The letter of recommendation is a prime document for post-graduate application closely related to the reference letter. These two documents provide an outsider’s perspective on your academic ability, work experience, character, and general fit for your program. However, the writer sends the letter of recommendation directly to the university, while the other is given to you and can be used for future purposes.
While applying for postgraduate admission, universities and colleges will request every relevant document to enable them to access your suitability for the school and your program of interest.
Of all these letters and documents, only the letter of recommendation provides a detailed outsider’s perspective of you. It speaks directly to the admission team and is largely relied upon for further decisions, especially when written by a high-ranking faculty member or organization administrator.
Characteristics of a great letter of recommendation
Most universities provide a template to serve as a guide for recommendation writing. You can rely on some general best practices to get a great letter of recommendation where it is not provided.
An ideal letter of recommendation should be 300-400 words long. If it is the first time your recommender is writing one, and the university provides no template, advise him to look through online templates.
This letter should be written formally and professionally, in simple English, and from an objective perspective.
Your writer should concentrate on his area of relationship with you. For example, if a professor writes your letter, he should focus on your academic ability, achievements, and prospects.
If an industry leader writes it, it should emphasize your commitment to excellence at work, receptiveness, relationship with other staff, and professional growth prospects.
Tips to get a great letter of recommendation
Choose the best available recommender
This is a significant letter and the admission team’s only way of hearing what others say about you. Therefore, choose a recommender who is an established figure in your area of interest. Moreso, ensure he has the right things to say about you. Because, unlike the reference letter, you will never know the content.
Provide every relevant information to the writer
Irrespective of how closely you’ve worked with your recommender, there is a high possibility that he won’t know of all your achievements or even remember the ones he knows. For this reason, you should provide them with samples of your outstanding achievements. Then, if time allows, have a chat to remind them of your excellent qualities because it makes a great letter of recommendation.
Remind them to make it corroborative
In addition to yours, admission officers would have thousands of other letters to read through. Most will be very similar, written in vague terms with indefinite information. Your recommender should write in a precise term for yours to stand out and share some of his personal experiences that convinced him of your aptness.
It should be thorough and diverse.
While the letter shouldn’t be more than 400 words, it should spotlight every noteworthy piece of information about your capabilities and portray the writer as an authority in his sphere of influence.
You should ask an individual with expert knowledge in your intended field for this letter, as the admission team will hold such a person’s opinion in high esteem. Also, if your school has requested more than one recommendation letter, ensure that the letters reflect various areas of your strength.
For example, you can ask your professor to write one and the manager to write the other.
Ask for it early
Though your recommender will send it directly to the university, telling him early will enable him to write a more thoughtful and detailed letter. Therefore, ask for it 5-7 weeks before the application deadline. Then, they will have ample time to write, revise, and submit a convincing recommendation.
While preparing other application documents, ensure that your recommender writes an impactful letter. Using the following tips will get you a great letter of recommendation and significantly increase your admission chances.