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How to write a Letter of Recommendation - MS in US

Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a recommendation letter written by a professor or employer on your academic/professional performance highlighting your qualities, capabilities and skills in one or more areas. It is a certification of your academic qualifications as assessed by your professor. It could also be an assessment of your professional skills when given by your manager/immediate supervisor in your company. LORs are highly valued, so make sure you have a good relationship with your professors and managers who will write these recommendation letters for you.

Letter of Recommendation for MS in US


  • Just like the SOP, the Letter of recommendation should tell a story about you. It should portray you as a competent individual from a third person’s perspective.
  • For some universities, you may need to mention your recommender’s contact information in the application form or in your CV itself. Your recommender will then get a mail with a form/link to a questionnaire/few direct questions which need to be addressed by them.
  • In most cases, the recommender may ask you to prepare the LOR yourself (if they are busy with other commitments); in which case, you will have to draft the Letter of Recommendation yourself and get it reviewed and signed by the recommender.

Before You Start

  • Check your university requirements and see if they have mentioned that your LOR is to be in any specific format (quite often, they upload a pdf file which needs to be filled by your recommender)
  • Keep in mind the word limit for LOR, e.g. 350-400 words, 1 page, 2000 characters etc.
  • Make a note of how many LORs are required. Also, note down who should be your recommender (e.g. your Professor, Project manager).
  • If you do not have any prior internship experience, you can ask for a LOR from your professor, Head of Department, Dean or the Director of the institute you have studied at. Letters written by recommenders in influential positions carry high credibility.

Required Documents (for your recommender)

  • Your CV (if necessary)
  • Your Grade Report (if necessary)
  • A draft LOR (if necessary)

Step-by-Step Guide on how to prepare a Letter of Recommendation

  • Think of 2-3 people who can provide you with a good recommendation letter, by considering the below facts: (i) You have attended their classes or worked with them in the past. (ii) They know you personally (not necessarily always, e.g. College Dean) (iii) They are in a respectable position in their organization.
  • Politely request them to write a positive Letter of Recommendation for you.
  • When asking for a academic personnel from the university, you can also send a copy of your transcript, reminding them of your excellent performance in class.
  • When asking from a colleague or higher-up from the organization you interned at, pick someone who you worked with closely, who is well aware of your role, responsibilities and your contributions for the organization.
  • Make an appointment with your recommender if required and check if they need any additional information in writing the letter of recommendation. You can also explain to them why are you interested in applying for a particular course, to a specific university, etc.
  • Think from your recommender’s perspective. If you are writing a draft, let it be in the appreciative tone but refrain from frivolous praises and overuse of positive adjectives.
  • The LOR should mention the duration of your association and in what capacity the recommender knows you.
  • if you have to prepare multiple drafts of the LOR for different recommenders, then make sure that you have entirely modified the content of the document with minimal overlap.
  • Keep in mind that you can embellish the truth, but do not write false/untrue statements. This is disrespectful and unethical for your recommender, and by doing this, you might even offend them.
  • Once your recommender hands you the final LOR, ensure that it is stamped, signed and sealed.
  • It is highly recommended to have complete information of the recommender - full name, contact e-mail and designation written at the end of the recommendation letter. This way, universities can directly get in touch with your recommenders if needed.
  • Make sure you inform your recommenders about the universities you will be applying to.


  • Keep in mind the type of university and the course content for the program you are applying for before sending your Letter of Recommendation.
  • In general, the LORs from your work/universities carried out in recent years carry a higher value.
  • Your LOR has to be written on your university’s/company’s letterhead. It should be sealed by the respective department and signed by your recommender.

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