The Importance of Letters of Recommendations for Graduate School
Having the letters of recommendations for graduate school ready in time is one of the most important steps in ensuring an application package is ready to be sent to the graduate school of choice. Having it written to show the student off in the best possible light to make them stand out from the other applicants is crucial, so it needs to be carefully written to convince their prospective school committee that they should be chosen above the rest.
Learn how to write perfect letter of recommendation for medical school.
Guidelines to Consider When Writing a Graduate School Letter of Recommendation
- Letters of recommendations for graduate school should address the specific purpose for which it’s being written and contain a student’s capabilities and personal attributes. But shy away from focusing too much on their race/ethnicity, sex, family etc.
- In evaluating a student’s intellectual capabilities, try to describe the student in terms that reflect the student’s distinctive or individual strengths. Be prepared to back up your judgment with concrete examples – papers, exams, class presentations, or performance in a laboratory.
- In discussing a student’s character, do it in a similar fashion to the intellectual evaluation, highlighting their traits. Below we show traits to focus upon, while its not exhaustive, it will give you an idea of what can be included:
- Work ethic
- Motivation for learning
- Interpersonal skills.
- Academic potential
- Problem solving skills
- Ability to handle stress
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking skills.
- You should identify yourself and on what basis is your knowledge of the student. Were you a tutor in a tutorial or small seminar? How often did it meet? How many students? How many papers? Do you also know the student throughsome other capacity? Has your acquaintance been sustained over a number of years?
- Try to compare the student to others you have known in a similar way. Statements like, “In terms of intellectual talent and drive, this student ranks in the top xx% of all students I have taught over the past xx years,” can help an admissions committee place your recommendation into a broader context.
- Try to avoid using more superlatives than are necessary, a heavy use of stock phrases or clichés is generally unhelpful. Your letters of recommendations for graduate school will only be effective if they only contain substantive information about the student’s qualifications.
- Offer your own personal opinion as to why you believe the applicant is suitable for the position and what attributes they can offer their potential new graduate school.
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