Letter of recommendation for graduate school. Writing letters of reference for students and graduates who intend to apply for graduate school is one of the numerous responsibilities that college teachers are required to accomplish. As difficult as it may seem, this article has everything covered.
Who to Ask for a Recommendation
You’ll need many letters of recommendation for most graduate school programs. The following are the finest persons to ask for a recommendation from:
- A professor at the school granting your undergraduate degree
- A professor who knows you well
- Someone with the degree you are seeking in graduate school
- Someone who has academically evaluated you in an upper-division class
- A supervisor at a job or internship related to your graduate program
- You can also consider asking an academic advisor to provide you with a recommendation.
- Resignation Letter Example
- Nursing Resignation Letter Tips
- Letter of Resignation Email
- Retirement Letter to Employer
Sample Reference Letter for Graduate School
Here is a sample reference you can apply:
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
April 18, 2022
(Leave a space.)
Office of the Registrar
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee,
Emily Smith is a candidate for graduate school that I strongly suggest. As Chair of the Education Department at Salitus College, I had the opportunity to work with Emily.
Emily maintained a 3.98 GPA while at Salitus, while taking a full load of honors coursework and seminars.
She was the top student in my senior-level Teaching Methods class, and her other teachers in our department rave about her work in other classes as well.
Emily worked in a variety of jobs outside of school, including teaching a museum program to fourth-grade classrooms in the Saratoga Springs School District, teaching adults and children to ride horses, and coordinating participation in horse shows for a local riding stable.
She took on all of these responsibilities with zeal and a cheerful attitude.
Emily gets along well with individuals of all ages, particularly the “at-risk” youngsters with whom she worked at Carroll Hill School and Prospect Child and Family Center.
Emily has a distinct gift for working with youngsters that require more direction and assistance than those found in standard classrooms.
Her ability to connect with her students, as well as her talent for teaching both basic and sophisticated ideas, are absolutely exceptional.
She is incredibly organized, dependable, and computer educated, and has good written and verbal communication abilities.
Emily would be a fantastic addition to your curriculum, and I wholeheartedly suggest her to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional concerns about her background or qualifications.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Chair, Department of Education
Who Would Write the Best Letter of Recommendation
Choosing which professors, supervisors, or advisors to ask for graduate school recommendation letters can be challenging.
Should you choose someone who doesn’t know you well but has an inside connection to the graduate school you’re applying to?
If a prestigious professor writes you a letter of recommendation for graduate school would you get an automatic admissions advantage?
These questions and more can keep graduate school hopefuls up at night, wondering how to maximize their admissions odds.
To put your mind at ease, here are the best guidelines to use when selecting who to ask for letters of recommendation for graduate school.
Someone who is well-versed in you and has a favorable opinion of you.
You should choose someone with whom you’ve spent time outside of the classroom, who is familiar with your career aspirations, and who has a positive impression of you.
Someone who has been acquainted with you for a long time. If the recommender has known you for two years rather than two months, a letter of recommendation for graduate school will carry greater weight.
In a perfect world, you’d locate someone who has known you for at least a year in numerous media (for example, as your professor, faculty mentor, and honor society advisor).
Someone who can speak to your unique abilities in relation to the program.
An economics professor is a good choice for your MBA letter of recommendation since they can speak to the specific traits that will help you succeed in pursuing an MBA and a career in business.
If you’re pursuing a certain field, you could ask a research, internship, or work supervisor to write your reference letter.
Someone who can tell you interesting stories about yourself. Consider who was present when you made some of your most significant achievements or demonstrated high levels of initiative, commitment, or collaboration.
A letter of recommendation with particular examples rather than broad clichés (“show, don’t tell”) has a greater influence.
Someone who is good at communicating. If all other factors are equal and you’re attempting to choose between two possible recommenders, think about who is more likely to write a convincing, strongly worded letter on your behalf.
Professors who are more kind, organized, and enthusiastic than others are the ones who write outstanding graduate school letters of recommendation.
