There is a wide variety of documents to arrange before you send in your university application. And while there is a lot you can do to embellish most aspects of your university application, there is one detail that you have little control over- your letter of recommendation.
What is an academic letter of recommendation(LOR)?
Your reference letters for university applications are a reflection of your merit, character, and achievements from an external perspective. Commonly, it is an academic letter of recommendation for students from professors, sent in conjunction with the college application. When you apply to a university abroad, the institution might want to know things about you that distinguish you from the other applicants. This is where your letter of recommendation and statement of purpose give you an edge over your peers. Most universities require a reputable person to talk for you and confirm the things you say about yourself in your application, so as to keep the selection criteria completely impartial and transparent.
How to get a letter of recommendation?
Universities regularly ask for a very specific type of person to be your reference. It is necessary to pay attention to the mandatory set of requirements that this person needs to fulfill. This will help you avoid any delay or rejection of your application process on that end. Among the things to be fulfilled for being a reference, the most common are:
- This person must know you for a considerable amount of time (If possible, more than 2 years)
- Should not have any blood ties to you
- This person could also be somebody living legally in the country where you’re applying to, preferably a citizen.
Make sure you notify the person you choose in advance. This way, they would be ready to provide a good response regarding anything the university asks about you.
Selecting your reference
- If you can have someone from the academic area referring you (maybe a teacher or tutor) it would be great. Even better, if this academic reference is from the discipline you plan to pursue. This way, the person can better express the reasons why you would be a good addition to the university’s program.
- A doctor, policeman, or any other person in a position of authority is also a good idea. The testimony they provide about you is considered reliable because people in such positions are held in high regard.
- Lastly, if your testimony comes from a member or leader of a voluntary group, maybe an NGO, this will give you extra points, as it presents you as a person who cares for others. As a result, your LOR speaks well not only about your professional background but also your social one.
Letter of Recommendation(LOR) writing tips
Writing an academic LOR for a student is already a critically important task. Doing so for a student who wants to apply for graduate schools, is an even more serious task. To help you write a powerful LOR, here are some quick pointers to remember:
- Be sure to introduce yourself and mention your connection to the student.
- Mention the student’s achievements, but more than that, explain how they did it.
- Details are the key! It’s important to elaborate slightly on the students’ qualities that you endorse. For example, instead of saying ‘Siya has great social awareness’, it would be better to say, ‘As demonstrated by her volunteer work for several university NGO partnerships, Siya is a socially aware and determined individual’.
- While you follow these tips, remember you need to keep the LOR under 500 words!
It is necessary to provide all the relevant information to the person writing your academic letter of recommendation. You can also help by highlighting all your accomplishments. We hope this blog helps you with your letter of recommendation and takes you a step closer to your future.
At iSchoolConnect, we help applicants connect with universities abroad and get into the programs they are passionate about. Select the country and the university you want, mail us with your information by filling out a simple form on our website and we will help you get into your dream university!
Bright, bold, and bubbly, Akanksha Vora is a writer at iSchoolConnect. She writes creative and curious blogs that help students with their life and studies abroad.