5 Tips for a Great Recommendation Letter for Your Master’s Application

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Your academic credentials and your resume are often not enough to fetch you a place in the Masters in Business programs. For admission to one of the premier business schools in USA like the Stanford, MIT or the Wharton,it is the LOR and your essay that carries great weight when your candidature is evaluated. While the recommendationletter projects what others think of your achievements, character and qualifications as a fit candidate, the essay is your candid self-assessment.

What is Letter of Recommendation meant for?

Many universities have a clear focus on what it is looking for in the right candidate; many do not. It is thus imperative to check out the right inputs in the LOR that will highlight the right attributes to fetch you admission.

Who is the right person to write you a LOR?

Depending on your program, universities often specify the right source – your professor or the employer, or both. The contents of the recommendation letter from your professor will highlight your academic skills and achievements while your employer will focus on your skills that are relevant to the business program. It is sensible to seek a LORfrom a person who you know well for at least six months.

Who to avoid for a LOR?

Since the recommendation letter serves a specific purpose, it is crucial to understand who are not qualified to issue you the LOR. It makes no sense to ask for a recommendation letter from:

  • Someone who is not acquainted with your academic credentials and work experience.
  • Someone who may not incorporate favorable inputs.

It helps if your benefactor has closely worked with you and an expert in the domain you are interested. Similarly the employer should provide inputs relevant to the program.

Learn about the structure of your recommendation letter?

Scan a recommendation letter sample, and you get to know what the structure of an ideal recommendation letter should be. The essential components are:

  • Introduction: The referee will introduce himself and your relation and impression about you.
  • Content: It will highlight why you are a fit candidate.
  • Closing: Standard closing phrases vouching for your candidature.

5 Tips for a good Recommendation Letter:

  1. Get your diverse achievements mentioned: It is ideal to get recommendation letter from two referees highlighting different aspects of personality, achievements and academic potential.
  2. Provide relevant info: Even if your referee is well known to you, he may miss out on some critical information. It is sensible to provide him with the inputs to develop on.
  3. Your CV.
  4. List of your academic grades
  5. List of extra-curricular activities.
  6. Other info like dates and milestones.
  7. The letter should highlight your achievement with examples:The letter of recommendation should not only list your skills but also qualify with supporting examples.
  8. The letter must project your improvement over a period of time: It is important to maintain a balance in the scale of achievements. The Admission Committee is used to see only praises day in and day out. On the other hand your gradual progression will be more realistic for acceptance.
  9. The tone of the letter should go beyond the formal: Although the recommendation is formal, a tone that is personalized but firm, gives the recommendation letter an informal air.

Difference between recommendation and reference letter:

More often than not, you will be either asked to provide a recommendation letter or reference. They are two different documents altogether.

  1. Letter of recommendation should be addressed directly to the university presenting your accomplishments in an objective perspective.
  2. Letter of reference is given to you to enable you to use it in future.


Letter of recommendation is usually sought for its very personal nature that speaks for you in relation to a specific program. A recommendation letter sample carries all the features that ought to be included in it.