Letter of Recommendation

Letter of Recommendation: Everything you need to know

By Edvoy• Last updated: Apr 9, 2024
Letter of Recommendation: Everything you need to know
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When applying for a place at a university, a letter of recommendation is required to support your application. It should help convince the admissions board that you are a good fit for their university on an academic and personal level.

While students think these letters are easy to obtain and submit, LORs involve a meticulous process and contribute majorly to the admission of your preferred university.

So, ensure you acquire the perfect recommendation letter for submission. In this article, we’ll take you through the key points of writing a letter of recommendation, with tips on format and some useful sample templates too!

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What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a written document by the applicant’s acquaintance who knows them academically or professionally. The letter would highlight the student’s academic abilities, achievements, personal traits and ambitions. Its purpose is to support every aspect of the student and enhance their credibility.

The person who writes the letter of recommendation should be a senior figure who can vouch for the student, such as a teacher, career counsellor, or student advisor.

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Importance of a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

Like SOP, academic transcripts, and other required documents, a LOR also plays a significant role in your admission process. Here’s why your LORs are important.

  • The letters pose an opportunity to validate your qualities and academic skills.
  • They enhance your credibility during admission.
  • The letters offer the selection committee a different, insightful perspective.
  • They demonstrate the quality of the relationship between the student and the person writing the LOR.

How to write a letter of recommendation (LOR)?

We’ve written an article on writing a letter of recommendation, which you should take a moment to read, but here are some quick pointers.

  • Get the relevant information you need
  • Know who to address it to
  • Talk up the student in a positive light
  • Explain why you are in a good position to talk about them
  • Keep it brief
  • Offer to write in detail if the reader wishes

Types of letters of recommendation

LORs are not just for the higher education sector. These letters reflect the person’s talent, skills, and qualities from their trusted acquaintance’s perspective. Here are the three types of recommendation letters.

1. Academic

These LORs are for students from their faculty, mentor, advisor, or other people well aware of their academic life.

2. Employment

These documents are for people looking for job opportunities. The person’s previous manager usually writes these letters of recommendation.

3. Character

These LORs reflect more of their personal life, emphasising their quality and character traits. People seek this type of letter for certain law-related circumstances, adoptions, and so on.

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Letter of recommendation length and format

The letter of recommendation should be around 300-400 words, so it must be concise! As for the best recommendation format, around 4-5 paragraphs is ideal. Here’s a brief indicator of what you ought to include in each:

  • Paragraph 1 - Introduce yourself, explain your relationship with the student, and why you’re writing.
  • Paragraphs 2 & 3 - Talk about the student's achievements, character and potential.
  • Paragraph 4 - Briefly summarise why you highly recommend the student.
  • Paragraph 5 - Let the reader know how to contact you should they want to discuss the student further, before signing off your letter.

Also read: The best letter of recommendation format to follow

What should a letter of recommendation include?

As well as including reasons why you would recommend the student (academic, skills-based and personal), the letter of recommendation should also include information about the writer and why they’re in a good position to talk about the applicant. Finally, it should include the writer’s contact information should the admissions team wish to contact them.

Explore: 3 Best Letter of Recommendations Samples

How to request a letter of recommendation?

Most senior teachers, student advisors and careers counsellors have written plenty of these letters before and will gladly help. However, don’t take it for granted! Make sure to ask them well in advance, either in person or by email.

The most important point when asking someone for a LOR is to make it easy for them!

Give them all the information they need on your academic achievements and any extracurricular activities you took part in that will help your cause. As well as this, let them know your future ambitions, as they will be able to use this to build your case.

Letter of recommendation sample

Here’s one we prepared earlier! If you’re in any doubt about writing a letter of recommendation, feel free to use this as a launch pad for your own. We wouldn’t say this is the best letter of recommendation example, but it’s pretty good!

Also read: 5 sample letters of recommendation for students

Here are a few more samples of letters of recommendation (LOR). All these are vetted by our expert study abroad counsellors at Edvoy. We’ve just written it so that you can see how to bring all the elements together in a succinct, concise and effective way!

Frequently asked questions

What is LOR's full form?

LOR stands for Letter of Recommendation in the higher education sector.

Why is LOR required?

Here’s why you need an LOR for admission into universities abroad.

  • To validate your qualities and academic skills.
  • To enhance your profile’s credibility.
  • To offer a different, insightful perspective of you.
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How do I get a LOR certificate?

You can request a LOR from your professor, academic advisor, research mentor, team leader or manager. Ensure the person you approach knows about you from an academic and professional standpoint. Then explain the need for the letter before they start working on it.

Who should I take LOR from?

You can get your academic LOR from your university mentor, professor, and student advisor. If you have work experience, you can also request the letter from your team leader or manager.

What are SOP and LOR?

Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letter of Recommendation (LOR) are two mandatory requirements for students applying to study abroad. The SOP is a letter you have to craft reflecting your personal strength, passion, and achievements and explaining why you wish to study at the preferred university.

Whereas, an LOR is by your acquaintance who knows you academically or professionally. The letter they write would highlight your academic abilities, achievements, personal traits and ambitions and convey why you would be a great student at the university.

Can I get admission without LOR?

Although some universities do not require a letter of recommendation from their applicants, LORs play a vital role in the admission process and are a mandatory requirement in most educational institutions.

How do you write an LOR for students?

Here are the factors you should highlight and explain while writing a LOR for students.

  • Academic abilities
  • Academic achievements
  • Personal traits
  • Ambitions and passion

How many words should a LOR be?

A letter of recommendation can be between 300-400 words, around 4-5 paragraphs.

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