Graduate School Recommendation Letter

A graduate school letter of recommendation highlights the graduate’s positive qualities to the admissions committee. This letter covers the applicant’s academic aspirations, shows their area of interest, and lists their achievements. The form also covers the applicant’s background in volunteering, participation in various programs and projects, and interaction with mentors.

Please stay on the page to learn how to create this letter and how it looks. You can submit several letters of recommendation, but keep an eye on their quality so that they all reveal your academic potential to the commission. Each letter should not repeat a piece of information but give a new one.

Who Writes Recommendations and Why?

The admissions committee requests a letter of recommendation for graduate school to understand whether this candidate is a worthy graduate student. Therefore, the author of this essay should list all the advantages of the person in a concise and structured manner. Please note that the ratio of parts covering professional and personal characteristics may differ depending on university requirements, so confirm the rules on their official website.

The author of the recommendation can be a teacher or a supervisor. The letter includes a description of the applicant, that is, their ability to cope with specific tasks. Whether it is academic or job tasks, mention them and identify the applicant’s personal qualities that help them cope. The applicant can also write this letter—in this case, the letter is called a “statement of purpose.”

If you are an applicant, do not hesitate to ask one of your mentors for a letter of recommendation. Since it is a common practice, your request does not mean that you are seeking a good opinion of yourself. Of course, the form lists reasons why you should be selected. However, if any of the people you request is unwilling or too busy, simply turn to another worthy author.

You can make an oral or email request for a recommendation. Remember to specify the university and the program you want to join.

How to Write a Grad School Letter of Recommendation?

Regardless of the author of the letter, the applicable rules are the same. The structure consists of an introduction, main part, and conclusion.

Below is the general structure of the free letter of recommendation for student template. For more information, please refer to the university’s website.

1. Heading

Write your name and contact details, address, and phone number. Below that, specify the name and location of the institution you represent.

2. Introduction

Indicate how long you have known the applicant and the nature of your relationship. If you are writing about yourself, describe how eager you are to get into this program and why you deserve it.

3. Main Body

Describe the applicant’s education or place of occupation. Demonstrate how their academic profile or work tasks are related to the graduate school program, specifying the average score that the applicant maintained during their studies. Provide other evidence, such as certificates and the opinion of professors or colleagues. Remember to mention the internships they attended and jobs they have done, specifying where and the duration. Reveal in detail the relationship between the internship and the academic program.

Emphasize that the applicant is very keen on the graduate school program, confirming the information with examples. This rhetoric is very convincing.

4. Conclusion

The last paragraph once again emphasizes the link between the previous academic program or job with the graduate program. Demonstrate that the applicant’s career is consistent and well thought out. Prove that they have a specific target and are willing to work to achieve it. In the last sentence, be sure to indicate that you are ready to give additional information via email or by phone.

5. Signature

At the end of the letter, thank the reader and write your name and signature.

These are the general rules on how to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school. These parts should be present in any letter, but there are clarifications in the details. To understand how to write the letter perfectly, you should refer to the chosen university’s website. The requirements for letters of recommendation for grad school are usually listed here in detail. For instance, Princeton University provides a complete explanation about the number and content of the letters.

What to Do and Not to Do

Let us summarize what is worth doing and what to avoid. Whether you are a mentor or an applicant, keep the following points in mind.

What you should do:

  • Indicate a previous academic program
  • Provide full names of all the certificates, internships, and courses
  • Show a deep desire and need to join the new program
  • Build a holistic and consistent educational track

What you should avoid:

  • Inaccurate links to projects and programs
  • Uncertainty about goals and doubts about the academic future
  • Isolation of education from work

These three samples from different authors and various programs show how to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school.

Sample 1

Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School From a Supervisor

To whom it may concern:

As ____________ (indicate your status) in____________ (specify the institution’s name), I have the pleasure of knowing ____________ (full graduate’s name) for ____________ (specify period). He/she demonstrated outstanding qualities as a student, including,___________ (list the features). I am honored to be able to recommend ____________ (graduate’s name) for your graduate program ____________ (name the program).

