College professors and other notable people from academic and professional backgrounds often get requests to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school. The requests are from students who want to apply for graduate studies or research studies. Whether you are a student or the recommender, here’s an easy template to make your work easier.

Letters Of Recommendation For Graduate School

Who should write this letter?

For students, they should request a letter of recommendation for graduate school from someone they know very well and holds great repute in the academic or the professional field.

For a notable person whose recommendations hold importance and if a student chooses them, it means that they know that you appreciate them well enough to write positive things about them. A student would also choose you because you hold a position that’s important and respected.

To apply for graduate studies, students must submit at least one recommendation letter from a current or past academic adviser or professor. This letter can also come from a person with a different role other than a professor. These include a senior colleague, a professor from a different department, a research adviser or even an employer.

From whomsoever the recommendation letter for graduate school sample comes from, the recommender must know the applicant well enough to recognize their achievements. If you’re the one to write the letter, it also helps if you understand the program that your student wants to get into.

The difference between a recommendation and a reference letter

As a requirement for the application to graduate studies, candidates must provide a reference letter or a letter of recommendation for graduate school. These types of letters are not the same even though a lot of people think that they are. However, when you understand their definitions, you will also understand why they differ:

  • A letter or recommendation is explicitly required by an academic program. It should be directly sent by the professor or the employer to the university without the candidate seeing it. Generally, this document contains between 300 to 400 words and should expound on the candidate’s character, abilities, and accomplishments from an objective perspective.
  • An admission reference letter for graduate school is usually given directly to the candidate by the referee. The candidate can keep this letter for future use. This letter is typically addressed as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

This is the main reason why most universities often require a letter of recommendation rather than a reference letter. It is more personal and it speaks of the candidate in relation to their specific program.

Recommendation Letters For Graduate School

What should a graduate school recommendation letter include?

A typical recommendation letter for graduate school should cover a wide range of skills – from academic abilities to research experiences, and applied experiences both outside and inside the classroom. As the recommender, the letter you write must answer the following questions clearly:

  • What is your relationship with the student?
  • What do you know about the program the student wants to apply to?
  • Why is your opinion relevant? (this is why you should include your title and status)
  • What sets this student apart? (discuss the student’s qualities, traits, and characteristics)
  • What accomplishments does the student have that impressed you? (discuss the student’s habits in class and accomplishments)
  • What do you think makes the student qualified for graduate school or for the program they’re applying to? (include the student’s specific interests or courses)

How do I write a letter of recommendation for a master’s degree?

A letter of recommendation for graduate school should at least fill one whole page. It should include a letterhead, an introduction, up to four paragraphs in the body, and a conclusion. Include the following information at the top left-hand corner of your letter:

  • The date when you wrote the letter
  • Your complete name
  • Your title (or position)
  • The name of your school
  • Your school’s complete address
  • Your contact details (optional)

After these, it’s time to start working on the different parts of your letter:

  • Introduction
    This part of the letter simply states information about you and the person you’re writing about. It should only be between 2 to 4 sentences long.
  • Your relationship to the candidate
    In this section, give a description of the context in which you know the candidate and for how long. Mentioning how long you have known the candidate and the nature of your relationship can add substance to the statements about the candidate’s positive attributes. This paragraph must be between 3 to 6 sentences. Compose straightforward sentences to make it more effective.
  • The attributes of the candidate
    After discussing your relationship with the candidate, the next paragraph demonstrates the latter’s positive attributes and competencies. This makes up the main body of your recommendation letter for graduate school.
    It should have positive descriptions of the candidate’s work habits, sense of responsibilities, and character. Although on average, only a single paragraph will suffice the purpose, this could go up to three paragraphs depending on the details you choose to include.
  • The conclusion
    The concluding paragraph is a summary and reaffirmation of your recommendation for the candidate and it must include the method of contact that you prefer. The paragraph can be between 2 to 4 sentences long. Moreover, you must affix your hand signature underneath the conclusion to add authenticity to your letter.

Sample Recommendation Letters For Graduate

How to ask for a letter of recommendation for graduate school?

While applying for graduate school, a student is in need of a recommendation letter for graduate school sample as a requirement. They must make it as easy as possible for the professor they will request to write.

Students can do this by providing the necessary information like their resume, a list of their outstanding academic achievements, their Grade Point Average, a list of their volunteer or extracurricular activities, and the deadline set by the graduate school.

Students can expect more than just an admission into the graduate school if a professor submitted an enthusiastic, well-written letter of recommendation as this might also convince the school administration to award them with a scholarship or even paid employment as a teaching or research assistant.

Another thing the students must consider is to give their professor enough lead time to compose a powerful and detailed letter. If a student asked their professor to write a letter due the next day, chances are, the professor might either refuse the request or compose a hurried letter that doesn’t advocate the student’s candidacy strongly.