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Graduate School Letter of Recommendation Examples 2022-2023

sample letter of recommendation for masters program in education

Grad school recommendation letters are an essential part of every graduate school application package–even in this (almost) post-COVID era of remote work and Zoom classes. Nearly all applications to graduate school still require at least two recommendation letters from individuals who can discuss your abilities, competencies, and personal character in a coherent way and recommend you for admission to graduate school.

Many referees have difficulty writing these recommendations themselves (for language issues or simply because they are busy) and some rely on the applicant to pen the draft of the letter and receive confirmation before submitting it to the graduate school. But regardless of who is writing the letter, there are a few key elements the recommender needs to include to craft a stellar recommendation for their graduate candidate.

Who should write a recommendation letter for graduate school?

Choosing which professors, supervisors, or advisors to request a graduate school recommendation letter from can be somewhat overwhelming. Should you choose someone who does not know you personally but who has connections to your target graduate school? If a famous professor writes you a grad school recommendation letter, will this automatically give you an advantage with the admissions committee? 

In general, graduate recommendation letters should come from people who know you well, who respect you enough to say glowing things about you as a student and researcher, and who hold positions in school or work that are above your own. At least one letter of recommendation should be submitted from a past or current professor or academic advisor. 

Another could be from someone in a slightly different role, including an employer, a research adviser, a senior colleague, or a professor from a different department or kind of class (e.g., a discussion class professor instead of a lecturer). No matter who it is, the recommender should know the applicant and recognize their accomplishments. It also helps if the recommender understands some details about the program to which their candidate is applying.

Here are some guidelines to follow when choosing who to ask for letters of recommendation for graduate school. Select someone who:

  • Knows you well and can answer positively. Choose an individual who you have spent time with outside the classroom if possible. They should also be familiar with your career goals and hold a favorable view of you. 
  • Has known you for quite a while. A recommendation letter for graduate school carries more influence if the person has known you for months or years instead of months. If you can, find someone who knows you from various contexts, such as a professor who is also your advisor. 
  • Can speak to your strengths in relation to your graduate program. Choosing a finance professor to write your recommendation letter for an MBA program would be a good idea because they can write about the qualities that will aid you in pursuing an MBA (qualities you can also include in your MBA essay ) and a broader career in business. 
  • Has substantive stories to share about you. Who was fortunate enough to see you succeed in an academic, extracurricular, or professional setting? Having someone write your LOR who has good stories to share about you is certainly going to benefit you more than someone whose class you took with two hundred other students. 

How to Request a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Knowing how to request a letter of recommendation for graduate school can directly impact the quality of the letter your referee writes for you. Show respect and consideration for the time that your recommender is taking to write a glowing review that will get you into graduate school and positively impact the rest of your life. 

With this in mind, it may seem obvious that the very best way to ask for a letter of recommendation for graduate school is to do so in person. While this isn’t possible for all students (due to availability or schedule), it is the best route if you want to ensure that your LOR is not only written on time, but includes all the positive information about you that admissions committees want to see in a graduate candidate. When you cannot ask in person, sending an email is an appropriate second-best option. But remember to always be cordial and polite when making this request. 

What information should be included in a graduate recommendation letter?

Your referral letter should cover a range of skills, from academic abilities to research experiences, to applied experiences in and out of class. As the recommender, your letter should clearly answer some specific questions:

Your letter of recommendation should cover a range of skills, from academic abilities to research experiences, to applied experiences in and out of class. As the recommender, your letter should clearly answer some specific questions:

  • What is your relationship with the student?
  • Why should the graduate faculty listen to your opinion? (include your status, title)
  • What makes this student special? (discuss their characteristics, qualities, traits)
  • What specifically did this student do to impress you? (discuss their accomplishments, habits in class)
  • What makes this student qualified for graduate school and for this program? (include specific courses or interests of the student in addition to abilities and traits)
  • What do you know about the program the student is applying to?

What information does the LOR recommender need from me?

The recommender should be given sufficient time to write (and/or confirm) the letter. If it has been a while since you were last in contact, sending a background information file will make things easier. Include the following information so that the recommender can use a few details to bolster their letter:

  • Classes the student has taken with the recommender
  • Experiences you have shared
  • Transcripts
  • Research experience and internships
  • Awards and achievements
  • Academic/career goals
  • Relevant professional experience

In addition to background information, make sure that the recommender has the necessary information to plan the writing in a timely manner and target the letter as much as possible:

  • Graduate program application due date
  • Copy of recommendation forms (if applicable)
  • Instructions for submitting LORs (hard copy, soft copy, or direct to school)
  • Details about the program and school the student is applying to

What style of writing should be used in a recommendation letter?

Although the letter of recommendation is more informal than academic writing, you should make sure that your language has no grammatical or mechanics errors and that it is of an academic level that reflects the author’s educational level and qualifications. Apply the following standards to the writing and the essay-drafting process:

  • Make your language more personal in tone than research writing.
  • Use the active voice and first-person point of view more often.
  • Write chronologically, starting from important traits and then moving on to actions and achievements.
  • Use lots of details—list course names, scores, and specific achievements of the student.
  • Edit your letter before submitting it to the graduate admissions faculty.

How to Write a Grad School Letter of Recommendation Letter: LOR Outline

A well-structured recommendation letter (like any organized essay) will guide the reader logically towards an understanding of why this student is worthy not only of praise but of admission to graduate school. Grad school requires quite a few high-level scholastic attributes that not all students possess, and therefore it is important to focus on both the achievements of the candidate and on their personal character and potential to thrive in a difficult academic environment.

Use this outline as a letter of recommendation template in which to input your candidate’s achievements, skills, and traits. Note that the flow of information moves the reader into greater detail, using form phrases and transitions that increase the readability of the letter.

1. Greeting to the recipient

Dear {Name}, or To Whom It May Concern, To the graduate faculty of the {University / Department}

2. Opening paragraph: position; relationship to the applicant; general assessment of the applicant

It is my absolute pleasure to recommend {Name} for admissions to {Program} at {University}… I am a professor of {area of study} in the department of {department} at {University}.

recommendation letter for grad school example 1

3. Second paragraph: positive skill or trait; evidence of trait or skill; anecdotes demonstrating this skill

Jane has excellent communication skills. Her written work is both clear and concise, as well as interesting to read…

recommendation letter for grad school example 2

4. Third (up to fifth) paragraph: Other skills or traits; evidence of character and skills; detailed anecdotes

At a personal level, Jane is a well-disciplined, industrious student with a pleasant personality. She went well beyond the course expectations…

recommendation letter for grad school example 3

5. Final Paragraph: clear recommendation of the candidate to the specific school or program.

Jane is unquestionably an exceptional candidate for graduate study in {Program Applying for}. Jane’s work in “Developments in Anthropology” suggests that she would greatly benefit from the opportunities for intellectual development provided by a sustained period of graduate study…

recommendation letter for grad school example 5

6. Closing line: polite offer to be contacted if needed

If I can be of any further assistance, or provide you with any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

recommendation letter for grad school example 6

Letter of Recommendation Template and Useful Phrases

Admission essays often contain template phrases or “form phrases” that allow the writer to plug in their specific information while not spending too much time deciding how to compose every single aspect of the writing. This can be especially useful for ESL authors because conventional expressions used in academic and essay writing can be difficult to learn and memorize. Use the following form phrases to help craft a more professional letter of recommendation.

Introducing yourself

  • My name is  {Author}  and I have been a Professor of Math at  {University}  since  {date} .
  • I write to you today to proudly express my support for  {Student}  in applying to your prestigious university.

Discussing your relationship with the applicant

  • I first came to know  {Student}  while teaching him/her in my  {Course Name}  course…
  • I was  {Student} ’s thesis advisor during his/her senior year.
  • I have known  {Student}  for several years now and can attest to his/her strengths and quality of character.

Discussing the student’s general positive traits

  • {Student}  has excellent communication skills and displays them regularly in class discussions.
  • He/She is a highly intelligent and competent student who excels in many areas.
  • Not only is  {Student}  hard-working and thoughtful, but he/she also demonstrates kindness and generosity towards his/her peers.

Demonstrating evidence of student’s character and skills

  • She/he has shown herself/himself to be a true leader who is able to successfully develop plans and implement them in his/her work.
  • {Student}  demonstrated his/her independence daily, completing difficult lab exercises by researching outside of class.
  • During his/her internship,  {Student}  consistently managed his/her work responsibilities diligently and learned quickly. For example…

Discussing the school/program the student is applying to

  • As  {University}  is renowned for its  {Program} , I believe this is an ideal place for  {Student}  to solidify his/her abilities and cement his/her knowledge of  {area of study} .
  • The learning environment that  {University}  is famous for creating excellent opportunities in which  {Student}  to apply his/her skills.

Final endorsement and offer to be contacted

  • For the above reasons, I am confident that  {Student}  will make an excellent addition to your graduate program, and I wholeheartedly support him/her for admission to your program.
  • Thank you for your time and attention in reading my endorsement.

Further Tips for Writing Admissions Essays

  • Highlight your self-motivation, competence, and potential in this essay
  • Emphasize everything from a positive perspective and write in the active voice.
  • Demonstrate through examples; don’t just write that you are a “persistent person”—show it!
  • Approach every topic with continuity and focus.

The Final Step: Editing Your Recommendation Letter

As any good writer knows, it takes more than one draft to create a strong and compelling work of writing. After you have written your recommendation letter draft, there is still a lot of room for revision. One way to ensure that grammar mistakes and style errors do not get in the way of a strong letter is to let the admissions experts at Wordvice’s Admissions Editing Services edit and proofread your (of your candidate’s) letter of recommendation or other application essays, raising the chances that your candidate will be admitted to the program of their choice.

With a full suite of professional proofreading services , we edit thousands of admission documents each year for all kinds of authors of academic and admissions documents just like you. Furthermore, our application essay editing services , recommendation letter editing services , personal statement editing services , CV editing services , cover letter editing services , and SOP editing services are tailored to the needs of your specific admissions essay.

For more articles on writing and editing your essays and academic work, visit Wordvice’s Academic Resource page . 

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Letter of Recommendation for Masters: Sample, Format & Template

  • Updated On April 16, 2024
  • Published In General , Testimonials ✍️

When it comes to writing an effective LOR for masters, it is important to understand the document’s purpose. The letter should highlight your strengths, achievements, and potential for success in the chosen course. It should be written by someone who knows you well, such as a professor, mentor, or previous employer. When asking someone to write your LOR, ensure that they have a positive view of your work and can provide specific examples to back up their claims. 

Table of Contents

When you ask someone to write your LOR, you must provide them with all the necessary information. This includes details about the course you’re applying for and the submission deadline. By doing so, you’re helping them write a more tailored and effective LOR, which can significantly boost your application.

In this blog, we will learn more about the Letter of Recommendation for Masters and whom you should ask it for.

