LOR (Letter of Recommendation):- A complete guide

Many top universities of the world require LOR for admission. Know more about LOR in Detail ....

Tasmeet Singh
Tasmeet Singh

Jun 06, 2020 04:18:14

LOR (Letter of Recommendation) A Complete Guide-.png

What is a Letter of Recommendation?

The letter of recommendation is a document that provides the admission committee with a comprehensive insight into the applicants. It is also known as Letter of Reference or LOR in short. The aim of this letter is to enable the admission authorities with a clear picture of the experience, achievements, skills, etc of the candidate. It can be said that this a great tool to showcase the most impactful information about the applicant. The LOR needs to be short, crisp, and to the point to have the best impact.

Types of LOR:

There are three basic categories or recommendation letters:

  1. Academic Recommendation

  2. Employment Recommendation

  3. Character Recommendation.

Here is an overview of each type of recommendation letter along with the information on who uses them and why.

Academic Recommendation Letters

A letter of recommendation provided by the faculty of previous institute. They are typically used by students during admission process. Usually, universities ask two or three recommendation letters from each applicants. Students might request recommendations from former teachers, principals and other educational professionals who are familiar with student’s academic experience and extra-curricular activities.

Employment Recommendation Letters

            Letters of recommendation for employment is a major tool of an individual who is trying to get a new job. Generally, employment recommendation letters include information about employment history, job performance, and personal accomplishments. The letters are usually written by employer or a direct supervisor.

Character Recommendation Letters

Character recommendation letters are often used for housing accommodations, legal situations, child adoption, and other similar situations where understanding a person's character is important. Almost everyone needs this type of recommendation letter at some point in their life. These recommendation letters are often written by former employers, landlords, business associate etc.

 Factors on which the universities expect you to be rated by your recommender are as follows

  1. Communication skills (Oral and written skills)

  2. Creativity

  3. How well you understand the subject

  4. Teaching Potential

  5. Emotional Maturity

  6. How strongly they recommend you (Very strongly, strongly, moderately, etc.)

How to write a Recommendation Letter (LOR)?

There are few points to be kept in mind while writing a letter of recommendation. These points help the admissions committee to get a detailed insight on the applicant. Unless and otherwise specified, a letter of recommendation is a 400-500 word essay that talks about the candidate's strengths and weakness.  Few points that letter of recommendation should contain are:

  1. LOR should carry assessment of your eligibility and suitability for the course or program. Emphasis should be more on suitability. For example, the recommender should mention how you performed in class about a relative course of interest or rank position like top 3 or top 1% of the class/university. 

  2. A brief explanation about their relationship with you. The letter should mention about how long have they known you and in what capacity have you interacted – mentor, faculty, teacher, supervisor or colleague.

  3. The recommendation letter should mention about the qualities and unique contributions.

  4. A recommendation letter should never mention any grades or scores of competitive tests unless required. These are already mentioned in your application and repeating them in an LOR is not necessary.

  5. You must always remember that the Admission Committee scurries through thousands of applications and yours is one of them. Now, in order to stand out, focus on including your qualities and accomplishments in the LOR.

Key Points to Remember



Be sure with the information that is mentioned in the LOR is no different than your original information.

Do not take a LOR from the family members.

Highlight the projects/work done under the guidance of the recommender.

Do not write information that are contradictory.

Highlight your overall personality and profile through various examples.

Don’t lie in case of projects/experience.

Try to specify as how you would be benefited from the course that you are willing to pursue.

Don’t repeat the points that are in the resume.

Write a couple of qualities that you demonstrated during your association with the recommender.

Don’t use unenthusiastic languages.


Choosing the Right Recommender for LOR

There might be many recommenders from whom you can get a Recommendation Letter. But choosing the best recommender is important. Usually, the recommenders are from your undergraduate institute and work/internship place (if any).

Generally, a good Letter of Recommendation is one given by:

  1. Your final year project guide

  2. The professor who has taught you during your course and you have scored well in that subject

  3. Any project guide/companies you have worked

  4. Project Managers/Corporate Officials where you've worked/interned.

Recommendations cannot be given by:

  1. Peers/Friends/Relatives/Parents

  2. Any random personality you met in a conference


  1. It would be great if you can get a LOR from a professor of a subject relevant to your masters. For example, Science Professor if you are applying for an Engineering course

  2. Make sure that you are on good terms with your recommenders. If not, then try improving them. Learn Buttering. Don’t force your teachers to write well about you. Always remember, they are doing a favor to you.

Who needs LOR? Why do they need them?

Any student going for higher studies requires an academic letter of recommendation. Irrespective of course (UG, MS, MBA, or Ph.D.), every student requires at least three letters of recommendation from either their college or professional background. For UG, students, LORs can be taken from teachers, professors, or principals. For MS students, college professors, internships supervisor, or team lead/ manager from the company they have worked in can issue recommendation letters. For MBA students, LORs should be purely professional, especially, if they have an experience of three years or more. For MBA and Ph.D. aspirants who have recently graduated from college, they can ask for recommendation letters from their college professors or project guides.

Letter of Recommendation Template (LOR)

Below are some of the writing tips:

  1. First Para: About your recommender’s qualification and the time since he/she knows you and is serving the institution.

  2. Second Para: Highlights of your academic details under that teacher, how you have performed in his/her subject. Marks should be mentioned and more importantly a relative percentage.

  3. Third Para: This will vary from recommender to recommender. If you're taking one from the project guide, s/he can describe about the project and your incredible role in the same. Similar is the case with publications, presentations, internships and work experience.

  4. Fourth Para: About extra-curricular activities: should cover all your achievements (Event Head, worked for this and that committee, Sports, etc.). Please display as much as you can in this paragraph.

  5. Last Para: Small para (say 2-3 lines) and it should conclude the above points and tell the university to grant him admission.

  6. Bottom Left of Your Draft: Your recommender's name, signature & stamp, qualification, and his/her post in the current institution/company.

LOR is accepted for the course like MBA in USA, MBA in UK and MBA in Canada

 What kind of information does the recommender need from me for the LOR?

 If your recommender is willing to write the LOR himself/herself, then you should provide them with the following data:

  • Your resume (this should contain all your experience in the college/firm). This will help him/her to write accordingly.

  • The name of your target university and a link to their website/department website. It is a good idea to share with them the programme and course name as well.

  • Personal characteristics you would like them to talk about.

  • Specific achievements you would like them to mention.

Why Are Recommendation Letters Important?

As almost every applicant needs to submit 2-3 recommendation letters, you must have your recommenders identified and agreed to prepare your letter well in time. Also, do not underrate the importance of a LOR as it is almost as important as your admission essays, statements of purpose, resume or any other document for that matter. A Letter of Recommendation is the document that provides credibility to your whole profile as it strong support of your profile from experienced and learned professors and persons.

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