Selecting the right recommender for your LOR

Universities believe on the recommendations provided while assessment of an application as they accept these recommendations to be impartial. Along with the academic and non-academic profile, the supporting documents like SOP and LOR highlight the profile characteristics of an applicant.

To select the right recommender, having clarity on the reasons to select a particular program, applying to a particular university is equally important. This question could arise when a student has closely worked with either many professors or work supervisors. To funnel it to a smaller vision, following criteria should be considered before selecting the recommender:

In general, you should choose a person as a recommender if and only if the person satisfies all conditions below:

  1. They know you well in an academic or professional capacity
  2. They are able to attest to your strengths and potential by giving specific examples
  3. They are willing to write a positive recommendation for you
  4. They share a good rapport with you

These criteria will remain same to get LOR from either your teacher or work supervisor. It is important that the recommendation letter should come from someone who has known you and not from an eminent personality just to use their title to be used in an influential way.

The process doesn’t stop at getting the right recommender, it is equally important to ask the right questions, to get the right answers from your recommender. Following information needs to be provided to the recommender, so they could write an objective assessment on your profile:

Following documents should be shared with the recommender prior to the meet:

  1. Assignment and exam grades
  2. Resume
  3. Statement of Purpose
  4. List of universities & programs that you are applying to with application deadlines

Following points need to be considered during the meeting agenda to get an effective LOR from your recommender:

  1. Detail your career goals
  2. Explain how applying to particular universities / programs will enable you to achieve your career goals
  3. Educate them on why you are a good fit for the programs / universities applied to
  4. Remind recommenders about your accomplishments and strengths (with examples) relevant to your goals and programs applied to

At the end of the meeting, student should inform the recommender on deadlines and a follow up plan could be also discussed. At this stage, the recommender should be also reminded to check his/her spam mailbox regularly as some recommendation requests might go there.