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What is the importance of a Letter of Recommendation for Masters?

A Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is an essential component of the application process for Masters programs. It is a document that provides information about the applicant’s academic and professional achievements, character, and potential to succeed in the program. The LOR carries significant weight in the admission decision-making process, providing valuable insights into the applicant’s abilities and potential to contribute to the program.

The LOR validates the applicant’s academic and professional achievements and provides the admissions committee with an objective assessment of the applicant’s abilities. It also helps you distinguish yourself from other candidates, especially if the LOR comes from a reputable source, such as a professor or employer.

Importance of Letters of Recommendation for Master’s Programs:

  • Credibility and Endorsement: Letters of recommendation offer valuable external validation of your qualifications and potential. Professors, supervisors, or mentors can vouch for your academic abilities, work ethic, and suitability for the program.
  • In-Depth Perspective: Recommenders can provide insights beyond your transcript or resume. They can speak to your specific strengths, growth trajectory, and contributions in a classroom or professional setting.
  • Complementing Your Application: Letters of recommendation offer a more personal and qualitative dimension to your application. They help admissions committees get a well-rounded picture of who you are as a student and individual.
  • Demonstrate Supportive Network: Strong letters from respected figures suggest you have established positive relationships and possess qualities valued within academia or your field.
  • Competitive Advantage: In competitive programs, exceptional letters can differentiate you from other qualified applicants. A compelling recommendation can significantly enhance your application’s overall strength.

Overall, a well-written LOR can make a significant difference in the admission decision, so it is essential to choose recommenders carefully and provide them with the necessary information and guidance.

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Letter of Recommendation for Masters: Sample, Format & Template

Format for a Letter of Recommendation for Masters

  • Briefly introduce yourself (name, title, affiliation).
  • State your relationship with the student (e.g., professor, supervisor) and how long you’ve known them.
  • Mention the program they’re applying to (optional).
  • Academic Strengths: Highlight the student’s academic achievements and qualities relevant to the program. Use specific examples from coursework, projects, or research experiences.
  • (Example) “I had the pleasure of teaching [student name] in my [course name] class. They consistently impressed me with their [positive academic quality] and [another positive quality]. For instance, [student name]’s [specific example] demonstrated their ability to [relevant skill].”
  • Qualities and Skills: Discuss the students’ personal qualities and professional skills that would benefit them in the program and their future careers.
  • (Example) “[Student name] is not only a strong academic performer but also a highly motivated and resourceful individual. During their internship at [company name], they [specific example] showcasing their [relevant skill].”
  • Summarise your key points and express your strong recommendation for the student’s admission.
  • Offer to provide further information if needed (optional).

Additional Tips:

  • Maintain a professional tone but avoid overly formal language.
  • Use clear and concise sentences.
  • Feel free to personalise the language to reflect your relationship with the student.
  • Proofread the letter carefully for any errors.
  • Use official letterhead from your institution if applicable.
  • Sign and date the letter.

Using this format and incorporating a conversational tone, you can write a compelling letter of recommendation that effectively advocates for your student’s potential in a Master’s program.

Tips to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Here are some tips to ensure your recommendation letters for a Master’s program showcase your strengths and increase your chances of admission:

1. Highlight Diverse Achievements:

  • Aim for a well-rounded picture. If you have multiple letters, request each recommender to focus on a specific area. For example, one professor can speak to your research skills, while another can emphasise your leadership in a club activity.

2. Provide Information for Your Recommender:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of details. Equip your recommender with a comprehensive CV, transcripts mentioning your GPA and achievements, a list of extracurricular activities, and the letter submission deadline.

3. Make it Specific with Examples:

  • Vague statements hold little weight. Encourage your recommender to include specific anecdotes or instances that illustrate your qualities. A concrete example of a research project showcases your skills more effectively than simply saying you’re a good researcher.

4. Demonstrate Growth:

  • Stand out from the crowd. A letter that solely praises your existing strengths might seem generic. Request your recommender to highlight how you’ve improved over time, capitalising on your strengths while tackling weaknesses. This portrays a well-rounded and dynamic applicant.

5. Strike a Formal Yet Engaging Tone:

  • Maintain professionalism while avoiding dryness. Admission committees appreciate personalised yet formal language. A compelling letter should showcase you as an individual, avoiding clichés. Each letter should be unique in content while adhering to the overall format.
  • Choose your recommenders wisely. Select individuals who can genuinely endorse your academic and/or professional achievements professionally.

Letter of Recommendation for Masters: Sample, Format & Template

Sample 1 for Letter of Recommendation for Masters

Here is a letter of recommendation for masters by a professor.

Dear Admissions Team,

I am pleased to write this Letter of Recommendation for XXX, who has been a student at our institution for the past three years. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work closely with her and observe her academic performance and work ethic.

From the very beginning, XXX has shown a strong inclination towards research and has consistently demonstrated her ability to think critically and analyse complex academic problems. She has always been proactive in her approach and has shown a genuine interest in learning new things.

One of the most impressive aspects of XXX’s academic profile is her ability to work collaboratively with her peers and instructors. She is an excellent team player and has always been willing to go the extra mile to achieve team goals. Her ability to communicate effectively and articulate her ideas has been an asset to her team.

During her academic tenure, XXX has taken several courses across multiple disciplines, including history, political science, and economics. Her performance in each of these courses has been exemplary, and she has consistently demonstrated her ability to apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems.

I have had the opportunity to work with XXX on several research projects, and I can confidently say that she has a natural flair for research. Her research work has been thoughtful and well-structured, and she has always demonstrated a good understanding of the research question and the methodology required to answer it.

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend XXX for admission to the Masters program . She has all the qualities of an excellent student, including academic excellence, strong work ethic, and a passion for learning. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.

Recommender’s Full Name


Institution, City

Contact No-

Sample 2 for Letter of Recommendation for Masters

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter of recommendation for [Applicant’s Name], who was employed at [Company Name] as a [Job Title] from [Employment Start Date] to [Employment End Date]. During this time, I had the pleasure of working closely with [Applicant’s Name] and can attest to their exceptional work ethic, skills, and abilities.

As an employee, [Applicant’s Name] consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to their work, paying meticulous attention to detail and delivering high-quality results. They were proactive in identifying opportunities for process improvements and always willing to take on new challenges. [Applicant’s Name] was an integral member of our team, and their contributions were instrumental in our success.

In terms of [Applicant’s Name]’s academic background, they hold a Bachelor’s degree in [Degree Name] from [University Name]. Throughout their studies, they exhibited a passion for their field of study, demonstrating a deep understanding of the subject matter and a keen ability to apply their knowledge in practical settings.

Based on my experience working with [Applicant’s Name], I have no doubt that they would excel in a Master’s program. They possess a unique combination of academic knowledge, practical skills, and a strong work ethic, which would make them a valuable addition to any program.

I highly recommend [Applicant’s Name] for admission to the Master’s program they are applying for, and I am confident that they will continue to impress with their dedication, hard work, and ability to deliver exceptional results.

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.

[Your Name]

[Your Title]

[Company Name]

How to Submit a Letter of Recommendation for Masters

1. Requesting Recommendations:

  • Identify Recommenders: Choose professors, supervisors, or mentors who know you well academically or professionally and can speak to your potential in the Master’s program.
  • Seek Consent: Contact your chosen recommenders and politely ask if they’d be willing to write a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for your Master’s program application.

2. Providing Information:

  • Share Program Details: Once a recommender agrees, inform them about your academic background, the specific Master’s program you’re applying to, and the application deadline.
  • Highlight Achievements: Briefly highlight your academic achievements, relevant skills, and experiences that would be valuable for the program. This can help your recommender write a more focused and impactful letter.
  • Mention Specifics: If there are specific aspects of your profile you’d like them to emphasise, feel free to mention them gently.

3. University Guidelines:

  • Check University Requirements: Some universities may have specific guidelines for LORs, such as a preferred format or submission process. If such guidelines exist, inform your recommenders and provide them with any relevant documents.

4. Submission Process:

  • Some universities require recommenders to submit directly via an online portal.
  • 1. One way to submit a letter of recommendation is through an online form provided by the university. The recommender will be given a login portal to answer specific questions about the candidate.
  • 2. Another method is through email, where the recommender directly sends the recommendation letter to the university’s official email ID.
  • 3. The most common method is for the recommender to print, sign, and seal the recommendation letter. The student can then collect the letter and send it to the university by post, along with their personal information and application details.
  • Confirm the Process: Double-check the submission process for each university you’re applying to and ensure your recommenders and you are aware of the correct method.

Letter of Recommendation for Masters: Sample, Format & Template

Who should you ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

If you are planning to pursue a master’s program at an international university, it’s essential to understand that universities look beyond just your grades. They are interested in your past experiences, personal character, skills, and qualities. This is where a letter of recommendation comes into play.

The person you choose to ask for a letter of recommendation depends on 

  • the university
  • program you are applying for

Some universities have specific requirements for recommenders, typically professors, professional mentors, or past employers . If a professor is required, the letter should focus on your academic skills and achievements. On the other hand, if a past employer is required, the recommendation should highlight specific skills relevant to your master’s program.

Selecting the right person to write your letter of recommendation is a critical part of the application process for a Master’s program. By providing the university with a well-crafted letter that highlights your qualities and accomplishments, you’ll significantly increase your chances of being accepted.

Final Thoughts

In this blog, we learned more about the requirements and tips for a Letter of Recommendation for master’s programs. A well-written Letter of Recommendation (LOR) can play an important role in your admission to a Master’s program. It provides valuable insights into your academic and professional achievements, character, and potential to succeed in the program. A compelling LOR can distinguish you from other applicants and give you a competitive edge in the admission decision-making process. 

To ensure a strong LOR, carefully select your recommenders, provide them with all the necessary information and guidance, and maintain a professional yet engaging tone. Additionally, highlight your diverse achievements, provide specific examples, demonstrate growth, and strike a balance between personalisation and formality. Lastly, follow the university’s submission guidelines and double-check the process to avoid any errors or confusion. 

By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure that your LOR effectively advocates for your potential in a Master’s program and significantly boosts your chances of admission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. how do i write a letter of recommendation for a masters degree.

A. To write a letter of recommendation for a master’s degree, start by introducing yourself and your relationship with the applicant. Then, highlight the applicant’s academic achievements, skills, and personal qualities that make them suitable for the program. Finally, provide a positive overall assessment and recommend the applicant for admission to the master’s program.

Q. How to get a letter of recommendation for Masters in India?

A. To get a letter of recommendation for a master’s program in India, start by identifying potential recommenders who know you well, such as professors, supervisors, or mentors. Then, approach them politely, explain your purpose, and provide them with a copy of your resume and motivation letter. Finally, follow up with a thank-you note and keep them informed of your progress.

