How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation For Graduate School | Tips And Tricks

Published: 12 Mar, 2022

How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation For Graduate School | Tips And Tricks

As a teacher or mentor to students, it’s your goal to ensure students succeed in their education goals. Part of that will involve writing a killer letter of recommendation. In fact, most graduate schools require applicants to submit at least two letters of recommendation. 

Without a well-written recommendation, the student's chances of getting into a graduate school of their choice are low. To remove any guesswork here is the most helpful information about how to write a graduate letter of recommendation, including tips and tricks.

Who Should Write A Letter Of Recommendation For Grad School?

Professors, mentors, supervisors, and advisors are people who should write grad school recommendation letters. Overall, the person you choose should know you well to say impressive things about you as a student.
If you have held a research position, consider asking the professor who was in charge of the project. If you have been requested to submit two recommendations, ensure one of them is from a current or past professor or even an academic advisor. This is because someone who has interacted with you on an academic level will most probably know your achievements, education goals, and strengths. 
Crucial criteria you should have in mind when considering who to ask for a letter of recommendation are:

  • The person should personally know you well and hold a favorable view of you.
  • The person should have spent quality time outside the classroom yet understands your career goals.
  • The person should be able to talk about your strengths, especially concerning the graduate program you intend to pursue.
  • The person has known you for years or several months; hence they have seen you succeed in an academic and extracurricular setting or even professionally.

Can an employer write a letter of recommendation for grad school? Yes. An employer is a great recommender but should be a second option after a professor. Just ensure your employer understands most of the graduate program details that you intend to apply for because universities expect the letter to reflect academic skills, achievements, and other abilities relevant to the graduate program. 

For example, if you are applying for a master’s program in a subject related to business, the best reference letter should come from a supervisor in a business department. A professor and supervisor are the best people to ask for a letter of recommendation because the professor can speak to your academic and career goals as well your strength in the classroom. On the other hand, a supervisor will know more about your work ethic and experience. 

How to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Just because the professor likes you doesn’t mean they will accept to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school. Some students even mistake asking for the recommendation a few days before the deadline. 

Note that many referees have difficulty writing letters of recommendation because they are busy, have language issues, or don’t know the format to use. So ensure you ask months in advance, and the right way is to do it in person. 

If you can’t ask in person sending a well-crafted professional email is the second-best option. In both scenarios, remember to be polite, respectful, and considerate of other people's time when making the request. 

What Should a Graduate School Letter Of Recommendation Include?

Even if the person writing the letter knows you well, you should also give them crucial information that should be included in the recommendation, such as:

  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Academic transcripts
  • A document highlighting the experiences you have shared
  • A brief highlight of your internships, work experience, or research projects pursued
  • A list of your awards and achievements
  • Academic and career goals
  • Details about the graduate program you intend to apply for

Apart from the background information, ensure the recommenders know the graduate program application due date and instructions for submitting the letter, for example, if it should be in soft or hard copy. 

How Do You Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Master’s Student?

If you are writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school for the first time, the process can be nerve-wracking; after all, you want to present the person who asked you in the best way possible. Just follow these guidelines, and you will know how to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school.

Use the Essay Structure

The recommendation letter for grad school should be well structured to ensure the information flows in a logical order. Start with an introduction where you greet the recipient and state your relationship with the applicant. The body section should give the positive skills or traits and evidence. 
The recommender should use an anecdote to make the letter interesting while ensuring they convince the committee that you are indeed the best candidate for the program. The body should also mention educational backgrounds, achievements, relevant extracurricular activities, and personality traits. 
The closing paragraph should further vouch for the applicant without introducing new information. Lastly, give your contact details and add a signature. 

Include Examples

Rather than giving a list of achievements and skills, include examples to back up what you say. This is the best way for the committee to believe you. For example, say they have excellent research skills and give examples of research projects that they completed or helped in. Don’t forget to pinpoint exceptional traits, as they can help the applicant stand out. 

Use a Formal tone and Active Voice

Even though a letter of recommendation is personalized, it should be formal. It should not be boring, too flowery, or have clichés. Keep it within a page and be detailed as possible. Finally, double-check the submission guidelines to ensure you have fulfilled all of them.

If you are a recommender, you must master the art of writing an impressive letter of recommendation for graduate school. With this post as your guide, the writing process has been simplified because you will know the key elements to include. 

However, if you are a referee/recommender having difficulties crafting a stellar recommendation for a student who wants to pursue graduate studies, you don’t have to worry. We have professionals who are adept at writing top-notch recommendations for students at any academic level. Contact us now and let us help you.
 

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