- To Whom it May Concern
- Top Free Grants for College Students
- 2 Week Notice Email Writing Guide
- Amazing Samples Of Recommendation Letters
When to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
Between six weeks and two months before the application deadline, you should request a letter of recommendation for graduate school.
This provides your recommender plenty of time to draft, edit, and review your letter of recommendation, resulting in a higher-quality and more impactful final product.
If you’re asking a professor for a letter of reference for graduate school, keep in mind what’s going on during the semester when you submit your request. Is this the mid-term week?
Is it the end of the semester, and they’re already swamped with other responsibilities? Take into account their emotional state.
Academically, the beginning of the semester is usually a more relaxed moment, and it’s a good time to make your request.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
The way you request a letter of reference for graduate school can have a direct impact on the quality of the letter you receive. Respect, attention, and professionalism will set the tone for the rest of your letter of recommendation.
Being overly casual or unappreciative, on the other hand, will make your recommender less hesitant to give you their endorsement, assuming they agree to provide it at all!
That said, asking for a letter of recommendation for graduate school is best done in person. When this isn’t possible, sending an email serves as a suitable backup.
When requesting a letter of recommendation, however, make every effort to schedule a face-to-face appointment.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation in Person
First and foremost, you should schedule a meeting with your possible recommender. It is not advisable to visit a professor’s office without making an appointment or to try to catch them before or after class.
By making an appointment, you signal that you value their time and are serious about your graduate school applications.
You can use the following email scripts to request a letter in person:
Word-for-word email script when planning to ask someone you know well in person
Dear [Professor’s Name],
I hope this message finds you well. I’m planning to apply to [type of graduate program] this fall and was wondering if I could meet with you to seek your guidance on the process.
I have always valued your advice and hope to benefit from your perspective as I take this next big step in my educational journey. If so, please let me know what days and times you would be available to meet. Thank you for your consideration!
[Your Name/Last Name]
Word-for-word email script when planning to ask someone in person whom you haven’t seen or spoken with in a while
Dear [Professor’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Name/Last Name], and I was a student in your [Course Number/Title] course during [Semester/year]. I greatly appreciated your class because [authentic reason].
I’m planning on applying to [type of graduate program] this fall and was hoping you’d be willing to share your perspective on the process.
If so, please let me know what days and times you are available to meet with me. Thank you for your consideration!
[Your Name/Last Name]
- Letter of Recommendation Examples
- Write a Letter of Recommendation with a Sample
- Letter of Introduction for Visa Application
- Killer Short Cover Letter Examples
Additional Advice on Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
When you meet face-to-face with a professor, advisor, or supervisor to ask for a letter of recommendation for graduate school, be sure to clarify why you chose them in particular.
Share why your experience and interactions with them have been valuable, and if applicable, how they have encouraged you to pursue a graduate education.
You can also identify the specific qualities and experiences you hope they will speak to in their letters.
For example, you might ask your research supervisor to discuss your abilities with data analysis and interpretation if you were applying to a data-related degree program, such as the Master of Science in Data Science at Columbia University.
If you’re meeting with someone you haven’t spoken to or seen in a while, you might want to frame your request in such a way as to assess whether they feel capable of writing a strong letter of recommendation for you.
For example, “Would you feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school that highlights my specific strengths?”
A lukewarm, vague letter won’t increase your admissions chances, so if that’s the best one of your recommender options can provide, it would be better to thank them graciously for their time and search for a different recommender.
What Pieces of Information to Provide to your Recommenders
In order to help your recommenders produce high-quality letters of recommendation for graduate school, you should provide them with a small informational packet after they agree to your request. This packet should include the following items:
- A current transcript
- An updated resume or CV
- A copy of your personal statement for graduate school
- A list of your relevant extracurriculars, such as research, internships, or involvement in academic societies
- An outline of your career goals
- A list of the graduate schools you are applying to
- Reminders of anything specific you hope they’ll include in their letter, such as your accomplishments in their class or under their supervision
- Detailed instructions for submitting the letter of recommendation for graduate school
- The deadline to submit their letter
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Please leave your questions and comments in the comment box below. Don’t forget to share this article with friends and loved ones.