Q. What is the importance of a Letter of Recommendation for masters?

A. A letter of recommendation is important for a master’s degree application because it provides an independent assessment of the applicant’s academic and personal qualities. It also helps the admission committee to evaluate the applicant’s potential for success in the program. A strong letter of recommendation can make a positive impact on the admission decision.

Q. What are tips for writing a letter of recommendation?

A. To write a strong letter of recommendation, start by reviewing the applicant’s resume, transcripts, and motivation letter. Then, focus on highlighting their academic and personal strengths, achievements, and potential for success in the program. Use specific examples and avoid vague or generic statements. Finally, proofread the letter for grammar and spelling errors and provide your contact information for follow-up.

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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

How to write a letter of recommendation for grad school

When someone asks you to write a graduate school letter of recommendation , it demonstrates that they value your opinion, trust you and believe in your writing skills.

But as flattering as it is to be asked, there is also some pressure associated with crafting an effective and convincing letter of recommendation. After all, the applicant is counting on you to influence the admissions board and highlight their accomplishments, strengths and skill sets.

The good news is, writing a graduate school letter of recommendation is more intuitive than you think. Below, we’ve rounded up all the tips you need to write the perfect letter for anyone in your sphere.

What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

First off, let’s go over what a letter of recommendation is.

A letter of recommendation is a brief, written endorsement needed for certain jobs, programs or schools that details a person’s qualifications for whatever they’re applying for.

It’s written by a trusted and valued source: usually a past employer, teacher, mentor or colleague. In a letter of recommendation for graduate school, the writer describes the person’s skills, their personality and why they’re the right fit for the program. This is all so the institution has confirmation of the applicant’s ability to succeed in the program.

If you don’t believe you’re the right fit to write a student’s recommendation, that’s OK, too. You can politely decline and explain to the student why. You can also offer to help them find someone else who’s a more appropriate choice.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Letter of Recommendation for Grad School

Once you’ve decided to accept and write the letter of recommendation, take a moment to consider some key questions before you begin crafting your statement.

  • What is your relationship like with this person?
  • What do you think of their work you’ve seen? How would you describe it?
  • What are significant memories you have with them?
  • What qualities or strengths does this person have?
  • What would you specifically want somebody to know about this person?
  • What value would this person bring to this grad school program, and how would they thrive in the field after the program?

What to Ask From Someone Before Writing a Letter of Recommendation

Of course, there is some student information you’ll want to obtain before starting your recommendation. To ensure you’re addressing all the right points and representing them in the best light possible, make sure you ask them the below questions.

The basics . First off, you should find out where this letter is going, to whom it should be addressed, what the deadlines are and how they’d like you to submit it (mail, email, etc.).

Why they want to go to this program and why they are drawn to this school . It’s important to know the motivation behind their graduate school studies: Is it for the love of learning? To get a better job? To switch fields altogether? This will help inform what you write in the letter. Similarly, it’s good to know why a specific school is calling them as well.

Any strengths or qualities they want highlighted . Each person will have different qualities they want you to discuss in their letter of recommendation. If the strengths they mention are ones you agree with and seem relevant to the degree program, definitely include them. You should also ask about what achievements they’ve made that will help them stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Their resume . No one can memorize a person’s entire job and education history. A resume can help remind you of special projects and exemplary work they’ve accomplished in the past, which you can then emphasize in your letter.

What to Include in a Letter of Recommendation for Grad School

There are specific things you should always include in a letter of recommendation for graduate school to make it shine and improve the applicant’s chances of admission.

These are the points that you must undoubtedly touch on throughout your recommendation:

How do you know the applicant? It’s important to describe who you are and how you know the applicant, as well as how long you’ve known them. Personal anecdotes are a must, and they boost your credibility.

Why are they a good fit for the program? Include an explanation for why you think they would specifically thrive in the program. Avoid being vague or general. Dive into why the school would be the perfect fit, and vice versa!

What are their most shining accomplishments? Describe their achievements, especially the ones you’ve personally witnessed. In addition, reference their top strengths and qualities. Again, avoid generalities and use vivid anecdotes.

Can you explain any gaps or discrepancies? A letter of recommendation is often a good time to clear up any troubling parts of the student’s resume or work history — perhaps there was an employment gap or grades dip because they were caring for a sick relative, for example. If you’re aware of any weak spots on their resume from extenuating circumstances, this is the time to note it.

What sets the applicant apart from the rest? Be sure to conclude on a strong note with a very clear, concise recommendation. Highlight what sets them apart from other people, so the program can clearly understand why they should admit this candidate into their college or university.

How to Format and Structure a Graduate School Letter of Recommendation

As for structure, letters of recommendation should not be longer than a page. Start off with a greeting (“Dear [Name]” or “To Whom It May Concern,” if you don’t know the recipient). In the opening paragraph, explain who you are, the nature of your relationship with the student and your overall impression of them.

Within the body of the letter, you can expand on their personality, skills and achievements — along with personal anecdotes — before wrapping up with a final strong and clear recommendation for the applicant.

Then, feel free to add in a polite offer to contact you if they need more information and a formal parting signature. Double-check for spelling and grammar, too, as any mistake could weaken your credibility.

Once you’ve proofread the letter, all you have to do is submit it as instructed and patiently wait for an update from the applicant. Best of luck!

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Grad School Letter of Recommendation Example

With tips on who, how & when to ask for a grad school letter of recommendation..

Grad School Letter of Recommendation Example

Looking at a grad school letter of recommendation example or two can be very useful when preparing your graduate school application. Whether you've been asked to  write your own letter of recommendation  or you're still trying to figure out how to ask for a recommendation, examples will give you a better idea of what your letter needs to include, how it should be formatted, and who it should come from. In this blog, we share a grad school letter of recommendation example, and we also provide some tips to help you get the best letter of recommendation possible from your chosen writers.

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Article Contents 7 min read

What is a graduate school letter of recommendation.

If you have decided to go to graduate school, then you need to know that your grad school letter of recommendation is one of the most important application components you will submit. It is an objective evaluation of your suitability for graduate school in the form of a letter written by a third party who has either worked with you, taught you, or supervised you in the past. 

These recommendation letters are extremely important because they allow the grad school admissions board to learn more about you directly from one of their peers, a professor, or from a different respected professional. This professional's assessment of your skills and abilities helps the board determine whether you have what it takes to excel in their program and why your strengths and background make you the perfect fit for their school.  

Some grad school programs give students the option of submitting letters of recommendation instead of making it a required part of the admissions process. If your chosen school happens to be one of them, we recommend that you still submit at least two letters of recommendation, as they will add valuable information to your overall application. 

Before we look at the typical format of a grad school letter of recommendation, you should remember that some schools provide specific instructions for the letters of recommendation. Always verify the admission requirements of the program you are applying to. If there are any instructions for the recommendations, it is imperative that you share them with your chosen writers so that they can write the letter according to the school's specifications. 

That said, unless otherwise stated by the school, your grad school letter of recommendation should be a one-page document, neatly organized into four to six paraphs. We recommend that it be written in a classic font that is easy to read, like Ariel or Times New Roman, in 10 to 12 points.

Wondering how to get into grad school?

Keep in mind that your grad school letter of recommendation is a formal academic document. So it is best to keep the structure simple and easy to follow. We recommend the following:

The closing statement is just almost as important as the opening one. It needs to be strong, and it should include the recommender vouching for your application once again, followed by a standard closing phrase and the writer's name and signature. ","label":"Closing","title":"Closing"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

To Whom it may concern, 

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter recommending Aisha Diallo for your Applied Social Psychology master's program. I am an associate professor at [Name of University], and I have known Aisha for approximately three years. I first met her when she was a student in my Theories of Psychology class during her freshman year. I was so impressed with her that when she applied for a research assistant position in our department a few months later, I was compelled to give her the role. 

As a student, Aisha is passionate and committed to her studies. When she first started in my class, she struggled with some of the material, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she enrolled in a tutoring class only a few weeks into the semester. Most students do not take that kind of initiative during their first year in college, so her actions told me that she was committed to doing well in my class and her studies in general. 

Additionally, her passion for psychology is undeniable. During class discussions, she frequently asked questions and made intelligent contributions, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a research assistant, she continues to do the same - asking about different procedures, doing her own research about some of the concepts discussed in the lab, and going the extra mile to ensure every task she is given is meticulously completed. 

Despite being involved in several extracurricular activities while maintaining an impressive GPA, she showed up early for every shift, delivered every assignment on time, and on several occasions, she stayed after hours to help her colleagues take care of other administrative tasks like writing emails to follow up with the participants of our study or updating the bulletin boards around our office to make sure all of the posters and infographics are up to date. 

Over the past three years, I have gotten to know Aisha as a student, an employee, and a person. I can confidently say that her passion for the field of psychology, hardworking nature, and strong desire to learn will make her a great addition to any program. 

I hope you will strongly consider accepting her to your program, and I remain available if you have any questions about her candidacy.

Joshua Smith, PhD 

Ask the right recommenders

If you want to secure a strong letter of recommendation, you need to select your recommenders carefully. Most graduate school programs ask for at least three letters of recommendation, and typically at least one of them needs to be written by a professor or instructor from your undergraduate program. However, picking the right referee is not as simple as choosing someone with the right professional title. 

We recommend that you ask yourself the following questions for the recommenders that you are considering asking for a letter: 

You should try as much as possible to select writers who are connected to your chosen field of study as they can speak to the specific qualities that you need to succeed in your program. For example, if you're hoping to get into the  Wharton school of business  to pursue their MBA\/MA in international studies, getting a grad school letter of recommendation from a business or a political studies professor would be a good idea. "}]">

Ask early and courteously

Many students are unsure when or how to ask for grad school letters of recommendation. When applying to college, the timeline is more straightforward, so students have a pretty good idea of when and how to ask for  college recommendation letters.   For graduate school, you must remember that the manner in which you ask for a letter of recommendation will directly impact the quality of the letter that you receive if you even receive one at all.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your chosen writers have all the information they need to write and submit a strong grad school letter of recommendation. We suggest putting together an information packet that you can give to your chosen writers to make sure that they are prepared. Make sure that this includes your contact information so that they can reach out if they need additional information. 

Your information packet should include the following items:

  • An updated copy of your  CV for graduate school 
  • A copy of your admissions essays (e.g., statement of purpose, personal statement,  statement of intent , etc.)
  • A list of the graduate schools you are applying to 
  • An autobiographical document detailing your relevant extracurricular experiences and a rough outline of your career goals.
  • A short list of specific accomplishments, experiences, and anecdotes from your time with them that they can include in the letter. 
  • Any specific formatting and submission instructions provided by the graduate schools you are applying to. 
  • The deadline to submit their letter
  • Your contact information 

Your grad school letter of recommendation is one of the most important application components that you will submit because it tells the admission committee how other professionals view you and what they think of your abilities. So, you must secure quality letters of recommendation if you want to improve your chances of getting into graduate school.

