What is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)?

What is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)?

What is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)?
Ashma Shrestha

A well-written Letter of Recommendation can help you get admission into your dream university, especially if those universities are US or Canada based. A LOR is also called a reference letter. 

So, what is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)?

A Letter of Recommendation is ideally written by professors who know you and your experiences well. LOR will describe you apart from your academics from the eyes of your referees. 

Before offering you a seat in their programs, universities could want to hear about you from the professors of people you have known during your academic or work journey. This is precisely where a LOR comes in handy.

Countless Universities ask for 1-3 letters of recommendation as an application requirement. Some universities ask for the referees' official email addresses (the organisation's email). Some universities could also ask for a letter of recommendation on the organisation's official letterhead. 

Who can write a Letter of Recommendation for you? 

Universities rarely specify who should provide you with a letter of recommendation. Nevertheless, it’s best to get recommendations from recommenders who know you directly. 

This could be your teacher, supervisor, Lab master, Head of the Department, Principal, Mentor, Office Senior, Manager, Client and so on.

Another thing to remember is to ask for recommendations from recent jobs or academic journeys. For instance, if you are applying for a Master's degree program, it’s better if you get a teacher with a Bachelor's degree to write a recommendation letter than a teacher you knew in secondary school. 

Some institutions may ask for your recommendation letter, especially from your college's concerned teacher or senior authority, like the principal or coordinator.

But in most cases, one recommendation from your college counsellor and another from your teachers will be okay.

Need for a Recommendation Letter

A Recommendation Letter adds value to your application and is vital in convincing the admission department. 

These are the reasons why you should draft a strong recommendation letter. 

  • It can better your chances of getting admission.
  • It can help you get scholarships and financial aid. 
  • Recommendation letters can also thicken your chance of getting a VISA. 

Types of Letters of Recommendations

Universities mainly ask for 2 kinds of LOR depending on the program you are applying for. 

Academic Letter of Recommendation

Most of the universities and programs ask for academic letters of recommendation. Academic LORs are composed of professors, teachers, counsellors, and faculty heads. Unless it is for specific programs or applicants have tremendous experience (around 10 years), applicants need to submit atleast 2 academic LOR in most cases. 

Academic LOR pours light on your academic history, projects during college, extracurricular activities, research skills, etc. 

Professional Letter of Recommendation

The Professional Letter of Recommendation is composed by someone from your workplace. This could be your manager, mentor, supervisor, clients, etc. 

A professional letter of recommendation is asked for MBA courses, EMBA Courses, project management courses, Law, medicine and so on. 

A professional LOR elaborates on professional behaviour, leadership qualities, teamwork, career development, etc. 

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

The letter of Recommendation needs to be personalized without being too elaborate. These are some sets of guidelines you can follow to draft a good LOR. 

  • Choose a recommender who knew you personally. This could be your teacher, manager, professor, supervisor, mentor etc. An effective way to start the reference letter would be to enlighten the recommender’s relationship with the student he/she recommends. They could be a faculty head, supervisor, university dean, head of department, teacher and so on. 
  • Keep in mind that LOR should not be a repetition of SOP. Your reference letter needs to show you from someone else’s perspective. So, dwelling too much on your academics or accomplishments is a huge no. 
  • LOR should abstractly represent someone else’s instances in your work. It’s always better to mention the direct observations in LOR. 
  • The recommender should write on the attributes that would make the students an excellent fit for the program they are applying to without sounding like their advocate. 
  • Rather than dwelling just on adjectives, writing about the experience which made you feel that way will be a big plus. 
  • Since your transcripts will already have your grades and scores, try to avoid them in LORs. 
  • Avoid composing a vague or congested LOR. 

Letter of Recommendation from Professor for Master's degree 

LOR Example

I have known [Your Full Name] since the second year of his Bachelor's degree at [University Name]. During this time, I have monitored [Your name] as a lecturer in the classroom, supervisor in projects and examiner in exams. Throughout this time, I realised that [Your name] is a sharp, insightful and quick student with an acute interest in mathematics and Data.

The serious passion and willingness to learn more about the subject make [Your name] a fantastic fit for your program, which demands assiduous and persistent students. As a supervisor in the main project of his Bachelor, [Your name]’s attention to detail and knowledge of the essential thing was evident to me. He was quick to ask questions in case of questions, collaborate with team members and walk the extra mile for the betterment of his projects. He also has a paper published for this project, which is undoubtedly a great accomplishment at such a young age. 

[Your name] was also one of the brightest students academically in the classrooms. As a lecturer l, I found him diligent and knowledge-hungry in class. He was well attentive in class and had even better practical skills. 

Other than that, his ability to research is also very applaudable. Along with his project group, [Your name]  always ensured the reports and progress cards were submitted beforehand. He was earnest regarding the feedback and would learn very quickly.

The skill [Your name]  has shown under my supervision, be it true collaboration and integration with others, teaching himself about statistics and algorithms, endless curiosity and his willingness to break the stereotypes and take risks to add merit to [Your name]’s profile. 

So, he has my highest recommendation at your revered institute.

[Professor Name]

[ University Name]

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