Letter of Recommendation Writing and Editing Service, Samples, Professional Service
Letters of Recommendation
When applying to graduate programs, one of the often underestimated but crucial aspects of your application is the letter of recommendation. These letters provide admissions committees with valuable insights into your abilities, character, and potential. In a recent discussion, two experienced admissions professionals shed light on what makes a great recommendation and how to choose the right recommenders.
Understanding the Importance of Recommendations
Recommendations offer admissions committees a unique perspective on an applicant, as one of the professionals emphasized, "It's really the one opportunity that we get to see you through someone else's eyes objectively." To choose the right recommenders, consider the following key factors:
1. Selection Criteria:
At Stanford University, for example, two recommendations are typically required. The first should come from your current direct supervisor, or the best alternative if this is not possible or appropriate.
The second recommendation should also come from someone who has supervised your work, which could be from a nonprofit, extracurricular activity, or the same organization.
2. Focus on Impact:
Look for recommenders who can provide specific examples of your impact. Admissions professionals believe that past behavior predicts future behavior, so the recommendations should echo the impact you've had.
3. Titles Don't Matter:
Don't fixate on the titles of the recommenders. What they can say about you and your abilities is more important than their position.
4. Enthusiasm Matters:
Enthusiasm and a personal connection are key. Effective recommendations are written from both the head and heart, demonstrating a deep understanding of your character and abilities.
5. Consider the Process:
Don't request recommendations via email. This task requires time and effort from the recommender.
Recommendations typically range from one to two pages, indicating that it takes at least an hour or two to write a thoughtful one.
Ensure that your recommenders are willing to invest the time required. If someone claims to be too busy, it may be best to consider an alternative recommender.
Supporting Your Recommenders:
In addition to choosing recommenders wisely, support them in writing effective letters. Provide clear information about where you're applying, your goals, and what differentiates you from others in similar roles. Many application portals offer specific questions and guidelines for recommenders, which can help them craft detailed and compelling letters.
In conclusion, the letters of recommendation are a vital component of your graduate application. Choosing the right recommenders and supporting them in crafting insightful, enthusiastic letters can make a significant difference in the admissions process. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of securing a strong recommendation and, ultimately, gaining admission to your desired graduate program.