That will depend on your chosen program. Typically, graduate programs ask for two or three letters, but that varies greatly from one school to another, so always verify the requirements of the school you are interested in.

It should be a one-page letter unless your chosen school requests something different.

It would be best if they didn't. You want your recommendation letter to come from an objective source that has worked with you or evaluated your work over a long period of time. Friends and family members usually don't fall in that category, so the admission board will think that they are biased.

Some graduate school programs will give you specific instructions for recommendation letters, so always verify those first. You should get a recommendation from individuals who know you well and worked with you long enough to talk about your skills and abilities using specific examples.

It would be best if you asked as early as possible. We recommend that it be at least six to eight weeks before the letter is due so that your chosen writer has enough time to write a strong letter.

Whenever possible, you should ask for a recommendation letter in person. However, if meeting face to face is not an option, you can craft a professional email and send it to your chosen writers.

You should provide them with as much information about your grad school candidacy as possible. You can share a copy of your personal statement, grad school CV, and your transcripts, for example. Make sure they also have your contact information in case they need additional details.

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sample letter of recommendation for masters program in education

Sample of an Effective Grad School Recommendation Letter

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Whether a letter is good or simply adequate depends not just on its content but on how well it fits the program to which you’re applying . Consider the following letter written for a student who is applying to an online graduate program.

In this case, the student is applying to an online graduate program and the professor's experiences with the student are entirely in online courses. Considering this purpose, the letter is good. The professor speaks from experiences with the student in an online class environment, presumably similar to what he will experience in an online graduate program. The professor describes the nature of the course and discusses the student's work within that environment. This letter supports the students' application to an online program because the professor's experiences speak to the student's ability to excel in an online class environment. Specific examples of the student's participation and contributions to the course would improve this letter.

This same letter is less effective for students who are applying to traditional brick-and-mortar programs because faculty will want to know about the student's real-life interaction skills and their capacity to communicate and get along with others.

Sample Letter of Recommendation

Dear Admissions Committee:

I am writing on behalf of Stu Dent's application to the online master’s program in Education offered at XXU. All of my experiences with Stu are as a student in my online courses. Stu enrolled in my Introduction to Education (ED 100) online course in Summer, 2003. 

As you are aware, online courses, because of the lack of face-to-face interaction, require a high degree of motivation the part of students. The course is structured so that for each unit, students read the textbook as well as lectures that I have written, they post in discussion forums in which they converse with other students about issues raised by the readings, and they complete one or two essays. The summer online course is especially grueling as a full semester’s worth of content is covered in one month. Each week, students are expected to master the content that would be presented in 4 2-hour lectures. Stu performed very well in this course, earning a final score of 89, A-.

The following Fall (2003), he enrolled in my Early Childhood Education (ED 211) online course and continued his above-average performance, earning a final score of 87, B+. Throughout both courses, Stu consistently submitted his work on time and was an active participant in the discussions, engaging other students, and sharing practical examples from his experience as a parent.

Though I have never met Stu face-to-face, from our online interactions, I can attest to his ability to complete the academic requirements of XXU's online master's program in Education. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx or email: prof@xxx.edu

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Master of Education Letters of Recommendation

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Instructions to Applicant

Two letters of academic or professional recommendation are required as part of the application packet. The letters should be written by two persons who know you professionally or in an academic setting. We suggest that one of the professional references be from a current or former employer and one from a former teacher or professor, if possible, who can speak to your potential to serve as an educational leader. Ask each person to place his/her letter in a sealed envelope, sign his/her name over the seal and then return the envelope to YOU. We ask that you then submit these letters with your application package. The package is not complete without these two letters of recommendation. Please give this form to the recommender who should attach it to the letter of recommendation.

You must provide all information requested in this section. Your name will be used to ensure this recommendation is matched to your application file.

Instructions to Recommender

The person named below is applying for admission to the Rockhurst University Master of Education program and has asked that you write a letter of recommendation on his/her behalf.

Speak to this person’s potential to serve as an educational leader and his/her ability to be successful in a graduate program.

Please scan the completed form with the letter of recommendation and email a copy to [email protected]

Because Rockhurst University is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, we discourage you from referring directly or indirectly to an applicant’s disability.  

Printable Letter of Recommendation Form

Name of Applicant

Name of Recommender

FERPA Rights

◯ I waive the right by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment) to view this letter of recommendation in my file at Rockhurst University.

◯ I do not wish to waive this right. Rather, I wish to retain the right to view this letter in my file at Rockhurst University.

Signature of Applicant

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  • How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for Grad School

Author David Hirning

If you’re planning to apply to grad school, one of the top items on your to-do list is likely getting letters of recommendation.

But who? How? When? This part of the application process can generate anxiety for even the most confident grad school hopeful.

Don’t worry, we've got your back. With input from admissions experts at the University of Washington, we’ve compiled a list of eight tips for asking for — and receiving — great letters of recommendation. Follow this simple formula and get recommendations that will help your grad school application land in the “yes” pile.

1. Do Your Research

First, read your program’s requirements carefully. Graduate programs typically require you to submit two or three letters of recommendation with your application, but there are variations, depending on the school and type of program.

2. Plan Ahead

Remember to give your recommenders plenty of time to write their letters — a couple months of lead time is not too much! This is especially true if you are asking them to write multiple letters for you (for different programs).

Besides being considerate, giving your recommenders an early heads-up also leaves them ample time to produce a strong letter. If you ask someone a week before the deadline, it shows a (possibly annoying) lack of planning on your part. Plus, it’s possible they won’t be able to turn it around in that timeframe.

3. Identify the Right Recommenders

You should know your recommenders well and have a good working relationship with them. They need to be able to speak to things like your work ethic, professionalism, writing ability, lab and/or research skills, readiness for grad school and what you can contribute to the program.

While former professors are an obvious choice, don’t assume all your recommendations need to come from that category. “That’s a common misconception,” says Crystal Galván, a graduate adviser in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at University of Washington Bothell. “A campus staff member or program director that you worked with directly might be a great choice, too.”

What if you’ve been out of school for a while and don’t have any academic contacts? If that’s the case, you can often substitute professional references for academic ones, says Galván. But explain this choice in your statement of purpose, and don’t be afraid to reach out to the graduate program for any special instructions.

Just like for academic recommendations, make sure your professional recommenders know you and your strengths well. It might be tempting to ask someone like your company’s CEO, but that approach can backfire if they can’t provide specifics.

“It should be someone who knows your work performance and can talk about it — whether that’s a supervisor, a peer or even a client,” says Randell Hernandez, who has served as the director of admissions for the Executive MBA program at the UW for the last 15 years. “For an MBA program, for example, I think current and former managers are probably the best sources for recommendations.”

4. Communicate Intentionally

Once you have your list of possible recommenders, it’s time to reach out. Schedule a meeting (virtual or in-person) to discuss your request.

Seem unnecessary? Galván explains why it’s a vital step. In this meeting you can:

  • Discuss more fully why you’re interested in graduate school in general, and these programs in particular.
  • Explain the process and the timeline, and talk about next steps.
  • Open up the lines of communication and answer any questions they might have on the spot.

If you can’t meet one-on-one, email works too, according to Galván. But she also suggests that you pay attention to how they respond to your request.

“If the person hesitates when you ask them for a letter, then it’s probably better to ask someone else,” she says.

Hernandez agrees. “The challenge with letters of recommendation is that once you ask the person to do it, you lose control of the process,” he says. “So I always advise applicants to choose their recommenders with care.”

5. Prepare a Portfolio

Whew! Once your recommenders are on board, the next step is to supply them with materials that will make their task easier: a digital or physical portfolio.

The portfolio should include copies of:

  • Key application materials, including program descriptions and deadlines
  • Your personal statement
  • Your resume and/or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • A writing sample
  • Your unofficial transcripts
  • Anything else that could help your recommender write a strong letter

If you want to handle this task digitally, a good option is to place the materials in a dedicated folder on a service like Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.

6. Explain Any Academic Dips or Gaps

Everyone understands that life isn’t always predictable. If you’ve experienced hardship — such as the death of a family member — that has impacted either your academic record or your career trajectory, it could be helpful to let your recommender know about it. This allows them to help explain the circumstances.

“For students who had a difficult quarter or semester (or two), it’s helpful for admissions committees to learn about the reasons why, especially as many graduate programs are moving to more holistic admission processes,” Galván says. “Your recommender can help address these gaps in their letter and serve as your advocate.”

7. Follow Up

It’s OK to follow up with your recommenders as the deadline approaches (these are busy people, after all). Many graduate programs give you the option of sending a reminder directly through the application portal, according to both Galván and Hernandez.

“Our portal at the University of Washington has that feature embedded in it,” Galván says. “It’s nice because it allows you to avoid that uncomfortable conversation if you feel anxious about the situation.”

Email or phone reminders are fine too. Better to risk being a little bothersome than to have a recommender completely forget about your request!

8. Remember to Say Thanks

Good manners count! Don’t forget to send your recommenders a thank-you note after they submit the letter and your application is complete. This gesture goes a long way toward maintaining a good relationship, and it’s quite possible you’ll have to call on this network for further help down the road.

And be sure to let your recommenders know the outcome of your application! Even if you weren’t accepted, they’ll appreciate the follow-up.

Take a Deep Breath, Then Move Forward

If you follow all these tips, you can relax — you’ve done your part. The rest is up to the recommender.

Want to discover more helpful content about grad school? Check out our go-to guide for applying to graduate school for links to additional articles.

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Author David Hirning

David Hirning

David Hirning is an accomplished writer and editor with extensive experience in both tech and higher education. He began his career in journalism, then spent over a decade as an editor at Microsoft, where he worked on Encarta Encyclopedia and related reference products.

David worked for six years as a full-time writer and content manager at UW Professional & Continuing Education. He also operated his own editorial consulting business, with stints at leading companies like Amazon and Expedia, and taught English for two years in Costa Rica.

David has served as an instructor for the UW Certificate in Editing program and as a teaching assistant for the UW Certificate in Storytelling & Content Strategy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University and a Certificate in Literary Fiction from the UW.

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Letter of Recommendation for Masters – Sample & Tips to Write

  • LOR Samples
  • Letter of Recommendation for Masters
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid in a LOR

Updated on 08 December, 2023

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study abroad expert.

Akansha Semwal

A letter of recommendation (LOR) for a master’s is undoubtedly very essential to study abroad . LORs, SOP, and CV/resume are key documents along with your application and transcripts that help the admissions committee determine your candidature. LORs are references provided by past employers or faculty members that help shed light on the candidate’s traits, previous performance, achievements, and eligibility. Hence, they are vital for an applicant’s profile and add sizable weightage to the application.

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Table of Contents

Sample letter of recommendation for masters, letter of recommendation sample – strong, letter of recommendation sample – weak.