Throughout his/her time at ___________(specify the institution’s name), he/she demonstrated a steady interest  in studying ____________ (specify the graduate’s area of interest). He/she received a number of approvals and certificates for ____________ (name what for). He/she also demonstrated leadership skills throughout the entire training period. This is indicated by his/her participation in ____________ (specify something like a conference name.

During his/her studies, __________ (graduate’s name) attended an internship ____________ (name the internship) for ____________ (determine the period, for example, a term). He/she also underwent an exchange program to ____________ (the country or state, the name of the university).

This is why I strive to highly recommend ____________ (graduate’s name) for admission to ____________ (name the program). I am sure that their abilities will be an asset to your institution. If you want to know more, do not hesitate to call ____________ (phone number) or email ____________ (provide address) me.

Sample 2

Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School from an Employer

Dear Admissions Committee,

I was a supervisor of ____________ (full graduate’s name) at ____________ (name of internship or company) for ____________ (specify the duration). I was impressed by his/her ability to thoroughly perform various tasks ____________ (name the activities that your subordinate did).

During this term ____________ (graduate’s name) demonstrated ability to manage challenges under pressure effectively. His/her main qualities are perseverance and patience, both when working independently and interacting with colleagues. Owing to ____________ (list certain graduate’s features), our team successfully tackled tasks such as ____________ (indicate specific tasks and goals).

I was impressed by the ____________ (graduate’s name) ability to combine several targets during the working day. Although his/her primary job was ____________ (point out graduate’s main activity), he/she successfully coped with ____________ (list additional tasks). He/she was always reliable, and even when I was away from work, I knew that he would follow the planned course.

____________ (Graduate’s name)’s meticulousness and diligence make him/her one of the most diligent employees. I am sincerely convinced that his/her qualities will justly assure him/her a place among your graduate students. Since I am ready to tell you more on ____________ (graduate’s name), am waiting for your call at ____________ (indicate your phone number) or email ____________ (enter your email address).

Sample 3

Letter of Recommendation for Masters Program from an Employer

To whom it may concern:

I have the great pleasure to recommend ____________ (full graduate’s name) for ____________ (indicate the master’s program). He/she worked in ____________ (specify the place of work) during ____________ (point out the term). He/she demonstrated outstanding insistence, accuracy, and professionalism in handling various tasks.

____________ (Graduate’s name) knows precisely how to formulate a goal and understands how to achieve it. He/she is patient in developing projects and always gets the work done on time. In our organization ____________ (graduate’s name) was engaged in ____________ (name the type of activity). In this area, he/she sought to enhance his/her professionalism and broaden their horizons. During his/her work, he/she attended advanced training courses ____________ (enter the full course names).

In addition to ____________ (graduate’s name) professional qualities, he/she demonstrated exceptional personal traits. He/she partook in the organization of large corporate events, which indicates a leadership spirit. I have never witnessed his/her conflicts with colleagues or superiors. As an employer, I consider ____________ (graduate’s name) to be the best subordinate who is responsible for his/her duties and perfectly realizes the rules of teamwork.

So, I am deeply convinced that ____________ (graduate’s name) is worthy of studying in your master program. All listed skills are the guarantee of my words. If you would like to know more about the character of my employee, please contact me by phone ____________ (input the number) or via email ____________ (write the address).

Key Takeaways

Thus, when you write a letter of recommendation for graduate school, do not restrain yourself in listing the positive qualities of the person you describe. Use as many actual links as possible. Indicate conferences, internships, and courses. Do not provide false references or events that did not happen. The admissions committee has a skill in reading such letters and understands whether what you write is true.

If you are writing a statement of purpose, try to prove that you are highly interested in the graduate program. Show that you have been working towards this goal for a long time. Demonstrate that all your achievements are more or less related to the content of this program. Academically speaking, convince the reader that you have the knowledge and skills in this area and are ready to improve your qualifications further.

Published: May 20, 2021