What is a Letter of Recommendation?
Letter of Recommendation (LoR) helps the admission committee know about your technical, academic and non-academic expertise through your recommender. The content in the recommendation is extremely important. So, choose your recommenders wisely. There are certain areas on which the universities expect you to be rated by your receommender. They are as follows:
- Current standing in your undergraduate class
- Comparison with the students who have gone for graduation in the same university
- Communication skills (Oral and written skills)
- How well he understands the subject
- Teaching Potential
- Emotional Maturity
- Recommendation with Financial aid or not
- How strongly they recommend you (Very strongly, strongly, moderately, etc.)
Who can give me an LoR?
Usually, the recommenders are from your undergraduate institute (your respective department especially) and work/internship place (if any). So, does designation of the recommender matter? Honestly, it does. You can’t take a recommendation from a teacher who has just joined the institution and has an experience of a year or two. An LoR from your institution’s dean or principal holds a lot of weightage. An LoR from the company’s manager makes a difference. In most applications, following are the recommenders -
- Your final year project guide
- Professor who has taught you during your undergrad course and you have scored well in that subject
- Any project guide/companies you have worked
- Project Managers/Corporate Officials where you've worked/interned.
Recommendations cannot be given by:
- Any random personality you met in a conference
- It would be great if you can get an LoR from a Math Professor if you are applying for a Financial Engineering course.
- 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 good about you (if you succeed, lucky you). Always remember, they are doing a favour to you.
How should a Letter of Recommendation be drafted?
Generally, all universities expect you to give three LoRs. Moreover, a letter of recommendation should ideally be drafted by the recommender himself/herself. Unfortunately, every recommender is so lazy and less interested that the applicant is forced to draft on it's own and will finally be moderated by the recommender.
Now, the next question will be - what should I write in my LoR? So we enumerate the following points:
- First Para: Write about your recommender’s qualification and the time since s/he knows you and is serving the institution.
- Second Para: Highlight your academic details under that teacher, how you have performed in his/her subject. Write marks and more importantly write it in percentage (Example: s/he stands in the top 5% of the class)
- Third Para: This will vary from recommender to recommender. If you're taking one from the project guide, you can describe about the project and your incredible role in the same. Similar is the case with publications, presentations, internships and work experience.
- Fourth Para: Please flaunt as much as you can in this paragraph. This is the extracurricular section, so write about all your achievements in the last three years (Event Head, worked for this and that committee, Sports, etc.)
- Last Para: Keep it small (say 2-3 lines) and it should conclude the above points and tell the university to grant him admission along with Financial aid.
- Bottom Left of Your Draft: Your teacher’s name, signature & stamp, qualification and his/her post in the current institution/company.
Warning: Don’t make the LoR so exceptional that you are the best student in India. Make it quite real and cover the above mentioned points.
NOTE: Split the content in the LoRs so that all three are different from each other.