  • 6 Tips For Writing a Stellar Recommendation Letter for Graduate Students

1. Get the recommender to talk about diverse accomplishments

2. provide relevant information to the recommender, 3. letters should be example-based, 4. lor should showcase your improvement over time, 5. letter should not have an overly dry tone, 6. plagiarism is a big no, 1. first section, 2. second section, 3. third section, 4. fourth section, 1. online form, 1. choosing the right person, 2. providing a resume, 3. asking in-person, 4. formal request, difference between lor, sop, and letter of reference, who should you ask for a letter of recommendation for your master’s application.

Here is a template of the letter of recommendation format for master’s. This sample recommendation letter for graduate students will help you understand the tone that you should follow to write your LOR. 

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Dear Admissions Team, It is my pleasure to write this Letter of Recommendation for XXX. Her relationship with ABC organization dates back 5 years, and I have professionally been associated with her for the past five years. During this time, she/he has worked with us as a Consultant and has supported the organization by leading a gamut of research studies that have informed our program and organizational strategies. In every assignment, XXX has shown a perfect understanding of the issues that they work on. In fact, they do not follow a linear way of thinking through social issues but instead, follow an intersectional approach. Thus, in my observation, when they work on the issue of Women, Business , and Human Rights: they draw insights from comprehending the issue by looking at it from an objective point of view, such as sexuality, age, gender, caste, class, disability, and religion. As a result, the recommendations put forth emerged from – Queen Mary, University of London Blog. “Trade unions still fail to lure women leaders, study finds.” It helped the organization tweak its curriculum based on the needs of an array of communities that the organization works with. In fact, these recommendations have helped the organization to be conscious of keeping the community and individual at its core while creating strategies in tandem with programs and implementing those in the community. XXX is driven and keeps marginalized young people at the core of every work they have engaged with. In this world that is dominated by the narrative created by adults, XXX has helped us bring out the realities of young women and has supported ABC in creating a counter-narrative by bringing out the voices of young women. During (name of the candidate) 5 years of engagement with ABC, they have supported us by designing a MMM, NNN, and providing M&E support to the KKK program. (Name) also carried out some scoping studies that have informed our program strategies and provided continuous documentation support to the organization. I have personally found (name) full of zeal and diligence toward the work deliveries. They always deliver quality work and keep up with the timelines set by the organization. They strongly feel about women’s rights and ensure that their voices get captured through her work. In case, the university wants me to elaborate on any specific information with respect to my engagement with (name), please feel free to get in touch. Yours Sincerely,  Recommender’s Full Name  Designation-Department  College, City  Contact No-  Email ID-

Note:   This letter is strong for many reasons. It elucidates how and in what capacity the letter writer knows the student. It highlights the specific examples of the student’s performance, including aspects that made him stand out in comparison to other batchmates. It also highlights an estimate of how the student ranks among all students with whom the letter writer has worked over the years. 

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LLL Program Well‐Known University 1234 University Way Big City, Florida 54321 August 20, 2022 Dear Program Director, It is my great delight to back the candidature of Kristen Stewart, who was first introduced to me when she came to Max Hospital as a third-year student in 2015. I found Kristen Stewart to be a conscientious and hard-working individual. She meticulously took care of patients aligned with her and ensured that all the work‐up was done before the morning rounds, where she actively participated. Her responsibilities comprised – writing SOAP notes, garnering lab reports from the previous day, writing transfer and discharge summaries, noon conferences, participating in morning reports, and more. She has impeccable clinical skills and displays them with mature mannerisms.  Kristen Stewart is humble and gets along well with his peers and the medical team. I recommend her to you for any residency program that she may be seeking. I am sure she will be a valuable asset to your organization. Please feel free to contact me if you need further information.  Sincerely Yours, YYY, M.D.  (Designation)

Note: This letter is weak for a plethora of reasons. It is non-specific and vague, explaining what any medical student would do. There is no specific example of Kristen’s work provided. It reflects that the recommender does not even know about the specialization. Furthermore, the letter clearly does not reflect the applicant’s qualities and is of little value in assessing the application. 

6 Tips For Writing a Stellar Recommendation Letter for Graduate Students

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When it comes to pulling off a successful Letter of Recommendation from a professor for a master's degree, it is essential to note the following points:

If you have to furnish 2 or 3 recommendation letters, you should get recommenders to mention various aspects of your achievements, personality, and academic and extracurricular accomplishments. For example, one letter may emphasize your research skills, while another may focus on your classroom performance. 

Even if the recommender knows you very well, they will likely not have records of all your academic achievements, extracurricular achievements, and test scores. Help them out by providing all relevant information, including your CV, lists of your academic GPAs and achievements, volunteer/extracurricular activities, and the date by which they should submit the letter. 

Recommenders must mention instances or anecdotes that help them see certain qualities in you. Simply stating that an applicant has good research attributes will not work unless an example is included in a research project or discussion.

Admission officers have already witnessed innumerable applications. A letter that is solely praising you will sound unrealistic and unauthentic. It is, hence important that the recommender also talks about how you improved over a period and capitalized on your strengths while taking care of your weaknesses. 

The recommendation letter is undoubtedly a formal document. It should not be equated with a dry tone while writing. Admissions committees usually appreciate personalized yet formal recommendation letters. Hence, a strong letter will speak about the candidate while avoiding clichés. Moreover, the style and content of every LOR should be different without hindering the format.

Remember that the admissions committee will easily detect whether the same individual has written your LOR or whether it has been plagiarized. Hence, you should not blindly copy any content or LOR format and send it to the universities in your applications.

Structure/ Format of LOR

The content structure and format of your letter of recommendation are indispensable while drafting LOR. It should be phrased in such a way that the intended message is clearly communicated. It should be cohesively drafted and divided into 3–4 paragraphs, each addressing a unique facet backed by logic and rationale. Moreover, LOR should not have generic or overly vague descriptors. 

The first section should establish a concrete foundation with regard to the relationship between the candidate and the recommender. It should explain how the recommender knows the candidate and indicate how qualified he is to attest to the candidate’s skills and capabilities.

This portion should focus on your essential qualities and credentials. It should bring across how competent and proficient you are with appropriate examples backing your claims. 

In this part, the recommender can talk about a specific incident or unique experience that features your technical and professional skills and expertise. Here, one can also talk about soft skills if relevant.

This section should analytically highlight all the points discussed above. The letter should be concluded with the recommender providing a considerable endorsement to the candidate for them to be accepted into the program they wish to enter.

How to Submit Your Letter of Recommendation?

It should be noted that submitting a Letter of Recommendation largely depends on the university you are applying to study. Most international universities have certain specifications about the mode they want the recommendation letter to be submitted. Let us look at the three common ways you may be required to submit your letter of recommendation:

This is the simplest mode of submitting a letter of recommendation. What happens here is that the universities essentially provide an online login portal to the candidate’s listed recommenders, where  they are required to answer specific questions about the candidate.

Some universities often require recommendation letters to be submitted directly by the recommenders via email. This submission should be made using the recommender’s official email ID. 

This remains the most common and popular manner of submission. Here, the student is supposed to collect the letter of recommendation from the recommender in a sealed, signed, and stamped package. The student can then proceed by sending the letter to the respective university and his personal information and details about his application.

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How To Ask For LOR

It is only natural for students to be hesitant about asking for  recommendation letters for a student from teachers for master’s programs , mentors, or employers. Thus, irrespective of how nervous you may feel about requesting a recommendation letter, you must remember that it is a normal part of the admissions process. Let us discuss further how you can ask for an LOR:

Asking for a letter of recommendation from the right person is of significant value in your admission procedure. You should remember a list of people who know you well enough and are eligible to attest to your qualities and character.

If you prepare a resume listing your strong suits and skills, it makes it much simpler for the recommender to write you a stellar recommendation. You can also provide your academic transcripts while highlighting your achievements and qualifications.

It is always best to ask for a recommendation letter. It is much more respectful to ask a recommender in-person before sending them a formal request via email or post. 

After affirming your acceptance of your request in person, you can send a formal proposal. You can do so by sending out a formal written request via email.

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Let us first look at what an LOR is:

LOR is an abbreviation of “Letter of Recommendation”. It is essentially a piece of attested document that is provided by an authorized person describing the potential and capabilities of a student or aspiring candidate who wishes to join a particular university for higher education . This document notifies the admissions department of that university with regard to the candidate’s achievements, prospects, skills, and qualities. A letter of recommendation from an accredited person plays an important role in the admissions process of students, especially in international universities.

Now, let us talk about SOPs:

SOP is an abbreviated form of “Statement of Purpose.” It is one of the most important documents supporting a student’s admission procedure to international universities. Typically, it is a document that holds a biographical essay that is to be written by the candidate about himself. The candidate is expected to describe their principles, goals, and ambitions in this essay. They can discuss their long-term plans and the passions and dreams they wish to work towards. This statement of purpose helps the admissions staff get an idea about your overall personality and nature. 

Now, a letter of recommendation( LOR ) and a letter of reference are terms that are often used interchangeably by people. However, they differ in some key aspects, which we will discuss. As discussed above, a letter of recommendation is an officially attested document that supports a candidate’s admission application to an international university. It can also be a supportive document for job opportunities or other professional programs. A Letter of Reference is basically a generic affirmation or approbation of the candidate’s personality and character. A Letter of Recommendation is usually sent directly to the concerned university, while a Letter of Reference is handed over to the concerned student. Finally, a Letter of Recommendation must be written by a certified person who is qualified to comment on your academic and professional skills. In contrast, a letter of reference can be written by friends or colleagues who can attest to your character and capabilities.

Suppose you are a student aspiring to pursue a master’s program at an international university. In that case, it is important that you understand that most universities care a great deal about your past experiences, personal character, skills, and qualities in addition to your grades. This is where a letter of recommendation comes in handy. 

Now, whom you should ask for a letter of recommendation for your master’s program; it depends largely on the university and the program you are planning to pursue. Some universities explicitly require letters of recommendation from Professors, professional mentors, and past employers. If you are asked to provide a recommendation letter from a professor, this letter should fixate on your academic skills and accomplishments. Now, if you are expected to provide a letter from a past employer, this document should focus on the specific skills pertinent to your respective Master’s program. Asking the right person for a letter of recommendation is a significant part of applying for a Master’s program.

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Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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sample letter of recommendation for masters program in education

So, you've set your sights on a master's degree – fantastic! Now comes the not-so-small hurdle of securing strong letters of recommendation (LORs). These letters are crucial for grad school admissions, offering a window into your capabilities beyond grades and transcripts. But where do you even begin? Don't worry, future scholar, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to craft a stellar request and provide some sample LORs to inspire you.

Why LORs Matter

Think of your LORs as character references for the academic world. They tell the admissions committee what you're like beyond the numbers. Did you excel in class discussions? Are you a self-motivated researcher? A strong LOR can highlight these qualities and make your application stand out.

