Getting asked to write a recommendation letter can be flattering and challenging. Flattering in the sense that the requesting party trusts you enough to write the letter; however, it is still challenging because you want to make sure that you write a recommendation letter that would make the requester look good and qualified to be in graduate school. You certainly do not want the requester to lose his/her chances of being granted admission for further studies.
We are here to help you out with this predicament by giving you tips for writing an effective academic recommendation letter. We will give you a step-by-step guide to writing a recommendation letter that would honestly attest to the requester’s characteristics and strong points, and would certainly increase his/her chances of getting admitted. We have also included a few sample graduate school recommendation letters that would be good references for when you start writing a recommendation letter. Continue reading this article to check out the guide, tips, and samples that we have just for you.
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Writing Guidelines for Graduate School Recommendation Letters
If it is your first time to write a recommendation letter, you might be baffled and be at a loss for words. It might take you a long time to finish one. Heck, it might even take you forever to start one! You need not to worry though. We are pretty sure that you are not the only one struggling on how to come up with a well-written school recommendation letter. We know, it is nerve-racking to write one for the first time since you do not want to end up with a mediocre one and you surely do not want to say anything wrong. Worry not, though, as we have a basic guideline that could help you get a head start with writing this important letter.
One thing you may want to consider first when it comes to accepting a request for writing a recommendation letter is if you know the person well. Think about it this way: how will you be able to write an honest review about someone if you do not know anything about him/her? If you know you can talk about a person’s character on a personal and professional level, then it is a good start.
If you think you are confident enough to attest to the requester’s professionalism and ethics, then you are ready to start writing the letter. Here’s a quick guideline for writing a good recommendation letter.
- Fish for important information from the requester. Ask him/her to give you a copy of his/her application forms. You can even ask to set a meeting in order to talk about what he/she wants you to talk about. The information that you will get from the interview or the supplementary materials will be your guide to making sure that the recommendation letter you are writing is tailor-fitted to the purpose it is intended for.
- Highlight the requester’s best traits. Make sure to let the admissions committee know what sets the requester apart from the other applicants. Let them know why the requester deserves to be admitted in the school. Provide specific examples that would attest to the strengths you will mention in the letter.
- Make use of professional language. You do not have to make use of flowery or complicated words. Simple and easy-to-understand language is preferred. This ensures that the reader will easily understand what you mean, plus, it will be easier for you to describe the candidate if you do not make use of ambiguous and complicated words. However, you should make sure that you describe the candidate in full detail so as not to miss any relevant detail.
- Let the reader know that the candidate will be a good addition to the school’s environment. The admissions committee wants a candidate that is well-rounded and will be able give valuable contributions to the class. Mention things that is not found in the candidate’s resume or application forms. The more you describe the candidate, the better the admission’s team will be able to envision what a great addition he/she will be to the student body.
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Now that you have written the letter, it is time to send it over to the admissions committee. Make sure that you meet the deadline and that you follow the guidelines that they have given. It will also depend on you if you want to show your letter to the candidate or otherwise. However, a ton of times, writers would feel much comfortable keeping the contents confidential.
The importance of writing a strong recommendation letter is pretty obvious: you want to make sure that the candidate has a good chance of becoming a part of the school’s environment. You also want to make sure that you let the candidate know once you have already sent the application to the school. Let him/her know that you are definitely rooting for him/her and that you wish him/her the best of luck! It may not have been easy for you to come up with that letter but rest assured that you just did someone a huge favor. You have just helped someone out get closer to their goals. Hope we have been of great help! Cheers!
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