-analysis is always difficult.

2. Who should write my letters?

You can ask a person, who knows you well, and can write a personal and knowledgeable letter, that discusses your Talents, accomplishments, personality, and potential. Writing a letter of recommendation for a student is not an easy task.

If you have held more than one job. You can consider asking your supervisor, from multiple organizations, to write a student recommendation letter.

Educating your recommender, is quite challenging, but most important.

You need to spend time with your recommender, and let him know about the various rules and regulations, the word limits, etc.

You should let the recommender know, about the requirements of your target business schools.

Most schools require, 2-3 letters of recommendation. The schools, generally ask questions, which your recommender will have to answer. He or she, will come across series of questions. On the basis of the answers provided by the recommender, your qualities, and behavior will be ranked.

However, your recommender must know what to write. So, you need to educate him or her, about your interests, hobbies, extracurricular, etc.

You can give the recommender an overview of your accomplishments, achievements, etc so that it may help him/her in writing a letter of recommendation.

For example, if you have gained recognition in the field of sports, you can let the recommender know about it, in detail. You need to shed some light on your career goals, and your goals must relate, to the requirements of the schools.

You need to provide the recommender with the details, like-

  • Your target schools, the deadlines etc.
  • You must submit a copy of your resume, so that the recommender gets a brief summary of your profile.
  • You should present the list of questions, that the recommender has to answer.

The recommender needs to focus on writing a letter of recommendation for college, that will compel the admission authorities, to consider your application. So, you must educate your recommender, regarding the various circumstances under which you have flourished, can truly differentiate you from other candidates.

Now coming to the most important part –

You must sit down with the recommender, and explain about the importance of writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school.

You want your recommender, to write an impactful letter, so you need to convince the recommender, and ensure that, he or she takes the writing seriously, and crafts an impactful professional letter of recommendation for graduate school.

How do I choose my recommender?

How do I choose my recommender

There are certain parameters as discussed below.

  • Have they written letters for anyone else?

You need to know about their experience in writing a letter of recommendation for college, because an experienced recommender, will understand the importance of the letter, and will be efficient in meeting deadlines.

  • Are they generous with their time?

Writing a professional letter of recommendation for college, will take time.  It cannot be written in a day or so.

Therefore, you need to choose a recommender, who will have time for writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school , that might require 1 to 2 weeks to complete.

  • Do you believe that, they will devote the effort, and time necessary to write a letter?

The recommenders, might agree to devote their time, but again, you have to check, whether they are casual about it, or they will truly devote their time.

You have to choose a recommender, who has the capability to write a professional letter of recommendation for gradate school, that will stand out and make the difference.

  • Are they typically good at meeting deadlines?

One of the most important things to consider, is the ability of a recommender to meet deadlines.

The schools have a fixed deadline; after which they will not consider your letter of recommendation. So, you should ensure, your recommender delivers the letter in the appropriate time.

Writing a student recommendation letter needs a lot of time and expertise. It should be written by the person, who knows you the best. However, there are certain things one (your recommender) should take care, while writing a professional letter of recommendation for college.

Recommender Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

recommender do's and dont's

Strict Do’s

You should not hesitate to give critical feedback on the professional letter of recommendation for graduate school, because giving critical feedback, will show that you have an honest approach. A student recommendation letter, which is filled with positivity and lacks critical feedback, is often perceived as biased by the admission officers.

Strict Don’ts

You should never make substantive, or over the top claims.
Like,
Andrew is number one, or he will be the next CEO of a multinational company.

Similarly, in order to incorporate criticism, don’t try to project one’s strength as a weakness.

Statements like, Andrew often works too hard. So, I pushed him to take more breaks and vacations, but he is just too dedicated.

The previous statement is not advisable, as it clearly shows that Andrew is a hard working employee and there is no point in manipulating his positive qualities, in order to force criticism.

If, you are trying to incorporate criticism, then be straightforward and highlight the true facts, on which the candidate needs to improve.