Finding the Right Recommenders

The key to a powerful LOR is choosing the right people to write them. Ideally, you want professors or employers who:

  • Know you well: They should be able to speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, and potential for success in a graduate program.
  • Can vouch for your achievements: Did you ace their class? Lead a successful project under their supervision? These experiences provide concrete examples for the recommender to showcase.
  • Are familiar with your chosen field: Having a recommender with expertise in your desired graduate program adds weight to their evaluation.

Crafting Your Request

Once you've identified your recommenders, it's time to make the ask. Here's a roadmap for crafting a compelling request:

  • Refresh their memory: Briefly introduce yourself and remind them of your past interactions (e.g., the class you took together, the project you worked on).
  • Highlight your goals: Briefly explain why you're pursuing a master's degree and how their program aligns with your interests.
  • Provide context: Mention specific achievements or qualities you'd like them to emphasize in their letter. Offer transcripts, research papers, or project reports if relevant.
  • Express gratitude: Thank them for their time and consideration.

Sample LOR Request Email

Subject: Letter of Recommendation Request – [Your Name] – Master's in [Program Name]

Dear Professor [Professor's name],

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I was a student in your [Course Name] class during [Semester and Year]. I'm writing to request a letter of recommendation in support of my application to the Master's program in [Program Name] at [University Name].

I thoroughly enjoyed your [Course Name] class, and particularly appreciated [Mention specific aspects of the course you enjoyed]. As you may recall, I [Mention a specific achievement or contribution in the class]. This experience solidified my interest in [Your area of interest] and ultimately led me to pursue a graduate degree in [Program name].

The [Program name] at [University name] particularly interests me because of [Reasons why the program is a good fit]. My ultimate goal is to [Your career goals after the master's degree].

I've attached my resume and transcript for your reference. If there's any other information you'd need to write a strong letter, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I truly appreciate your support.

[Your Name]

Let's See it in Action: Sample LORs

Now, let's delve into some sample LORs to understand what makes them effective:

Sample 1: From a Professor

Dr. Anne Smith

Professor of Biology

Anytown University

Admissions Committee

[ Program Name]

[University Name]

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am writing this letter to wholeheartedly recommend [Student Name] for admission to your Master's program in [Program Name]. I had the pleasure of having [Student Name] in my [Course Name] class during [Semester and Year], and they consistently impressed me with their intellectual curiosity, strong work ethic, and exceptional analytical skills.

[Student Name] consistently achieved top marks in the class, demonstrating a deep understanding of complex biological concepts. Beyond their academic prowess, [Student Name] actively participated in class discussions, asking insightful questions and readily contributing to group projects. I vividly recall [Student Name]'s insightful analysis of [Mention a specific topic or project], which sparked a lively debate in class.

Furthermore, [Student Name] went above and beyond the course requirements by [Mention any research project, internship, or independent study]. This initiative showcased their genuine passion for [Area of interest] and their ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems.

[Student Name] is not only a brilliant student but also a collaborative team player. They readily supported their peers and fostered a positive learning environment. Their strong communication skills were evident in their [Mention presentations, reports, or papers]. [Student Name] possesses a genuine desire to learn and a dedication to excellence that makes them an ideal candidate for your program.

Sample 2: From an Employer

Mr. John Lee

Project Manager

ABC Tech Company

I am writing to recommend [Employee Name] for admission to your Master's program in [Program Name]. [Employee Name] has been a valuable member of my team at ABC Tech Company for the past two years, working as a [Employee's Job Title]. During this time, they have consistently demonstrated exceptional technical skills, a strong work ethic, and a passion for continuous learning.

[Employee Name] played a key role in the successful completion of our recent project on [Project Name]. Their ability to [Mention specific skills] was instrumental in [Describe the employee's contribution to the project's success]. Furthermore, [Employee Name] readily took initiative, [Mention an example of initiative] which significantly improved the project's efficiency.

[Employee Name] is a highly motivated individual with a thirst for knowledge. They actively seek out opportunities to learn new skills and expand their expertise. They recently enrolled in an online course on [Course Name] to further their understanding of [Relevant field]. This dedication to professional development demonstrates their commitment to excellence.

[Employee Name]'s strong analytical and problem-solving skills, coupled with their eagerness to learn, make them a perfect fit for your program. I have no doubt that they will be a valuable asset to your institution.

Sample 3: Highlighting Research Potential

Dr. Michael Brown

Research Professor

University of Research

[Program Name]

I am writing to recommend [Student Name] for admission to your Master's program in [Program Name]. [Student Name] worked as a research assistant in my lab for the past year, and their contributions have been invaluable.

[Student Name] quickly grasped complex research methodologies and demonstrated exceptional proficiency in [Mention specific lab techniques]. Their meticulous attention to detail and strong analytical skills were instrumental in [Describe a specific project or experiment].

What truly sets [Student Name] apart is their independent research initiative. They identified a previously unexplored aspect of our research on [Research topic] and proposed a new line of inquiry. This independent thinking and ability to identify research gaps are hallmarks of a successful researcher.

[Student Name] is not only a skilled researcher but also a clear and concise communicator. Their presentation of our research findings at the [Conference Name] conference was well-received by the audience. Their ability to explain complex scientific concepts in a clear and engaging manner is commendable.

[Student Name]'s intellectual curiosity, strong work ethic, and research potential make them an ideal candidate for your program. I am confident that they will excel in your program and make significant contributions to the field of [Research field].

The Final Touches

Remember, a strong LOR is a collaborative effort. Once you've submitted your request, follow up with your recommenders to ensure they have all the necessary information. Thank them again for their time and support. With a well-crafted request and strong recommendations, you'll be well on your way to securing your place in a master's program!

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FAQs: Mastering the Recommendation for Your Master's Application

Who should i ask for lors.

  • Professors: Ideal if they know you well from a challenging course related to your master's program. They can speak to your academic abilities, analytical skills, and potential for research.
  • Employers: Excellent if your work aligns with your desired graduate program. They can highlight your work ethic, problem-solving skills, and ability to apply knowledge in a professional setting.

What should I include in my LOR request email?

  • Briefly introduce yourself and remind the recommender of your past interaction (class, project).
  • Explain your reason for pursuing a master's degree and why their program is a good fit.
  • Mention specific achievements or qualities you'd like them to emphasize (provide transcripts or research papers if relevant).
  • Express gratitude for their time and consideration.

What makes a strong LOR?

  • Specific examples: The recommender should showcase your strengths with concrete examples from class projects, research experiences, or work accomplishments.
  • Highlights your potential: The letter should not just focus on past achievements but also demonstrate your ability to succeed in a graduate program.
  • Positive and enthusiastic tone: The recommender should express their confidence in your capabilities and enthusiasm for your pursuit of a master's degree.

How many LORs do I typically need?

The number of LORs required varies by program, but two is a common standard. Some programs might request one academic and one professional recommendation. Check the specific program requirements to ensure you submit the correct number.

Stuck crafting that crucial letter of recommendation request for your Master's application? Don't sweat it! This guide equips you with a winning formula, sample LORs, and expert tips to secure stellar recommendations that will make your application shine. Get ready to impress the admissions committee!

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Sample Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

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More Recommendation Letter Examples

One of the many tasks that college professors are asked to do is write letters of recommendation for students and graduates who wish to apply for graduate school. Most professors are more than happy to do this for students who have excelled in their classes or who they know from extracurricular activities or campus activities.

However, writing these letters takes time away from lecture planning, student advising, and essay grading. Often instructors end up writing these letters of recommendation on their own time, so it's important to provide as much assistance as you can to the person who is writing your recommendation.

For most graduate school programs, you’ll need several letters of recommendation. The best people to ask for a recommendation include:

  • 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.

How to Ask for a Grad School Reference 

If you're applying to graduate school and need a letter of recommendation, try to make it as easy as possible for your professor by giving them information to work with: a copy of your resume, a list of your outstanding academic achievements and grade point average (GPA), awards and honors, a list of your extracurricular or volunteer activities (especially those where you filled a leadership role), and the date by which the letter must be submitted to the graduate program. Share your transcript with your recommender as well.

A well-written, enthusiastic letter of recommendation from a professor may do more than get you accepted into graduate school—it may also convince the department faculty to give you fellowship funding for tuition or paid employment as a research or teaching assistant.

Make sure to give your professor ample lead time to write a detailed and powerful letter for you. At the minimum, a few weeks notice is best.

Be sure to ask your professor if they are able to provide a recommendation for you. This gives them an out if they don't have time or don't feel that they can give you a strong reference.

Also, if you ask an instructor to write a letter for you right away, it’s likely that they may either decline or will dash off a quick letter that doesn’t advocate strongly for your candidacy.

Below you will find an example of a letter of recommendation for graduate school and also an example of a letter thanking the reference provider for recommending you. It’s important to thank your professors for their help—should you eventually earn a graduate degree in their field of expertise, these faculty may one day be your colleagues.

This is an example of a recommendation letter for graduate school. Download the graduate school reference letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word) or see below for more examples.

The Balance

Sample Reference Letter for Graduate School (Text Version)

Jane Doe 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555 jane.doe@email.com

April 18, 2022

Jeff Lee Office of the Registrar Acme School 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Mr. Lee,

I highly recommend Emily Smith as a candidate for graduate school. I have worked with Emily in my capacity as Education Department Chair at Salitus College. 

While a student at Salitus, Emily maintained a 3.98 GPA while taking a full load of honors classes and seminars. She excelled as the top student in the senior-level Teaching Methods course I teach; her other instructors in our department speak highly of her performance in their classes, as well.

In addition to her classwork, Emily was also employed in various positions including teaching a museum program to fourth-grade classes in the Saratoga Springs School District, teaching both adults and children to ride horses, and managing horse show participation for a local riding stable.

She accomplished all these tasks with great initiative and with a very positive attitude. Emily has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially the "at-risk" children she worked with at Carroll Hill School and Prospect Child and Family Center. Emily has a special talent working with the children who need more guidance and support than those typically found in a traditional classroom setting.

Her ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly superior. She has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, reliable, and computer literate.

Emily would be a tremendous asset to your program and I recommend her to you without reservation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Signature (hard copy letter)

Jane Doe Chair, Department of Education

Thank You Letter for a Recommendation

Also review a thank you letter written to show appreciation for a reference for graduate school.

Graduate School Reference Thank You Letter Example

Alexandra Janning 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555 alexandra.janning@email.com

May 1, 2022

Jane Doe Chair, Department of Education Salitus College 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Dr. Doe,

Thank you very much for the reference to Anycity Graduate School. I learned so much from you during my undergraduate career at Salitus, and I believe your faith in me gave me the confidence to achieve more than I thought possible.

I just learned that I have been accepted into the program! I really appreciate your support and the time you took to write personally to your colleagues at Anycity Graduate School on my behalf. 

Sincerely yours,

Alexandra Janning

Review examples of letters of recommendation and get free templates to download, including academic, employment, and personal reference letters.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 4 amazing recommendation letter samples for students.

