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All about Letter of Recommendations (LOR)

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So, if you’ve ever done research on the documents required to apply to universities abroad, you’re definitely aware that the Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a crucial component of the paperwork required for university applications. They are usually two types: Academic or Professional LOR.

 It is a document that gives the admissions committees a thorough understanding of your application. LORs are typically written by a dependable source who attests to your experience, skills, knowledge, and accomplishments, such as your employer or a professor from your college. Also as most universities demand that this letter be written on the employer’s or academic institution’s official letterhead, make sure yours is. It depends on the university you’re applying to whether they require one LOR or two or three LORS. Additionally, make sure to choose a person who considers your academic and professional achievements for a considerable amount of time rather than someone who barely knows you.

Since, your teacher/ employer is recommending you, it is best that you remind them about your achievements relevant to your field of study.  Also tell them about your work and the universities and courses you are applying to.

Lastly, make sure select the right recommender and that your LORs aren’t similar to each other whether it’s academic or professional.

Recommendation do’s

The best recommendation letters provide some idea of who the person is — the whole person. Is the student intellectually curious, articulate or creative, do they have positive character traits? Keep it concise. Summarize in one sentence how you know the student, identify their strengths, and provide 1-2 examples or stories. Use concrete examples, not generalizations. Tell stories that illustrate the student’s character. If you know what major the student is looking at, you can incorporate details of why that student would be a good fit for that major and career path. Make each letter unique. Omit any statement that could apply to several or all of the students you may be recommending.

How to structure a letter of recommendation

This is a business letter, so it should have a business structure, and be no longer than one page.  Here’s what should be included in a letter of recommendation:

The body of the letter

Many counselors recommend beginning with a statement of how you know the student (did you teach them in a subject, coach them in a sport or supervise them in an internship?) and for how long you’ve known them. Use the student’s full name in the first mention, then just the first name. Then, in two paragraphs, include specifics such as these:

Relate a story or incident that demonstrates the student’s character: personal strengths, intellectual interests, integrity or leadership ability. If the student has experienced disappointment or failure, how did they react? Describe the student’s personality. How do they interact with teachers and peers? What will you remember most about this student?

Direct recommendation

Conclude with a sincere statement recommending the student to the specific college or university. If the student is sending the letter to a single institution, mention the school in your conclusion.

The closing

Using the student’s full name again, encourage the college to contact you with any further questions. Close with “Best regards,” and include your title and school after your typed name and signature.

A memorable letter of recommendation can go a long way toward helping students reach their academic and life goals.