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Letter of Recommendation for Graduation – A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Concerned about how to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school? You are where you ought to be. This blog explains: 

  • What LOR for graduate school is
  • Why you should need it
  • How to write it perfectly

What is a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School?

Letter of recommendation for graduate school is a reference letter you would need from a professor or HOD who knows you personally in order to apply to a grad school. The letter would come about 500 words in length.

Why Is a Reference Letter for Graduate Student So Important?

When you seek admission to a college or university, you would need to submit a few documents in the application and LOR is one of them. The LOR is important because it: 

  • Is the only document that endorses your skills and strengths 
  • Verifies and backs claims in your SOP
  • Declares that you are a student with ambition and convictions 
  • Proves that your previous academic formations are genuine
  • Serves as a third-person opinion regarding your candidature
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Whom Should You Ask for Your Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School?

It is important to choose the right person to write your LOR for grad school. Choose a mentor or professor or coworker or friend who knows you personally and professionally and who can honestly vouch for you.


LOR for graduate school from a mentor is valid and selectors value it just like any other LORs.  

Head of the Department (HOD):

You can always request your HOD for an LOR for graduate school from the HOD and it has got the highest authenticity.


LOR for graduate school from professor is as valuable as the same from the HOD. Any professor who taught you can write it. 


Your coworker with whom you share a good bond can vouch for you through an LOR for graduate school from a coworker. 


A close friend from your previous school or company is also eligible to recommend you through LOR for graduate school from a friend.  

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When Is the Right Time to Ask for Letters of Recommendation for Grad School?

It is ideal to request a letter of recommendation for graduate school, from whomever you wish to get it, at least a couple of months ahead of the application deadline. 

  • By requesting LOR in advance, the writer gets enough time to think about it and draft it appropriately. 
  • If your professor or HOD is busy with some other tasks, you can only wait until they are free, which may result in not getting the LOR on time. 

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School?

The way you request a recommendation letter for graduate school will have a direct impact on the quality of the letter you will receive. 

  • Never wait for the eleventh hour to request for LOR. 
  • Be polite, respectful and professional when you request LOR. 
  • Always try to meet the person physically and request for LOR, rather than do it through email or phone call. 
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What Information Should You Provide the Recommender With?

When you request LOR, be sure to provide the recommender with all relevant information and docs that support it.  This includes: 

  • Your statement of purpose copy
  • Your updated CV
  • Details of your extracurricular activities, internship, achievements, publications etc. and documents that back them. 
  • Details of the Institute/s you are sending the application to
  • Application submission deadline
  • A summary of your future plan and career goals
  • LOR submission procedure – whether the writer should dispatch it directly or hand it over to you. 

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School?

Writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school shouldn’t be a herculean task if you are following the right procedure. Here is the step-by-step procedure. 

Go with the standard letter writing format:

You can use the standard format applicable for a formal letter. See a letter of recommendation sample for graduate school.  

Show your enthusiasm:

Start the letter by hinting at your enthusiasm for recommending the candidate. 

Explain your relationship with the candidate:

Next, explain how you know the candidate and for how long you associated with him. 

Substantiate achievements and success:

Give an objective description of the candidate’s achievements and success during your association with him. 

Use comparisons:

Use comparisons to demonstrate how the candidate excelled and lived up to the institute’s expectations. 

Conclude affirmatively:

Conclude on a positive note affirming your support for the candidate and openness to further correspondence. 

Pro Tip: Unless the LOR for Graduate school shows the writer’s enthusiasm in recommending the candidate, it won’t really help.

In case you want to see how these steps are implemented in the writing of an LOR, go through an example letter of recommendation for graduate school.

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Sample Lor for Graduate Admission

Take a look at a graduate recommendation letter sample to understand how it is written and what areas it emphasizes. 

Note that the sample recommendation letter for graduate student given here is only meant for reference. Do not use any points from the sample in your LOR. 

What Should a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School Include?

A letter of recommendation should justify why you are the right candidate for a particular position. To be perfect and comprehensive, the LOR for grad school must contain the following elements as you may have noticed in the letter of recommendation template for graduate school. 

  • An account of the candidate’s skills and academic strengths. 
  • A brief summary of the candidate’s personality traits
  • Details about the candidate’s soft skills – leadership qualities, communication skills etc. 
  • Candidate’s involvement in extracurricular activities 
  • Candidate’s approach and attitude to other students and academic faculties

Tips to Write an Effective Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

An LOR for grad school needs to be comprehensive, engaging to read and free from mistakes. Follow these tips to write an effective LOR. 

Connect to the reader:

It is important to establish an emotional connection with the reader through the LOR by employing simple language and an engaging and friendly tone.

Make it individualistic:

A letter of recommendation for graduate school should be individualistic. It must align the personal traits and skills of the candidate with the requirements of the institution. 

Make it easy to scan:

Using the right formatting and presentation style, you must make your LOR for grad school easy to scan for specific details. 


We are positive that you have found this blog helpful to draft a recommendation letter for graduate school. 

Remember that a brilliantly written LOR, like the one you saw in the sample letter of recommendation for graduate school, can add more weightage to your application. 

Have you got anything else to clarify regarding a letter of recommendation for graduation? 

Feel free to let us know all your concerns by writing them in the comment section below. 



I am Anjit.V.S, a freelance writer, overseas education consultant and an academic documentation expert. Over the years, I have written documents for thousands of students and hundreds of businesses and individuals worldwide. Many of the prominent study abroad counsellors in India refer me to their students for SOP, LOR, admission essays. personal statements and other similar documents. Not just the academic documents but whatever content needs you have, stay assured. Perfectly impeccable services are delivered.

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