Letters of Recommendation


How important are recommendation letters in a college application? According to William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, they are "extremely important."

If you're a student, examples of great letters of recommendation can help you understand how to get strong letters yourself from your teachers. If you're a teacher, the examples in this guide will inspire you to support your students strongly as they apply to college. Keep reading for four excellent letters from teachers that will get anyone into college , along with expert analysis on why they're so strong.

Important Note: Are you looking for job recommendation letters? If so, check out my great post here!

First, let's understand the role of recommendation letters in your application.

Why are Recommendation Letters Important?

The majority of admissions officers at four-year colleges, especially private schools, emphasize that their process is holistic . They seek to gain a sense of the student as a "whole person," rather than focusing on pieces of who she is based solely on grades and test scores. Since they rarely meet the student in person, the recommendation letters, along with the student's own personal essay, play a huge role in illuminating her intellectual and personal qualities.

That's why recommendation letters from teachers, especially those who know their students well, carry a great deal of weight in applications. A letter that expresses a strong vote of support, as well as highlights a student's impressive academic and personal strengths , can have a powerful effect on that student's chances of admission.

Let's look at some samples of strong recommendation letters, one from an English teacher, another from a physics teacher, the third from a history teacher, and the final one from a math teacher. Then we'll break down exactly why these letters of recommendation are effective.

The first example recommends Sara, a senior who loves to write and read poetry.

Sample Letter #1: Sara the Poet

Dear Admissions Committee, I had the pleasure of teaching Sara in her 11th grade honors English class at Mark Twain High School. From the first day of class, Sara impressed me with her ability to be articulate about difficult concepts and texts, her sensitivity to the nuances within literature, and her passion for reading, writing, and creative expression- both in and out of the classroom. Sara is a talented literary critic and poet, and she has my highest recommendation as a student and writer. Sara is talented at considering the subtleties within literature and the purpose behind authors' works. She produced an extraordinary year-long thesis paper on creative identity development, in which she compared works from three different time periods and synthesized cultural and historical perspectives to inform her analysis. When called upon to give her thesis defense in front of her peers, Sara spoke clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in a thoughtful way. Outside of the classroom, Sara is dedicated to her literary pursuits, especially to poetry. She publishes her poetry in our school's literary magazine, as well as in online magazines. She is an insightful, sensitive, and deeply self-aware individual driven to explore art, writing, and a deeper understanding of the human condition. Throughout the year Sara was an active participant in our discussions, and she always supported her peers. Her caring nature and personality allow her to work well with others in a team setting, as she always respects others' opinions even when they differ from her own. When we held a class debate about gun laws, Sara opted to speak for the side opposite her own views. She explained her choice as motivated by a desire to put herself in other people's shoes, view the issues from a new perspective, and gain a clearer sense of the issue from all angles. Throughout the year, Sara demonstrated this openness to and empathy for the opinions, feelings, and perspectives of others, along with shrewd powers of observation, all qualities that makes her outstanding as a student of literature and burgeoning writer. I am certain that Sara is going to continue to do great and creative things in her future. I highly recommend her for admission to your undergraduate program. She is talented, caring, intuitive, dedicated, and focused in her pursuits. Sara consistently seeks out constructive feedback so she can improve her writing skills, which is a rare and impressive quality in a high school student. Sara is truly a stand-out individual who will impress everyone she meets. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at [email protected]. Sincerely, Ms. Scribe English Teacher Mark Twain High School

This is a thorough, glowing recommendation for a student that Ms. Scribe clearly knows well. What other features make it stand out as a strong letter of rec?


The Breakdown

Ms. Scribe has a high opinion of Sara and her skills at writing and literary analysis. One way that she expresses this is by using powerful and specific language. She doesn't merely say Sara is a good writer. She says she's articulate about difficult concepts and sensitive to the nuances within literature. She calls her insightful and self-aware with shrewd powers of observation.

These descriptors don't happen by accident. Ms. Scribe took the time to choose her words carefully , and that effort paid off with a strong letter that captures Sara's special qualities.

Ms. Scribe also supports her characterization of Sara with examples . She describes her thesis paper and how she responded to questions thoughtfully under the pressured situation of her thesis defense. She gives the example of the debate on gun laws to illustrate Sara's openness to many different points of view.

In addition to illuminating her intellectual and personal strengths and supporting them with specific examples, Ms. Scribe speaks to Sara's goals for the future. She points out that she is talented at writing, poetry specifically, and that she is committed to continuing to improve as a writer in her future.

This letter, by virtue of its wording, length, and specificity, shows that Ms. Scribe took the time and effort to recommend Sara thoughtfully and with conviction. The fact that she knows Sara well and is committed to helping her application succeed with a thoughtful letter further adds weight to her assessment.

This letter would be a boon to Sara's application, especially if she's applying to study writing or English. She clearly impressed her English teacher and, in return, got a memorable, complimentary letter of recommendation for her college application.

This next example is similarly enthusiastic and detailed. It's for a student applying to an engineering program.

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Sample Letter #2: Stacy the Engineer

Dear Admissions Committee, It is a great pleasure to recommend Stacy for admission to your engineering program. She is one of the most exceptional students I have encountered in my 15 years of teaching. I taught Stacy in my 11th grade honors physics class and advised her in Robotics Club. I am not surprised to find out she is now ranked at the top of an extraordinarily capable class of seniors. She has a keen interest in and talent for physics, math, and scientific inquiry. Her advanced skills and passion for the subject make her an ideal fit for your rigorous engineering program. Stacy is a perceptive, sharp, quick individual with a high aptitude for math and science. She is driven to understand how things work, whether they be the old computer hard drives in the school library or the forces that hold our universe together. Her final project in class was especially impressive, an investigation of frequency-dependent sound absorption, an idea that she said was sparked by not wanting to bother her parents with her hours of guitar practice at home. She's been a strong leader in Robotics Club, eager to share her knowledge with others and learn new skills. I have the students in the club prepare lessons and take turns leading our after-school meetings. When it was Stacy's turn, she showed up prepared with a fascinating lecture on lunar nautics and fun activities that got everyone moving and talking. She was our only student teacher to be met with much deserved applause at the end of her lesson. Stacy's personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments. She's an active, outgoing presence in class with a great sense of humor. Stacy's the perfect person to get a group project rolling, but she also knows how to sit back and let others take the lead. Her cheerful nature and openness to feedback means she's always learning and growing as a learner, an impressive strength that will continue to serve her well in college and beyond. Stacy is just the kind of driven, engaging, and curious student that helped make our classroom a lively environment and safe place to take intellectual risks. Stacy has my highest recommendation for admission to your engineering program. She has demonstrated excellence in all that she puts her mind to, whether it's designing an experiment, collaborating with others, or teaching herself to play classical and electrical guitar. Stacy's endless curiosity, combined with her willingness to take risks, leads me to believe there will be no limit to her growth and achievements in college and beyond. Please don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Sincerely, Ms. Randall Physics Teacher Marie Curie High School

Ms. Randall is clearly as much of a fan of Stacy as she is of Mileva Marić. How does she communicate her recommendation?


Ms. Randall plugs for Stacy right off the bat with a statement of outstanding ranking : Stacy is one of the most exceptional students she's had in 15 years of teaching. A statement like this is pretty extraordinary and will make an impact in the mind of its readers. Stacy sounds like a special student, and she chose her recommender well.

Like in the last example, this letter uses strong, specific language , calling Stacy a perceptive and sharp person who has the confidence and good humor to take intellectual risks. Through its accurate and expressive language, this letter helps Stacy come to life in the mind of the reader.

Beyond the evaluation, Ms. Randall gives specific examples of Stacy's academic and personal strengths. She talks about her successful teaching in Robotics Club, her leadership in group projects, and her dedicated practice to teaching herself to play the guitar.

Rather than spreading the letter too thin, Ms. Randall highlights a few core themes. She connects Stacy's love of music with her passion for physics by talking about the frequency-dependent sound absorption project. All the threads tie together in a nice, memorable bow.

This letter is a strong vote of support for Stacy's application to an engineering program. Her physics teacher admires Stacy's skills and goals, and she made it clear that Stacy had her highest recommendation in this letter.

This next example also comes from a teacher who's extremely impressed with his student. It focuses on the student's performance in class and his volunteer work outside the classroom.


Sample Letter #3: William the History Buff and Social Organizer

Dear Admissions Committee, It is hard to overstate the meaningful contributions that William has made to our school and surrounding community. As both his 10th and 11th grade History teacher, I've had the pleasure of seeing William make profound contributions both in and out of the classroom. His school and community service is motivated by a strong sense of social justice, which he informs through a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of historical trends and events. I can say with confidence that William is one of the most caring and driven students I've ever taught in my fifteen years at the school. As a child of immigrant parents, William is especially drawn to understand the immigrant experience. He produced an extraordinary semester-long research paper on the treatment of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. during WWII, in which he went beyond all expectations to conduct Skype interviews with relatives of his featured subjects to incorporate into his paper. William has a great capacity to draw connections between past and present and to ground his understanding of current issues in the context of historical events. He never retreats to a simple answer or explanation, but is comfortable dealing with ambiguity. William's fascination with U.S. and World History and skill for deep analysis have him an exemplary scholar, as a well as a motivated activist driven to promote civil rights and work towards social equity. In sophomore year, William noticed that the college planning seminars students attended included little information for first generation or immigrant students. Always thinking about how institutions can better serve people, William spoke with counselors and ESL teachers about his ideas to better support all students. He helped collect resources and design a college planning curriculum for immigrant and undocumented students to enhance their college access. He further helped organize a group that connected ESL students with native English speakers, stating his mission to be helping ELLs improve their English and increasing multicultural awareness and social cohesion at the school as a whole. William identified a need and worked with students and faculty alike to meet it in an extremely effective and beneficial way. Ever the history scholar, he did plenty of research to back up his ideas. William believes passionately in social progress and working for the common good. His own personal experiences, along with his profound grasp on social history, drive his advocacy work. He is a talented, intelligent student with the charisma, confidence, strong values, and respect for others to make a huge difference in the world around him. I'm looking forward to seeing all the good that William continues to do for his fellow humanity in college and beyond, as well as the excellent work that he will produce at the college level. William has my highest recommendation. If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected]. Sincerely, Mr. Jackson History Teacher Martin Luther King, Jr. High School

Mr. Jackson's letter makes William sound like a pretty amazing student and person. How does he go about expressing his admiration for William in this rec letter?


Like Ms. Randall did in her letter, Mr. Jackson provides a statement of outstanding ranking for William, calling him one of the most caring and driven students he's ever taught. Considering his long teaching career of 15 years, this says a lot about William as a student and a person.

Also like in the last example, Mr. Jackson focuses on a few core aspects of William's character. He talks about his love of history and how it informs his social activism. He comments on his exceptional historical scholarship, as well as his personal qualities of caring for those around him and working for the social good.

