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Ms in US 40

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Letter Of Recommendation

Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a statement of how you are as a person to be with, to be taught or to have worked with. 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 in the United States of America, so make sure you have a good document for yourself.

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Highlights

  • Just like the SOP, the Letter of recommendation should tell a story about you. It should portray you as an individual with experiences of having personally worked with you.
  • For some universities, you 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 (when the recommender doesn’t know you well or if they are busy with other commitments than they cannot write it for you), the recommender might ask you to draft a LOR so that they don’t have to write the whole recommendation letter.

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 limit for LOR length, e.g. 500 words, 1 page, 2000 characters etc.
  • See 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’ve studied at. The credibility of their words will be more than a Letter from the school.

Required Documents (for your recommender)

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

Step by step Guide

  • Think of 2-3 people who can provide you with a good recommendation. That means (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.
  • Request them politely asking if they can write a positive Letter of Recommendation for you.
  • When asking for a person from the University, you may also send a copy of your Transcript, reminding them of your excellent performance in their classes.
  • When asking for a person from Internship Organization, pick someone who can provide relevant information on your role and contribution to the work.
  • Take an appointment with your recommender, if required, and ask if they need any additional information in writing the recommendation letter. You can also explain to them things like 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 exceeding the boundary on any occasion.
  • There should be a mention of the duration and in what capacity the recommender knows the student.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that you can embellish the truth in any way you like, but don’t 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, make sure that it is stamped, signed and sealed.
  • It would be better if the recommender has their full name, contact email and designation written at the end of the Letter. This way, Universities can directly get in touch with your recommenders.
  • Make sure you inform your recommenders about the Universities you will be applying to.

Trivia

  • Keep in mind the type of University and the Course Content for the programme you are applying for before sending the LORs.
  • 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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