Whenever you are applying for admission for higher education in a university, you need a letter of recommendation from one of your professors. In my experience, most students wait till very close to the deadline for admission and then they approach their professor and ask him to write a letter of recommendation within a few hours or a day or so. This is a very wrong approach as most professors either refuse to write one or they quickly try to write a general letter which is almost useless as far as the reader of that letter is concerned in the other university.
Before you approach your teacher or professor for a letter of recommendation have the following information ready and provide it to the writer of the letter.
1. Copy of your transcript
2. Your CV or resume
3. Description of any other achievements, honors or accomplishments.
4. Details of any project, community work or any other study related work or internship that you have done.
Give all of the above material to the professor and give him at least 15 days to write a letter.
Most letters of recommendation are highly positive, therefore anything that is ambiguous in your letter or non specific will be taken as negative by the reader of the letter.
A good letter of recommendation should have the following sections
In this section the writer of the letter should introduce you and explain how he knows you and the length of time he has known you. It could be through some course that you studied under him or that you did a project etc. It should also state the purpose of your application – admission in graduate school, PhD in some area etc.
2. Review of your grades
The admission committee will have a copy of your transcript with them when they are reading the letter, so there is no need to specify all the grades, however the writer of the letter should briefly discuss your academic achievements or if your grades arn’t that great then explain why your GPA is so low
3. Review of your accomplishments and strengths
In this section the writer should review your major accomplishments like winning a competition, your final year project, or some other thing in which you have excelled. He should give specific examples that should your maturity, perseverance, intellect and other abilities. Just writing that Mr. so and so is very hard working and bright and talented is not enough. He should show by example.
4. Your motivation for higher studies
In this section the writer of the letter should explain why you want to pursue higher studies in your area, what is the reason for your motivation, and how it will benefit you after you get your degree. It should also explain why you are suited for higher studies in your specific discipline by examples.
5. Final Recommendation
In this section the writer should conclude and give his final recommendation for admission, scholarship, fellowship etc
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