Mr. Jackson also gives insight into William's personal life , explaining how he has a personal connection to his projects and volunteer work as the child of immigrant parents. This letter reveals that William is a thoughtful, motivated individual who connects his own experiences with his learning and desire to contribute to his community.

The letter also showcases William's exceptional accomplishments by giving specific examples of William's research paper and his work supporting the academic and personal needs of ELL students. Mr. Jackson expresses his enthusiastic recommendation while illuminating William's love of learning and strength of character. This letter would be both impressive and memorable to admissions officers considering William for admission to their school.

This next example comes from a math teacher. Let's see what Mr. Wiles has to say about Joe.


Sample Letter #4: Joe the Hard Worker

Dear Admissions Committee, It is my pleasure to recommend Joe, who I taught in my 11th grade math class. Joe demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout the year and brought a great energy to class. He has that combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve that's rare in a high school student, but so essential to the learning process. I am confident that he will continue to display the same commitment and diligence in everything he does. I highly recommend Joe for admission to your school. Joe would not describe himself as a math person. He's told me on several occasions that all the numbers and variables make his mind go fuzzy. Joe did, in fact, struggle to comprehend the material at the beginning of the year, but his response to this is what really struck me. Where so many others have given up, Joe took on this class as a welcome challenge. He stayed after school for extra help, got extra tutoring at the nearby college, and asked questions in and out of class. Due to all his hard work, Joe not only raised his grades, but he also inspired some of his classmates to stay after for extra help, as well. Joe truly demonstrated a growth mindset, and he inspired his peers to adopt that valuable perspective, too. Joe helped contribute to our classroom environment as one where all students can feel supported and able to ask questions. Joe's strong belief in his ability to acquire new skills and improve through practice was likely shaped by his years as a baseball player. He's played all through high school and is one of the team's most valuable players. In his final for our class, Joe designed an impressive project calculating and analyzing batting averages. While he initially described himself as not a math person, Joe reaped the benefits of his tremendous effort and found a way to make the subject come alive for him in a way that he was personally invested in. As a teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to witness a student make this kind of academic and personal progress. Joe is a trustworthy, reliable, good-humored student and friend who supports others in and out of the classroom. He was a pleasure to have in class, and his positive attitude and belief in himself, even in the face of difficulty, is an immensely admirable asset. I'm confident that he will continue to demonstrate the same diligence, perseverance, and optimism that he showed myself and his peers. I highly recommend Joe for admission to your undergraduate program. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions at [email protected]. Sincerely, Mr. Wiles Math Teacher Euclid High School

While the students featured in the first three examples were top of their class or demonstrated leadership in the school, Joe isn't a top achiever in the traditional sense. However, this recommendation is still a strong one, even if it says he struggled in the teacher's class. What does Mr. Wiles focus on to recommend Joe?


Mr. Wiles writes a strong letter for Joe, with the same kind of enthusiasm and specific examples as the other three letters. Even though Joe may not have gotten the strongest grades in his math class, he found an enthusiastic recommender in his math teacher. Mr. Wiles was extremely impressed with Joe's attitude, effort, and growth mindset , which he demonstrated throughout the year and inspired in his fellow classmates.

Mr. Wiles focuses on Joe's substantial personal strengths, ones that would likely be impressive to his future educators. Even in a subject that may not come naturally to him, Joe is diligent and committed. He's not self-conscious about asking questions or seeking extra help, and he retains a strong belief in himself that he can continuously learn, improve, and acquire new skills.

This letter, like the others, is effective because it is focused, supportive, and backed up with examples. As you can tell from these examples, recommendations can communicate a great deal about a student. Because of this, they can have a powerful impact on a student's chances of admission. So what can teachers and students do to make sure they are sending a strong recommendation letter that will help their chances?


Enthusiasm is key.

How to Get a Strong Recommendation Letter

While these letters are about different students with different interests, they share certain fundamental features. One, they sound excited and enthusiastic. The teachers clearly communicate that they are impressed by these students and eager to help them get into college.

At the same time, the letters don't go overboard because they have examples to back up their assessments. Specific examples and stories are key for backing up the assessment. Plus, they make a letter more interesting and memorable. Rather than just another engineering applicant, Stacy is the student who researched sound-absorption to spare her parents from hours of guitar scales.

Finally, the teachers all discuss their students' personal strengths , along with their academic strengths. They present the holistic view that admissions officers are looking for, along with their strong vote of confidence in the students' future success.

Teachers should incorporate all these features into their letters, and students should help provide them with the raw material to write about. While students should choose a teacher who knows them well and has stories and observations to share, they should also give their teachers a detailed "brag sheet" and let them know what would go into their ideal letter. That way it can be even more personalized and complement the story the student is telling in the rest of her application.

While recommenders may or may not share their letters with students, there should still be open, two-way communication when the student makes her request . That way students and teachers can work together to produce an insightful, enthusiastic, and specific letter of recommendation to send to colleges.

What's Next?

Are you a teacher writing recommendations for your students? Read all about how to write an outstanding recommendation letter for your students , along with what not to include.

Are you or a student you work with applying to a selective school, like Harvard? Learn about what kind of letter she should get for the Ivy League.

Now that you've read these examples of strong teacher recommendation letters, check out these examples of bad ones . Warning: rec letters may appear better than they actually are.

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Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

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    Book a free session. Format for a Letter of Recommendation for Masters. Structure: Introduction (1 Paragraph): Briefly introduce yourself (name, title, affiliation). State your relationship with the student (e.g., professor, supervisor) and how long you've known them. Mention the program they're applying to (optional).

  5. Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School: The Definitive Guide

    Sample letter of recommendation for graduate school. Dear Program Committee: I hope you will strongly consider accepting Constance Wong to your PhD in Counseling Psychology program. I recommend her most highly to you. I am an associate professor at Chapman University. I have known Constance for approximately 3 years.

  6. Letters of Recommendation for Grad School I Stanford Online

    Most master's degree programs, including MS programs through Stanford, require three letters of recommendation. However, it's essential to verify the specific guidelines set by your target institution and program. Once you know the number of letters that are required, it's a good strategy to have additional recommenders in mind.

  7. How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

    As for structure, letters of recommendation should not be longer than a page. Start off with a greeting ("Dear [Name]" or "To Whom It May Concern," if you don't know the recipient). In the opening paragraph, explain who you are, the nature of your relationship with the student and your overall impression of them.

  8. Sample Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

    This is a sample recommendation for a graduate school applicant was written by the applicant's college dean, who was familiar with the applicant's academic achievements. The letter is short but does an ample job of emphasizing things that would be important to a graduate school admissions committee, such as GPA, work ethic, and leadership ability.

  9. How to Write a Letter of Recommendation (Template + Tips)

    In general, a letter or recommendation can be broken down into the following sections: Date. Recipient Name. Recipient Title. Recipient Address. Greeting: Address the recipient by name if possible (Dear Ms/Mr). Personal introduction: Begin the body of your letter by introducing who you are and your relationship to the applicant.

  10. Sample Graduate School Recommendation Letters

    The three sample recommendation letters that follow, which you can download by clicking on the link below, are effective because they detail what makes the students stand out as exceptional and because they paint individual pictures of each student. Note how these excerpts, excerpted from each of the three letters, individualize and humanize ...

  11. Grad School Letter of Recommendation Example

    3 tips for securing strong graduate school letters of recommendation Ask the right recommenders. If you want to secure a strong letter of recommendation, you need to select your recommenders carefully. Most graduate school programs ask for at least three letters of recommendation, and typically at least one of them needs to be written by a ...

  12. Graduate School Letter of Recommendation Template

    A graduate school letter of recommendation should fill at least an entire page (usually 400 - 600 words) and contain a letterhead, an introduction, up to 4 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Letterhead. The following information pertaining to the letter's author should be included at the top left-hand corner of the page: Date of Writing ...

  13. Sample of an Effective Grad School Recommendation Letter

    Sample Letter of Recommendation. I am writing on behalf of Stu Dent's application to the online master's program in Education offered at XXU. All of my experiences with Stu are as a student in my online courses. Stu enrolled in my Introduction to Education (ED 100) online course in Summer, 2003. As you are aware, online courses, because of ...

  14. Master of Education Letters of Recommendation

    The person named below is applying for admission to the Rockhurst University Master of Education program and has asked that you write a letter of recommendation on his/her behalf. Speak to this person's potential to serve as an educational leader and his/her ability to be successful in a graduate program. Please scan the completed form with ...

  15. How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for Grad School

    With input from admissions experts at the University of Washington, we've compiled a list of eight tips for asking for — and receiving — great letters of recommendation. Follow this simple formula and get recommendations that will help your grad school application land in the "yes" pile. 1. Do Your Research.

  16. Letter of Recommendation Examples for Graduate School

    It is a letter of recommendation written by your undergraduate professor, supervisor, mentor, manager, etc. that highlights your academic performance, personal qualities, capabilities, and accomplishments that make you a good fit for a particular graduate school or program. These letters primarily serve one purpose, they are a form of peer-to-peer advice. They are required explicitly by an ...

  17. Letter of Recommendation for Masters

    A letter of recommendation (LOR) for a master's is undoubtedly very essential to study abroad. LORs, SOP, and CV/resume are key documents along with your application and transcripts that help the admissions committee determine your candidature. LORs are references provided by past employers or faculty members that help shed light on the ...

  18. Letter of Recommendation for Masters: Sample, Format & Template

    Sample LOR Request Email. Subject: Letter of Recommendation Request - [Your Name] - Master's in [Program Name] Dear Professor [Professor's name], I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I was a student in your [Course Name] class during [Semester and Year]. I'm writing to request a letter of recommendation in support ...

  19. Sample Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

    April 18, 2022. Dear Mr. Lee, I highly recommend Emily Smith as a candidate for graduate school. I have worked with Emily in my capacity as Education Department Chair at Salitus College. While a student at Salitus, Emily maintained a 3.98 GPA while taking a full load of honors classes and seminars.

  20. Letter of Recommendation: How to Write + Samples & Templates

    How long you've known the applicant. By including these details in the very beginning of your letter, the reader understands the context and strength of your recommendation. 5. Give words of praise. Finish your introduction with a sentence or two highlighting some of the applicant's key strengths or personality traits.

  21. PDF Graduate School Recommendation

    Graduate School Recommendation November xx, 20xx Letter of recommendation for Janet Lerner's graduate application Janet Lerner is the best student I have this year, and I enthusiastically support her graduate application. She is highly intelligent, works well as a team member, and has demonstrated leadership potential. I

  22. 4 Amazing Recommendation Letter Samples for Students

    Sample Letter #2: Stacy the Engineer. Dear Admissions Committee, It is a great pleasure to recommend Stacy for admission to your engineering program. She is one of the most exceptional students I have encountered in my 15 years of teaching.