What a Master’s LOR looks like
According to a research issued in 2017 by the Institute of International Education (IIE), around 1 lakh students from India applied to pursue graduate degrees in the United States. This comprises students seeking Master’s degrees in a variety of fields, including business and technology.
A letter of recommendation (LOR) for a master’s degree is unquestionably required for international admission. LORs, SOPs, and CVs/resumes, together with your application and transcripts, are important papers that help admissions committees judge your candidature. LORs are recommendations from prior employers or faculty members that offer insight on the candidate’s characteristics, previous performance, achievements, and eligibility. As a result, they are critical for an applicant’s profile and provide significant weight to the application.
The significance of LOR
A Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is an important aspect of the application process that may make or break a student’s prospects of admission or scholarship. Shriram Krishnamurthi, a Professor at Brown University’s Computer Science Department, wrote of a student who was accepted into an amazing graduate programme despite having a 2.67 GPA. This exceptional student had written about the factors that contributed to his high grade: he excelled in difficult subjects and struggled in easy ones. He illustrated this with various tales and made certain that his message stood out.
The LOR can help you stand out from the crowd of over a lakh candidates and improve your chances of admission. Any institute’s admissions committee seeks prospective students with strong academic credentials, remarkable social skills, a good character, and the potential to thrive. It allows the admissions committee to have a comprehensive understanding of your personal and professional experiences.
The difficulties involved in building a LOR
Prospective students from India who want to pursue a Master’s Degree in the United States sometimes struggle to obtain the proper flavors in their letters of reference. This is because their lecturers or employers may be accustomed to a specific LOR format or may have no notion at all.
Here are some tips for writing an excellent LOR
DOs of LOR
Credibility is important
Have you heard of Blake Gottesman? He got into Harvard Business School despite not having a college degree, owing to a great letter of recommendation provided by the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, for whom he worked as a full-time personal aide. After graduating from Harvard in 2008, he worked as a senior associate at Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity company.
Not every candidate has worked with or been taught by a pleasant ex-President or Prime Minister who is prepared to write a LOR. However, if you have job experience and have dealt with one of the leaders of a department, such as a CTO who is well-known in the business, obtaining a letter of recommendation from him would be ideal.
As a student, obtaining the head of department or the Dean of your institute to sign your LOR is far more important than getting your immediate pleasant supervisor or your cheerful 11th grade science instructor to do it.
LOR should not contradict the rest of your application
ABC is applying for a master’s degree after working for a high-growth firm for 45 months. She stated this on her application forms and was astute enough to obtain a glowing LOR from the company’s founder, a charming person whose success tales have been featured in media all over the world.
Use powerful language
Assume you’re heading to an interview for your ideal job. Are you more inclined to dress in soiled clothing and worn-out loafers, or would you like to decorate oneself with a fresh white shirt, a classic suit, and nice, polished shoes?
Using descriptive terminology and intriguing phrases in your LOR, rather than bland words or clichés, will guarantee that it sticks out.
Your letter should be filled with interesting tales
Do not rehash your resume
Writing a LOR that simply repeats what is on your resume will very likely reduce your chances of admission to an MS programme. The objective of the LOR is to paint a picture of your entire personality in the mind of the admission officer without you having to say anything.
Reiterating facts and numbers from your CV gives the admission officer the impression that the official who wrote the LOR is aloof and does not have a strong relationship with the applicant.
Mistakes in spelling
Spelling errors are a huge no-no. It may cast doubt on the credibility of the person suggesting you.
Language that is politically wrong
Today, one must be extra careful not to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Certain phrases or words may unwittingly cause harm to others.
The person submitting the recommendation may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of the English language. However, the applicant must take extra care to ensure that such statements are not included in the LOR, especially if the individual providing the LOR is known to have inadequate command of the English language.
The letter is too brief
A good recommendation letter should be around a page length, which translates to 500 to 600 words on an A4 sheet. Universities may sometimes specify the quantity of words, which makes it easier. A research that evaluated various letters of reference found that the more specifics in the letter, the better it is for the application – which suggested that as long as the contents in the letter are relevant, a longer letter might be beneficial to the prospective student.
A recommendation that is just half a page long, on the other hand, appears forced. A good rule of thumb is that a letter of recommendation should be short enough to be interesting to the reader, yet long enough to contain the crucial points.
It is critical to plan ahead of time for at least a couple of years before developing an effective LOR structure. This is because of the possibility of still slipping behind in various areas, such as academics, career successes, personal growth, or extracurricular activities. After a few years, one may start imagining how their LOR format should appear and strive toward that goal. So, if your grades aren’t up to par, you might not only study harder to raise your average, but also pursue your long-promised hobby of making robots. It is critical that one should not pursue things only to include them in the LOR, as these efforts will not endure long.
One should also notice the potential writer of one’s LOR and engage in developing a positive connection with that individual. Finally, before submitting the LOR, it is critical to edit and proofread it several times.