Graduate School Reference Letter

The truth is that Universities and graduate schools no longer look at grades alone to accept a student.

They need more, they want to see what your lecturers and professors have to say about you and this is why they ask for Reference letters to be submitted to them alongside your application.

However it’s important to remember that not anyone can write a reference letter for your graduate school application and most times lecturers and professors find it very tasking to write a reference letter because it interferes with their teaching, grading, and student advising time.

It is however important to inform them ahead of time that you will be needing a reference letter from them so they can clean their schedule.

As a professor or Lecturer asked to write a reference letter you are expected to write it well, with your full attention, and in ambiguous words. Make sure you sincerely accepted to write the letter out of your goodwill and love for education and nothing else.

Before writing asks for details of the graduate school you are writing to, ask for things like guidelines, deadlines, and the department you are writing for.

You as the writer must put out your contact details for easy communication, always create the impression that you will  answer at questions regarding the person whom you are writing for.

As a student requesting for your professor’s letter of reference you have to understand that he or she is busy so always provide the with necessary documents they will need, things as your CGPA, your certificates, and awards, and a resume for effective writing.

You also must read through whatever letter is drafted for you as it’s your duty to do so.

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People Who Are Permitted to Write a Reference Letter

• A professor of Lecturer  at the school granting your undergraduate degree

• A professor or Lecturer who knows you well

• Someone with the degree you are seeking in graduate school

• Someone who has academically evaluated you 

However, there is a difference between a letter of recommendation and a reference letter although most times we use in interchangeably A “letter of recommendation” is required explicitly by an academic program and should be sent directly to the university by the professor or employer without you seeing it.

The document should be 300-400 words long and should present your character, accomplishments and abilities from an objective perspective. While a  “letter of reference” is often given directly to you by the referee and you can keep it for future use.  

Steps On Writing a Reference Letter For Grad School.

1.Use An Official Paper.

While writing, always use a letter-headed paper. It’s much advisable to use clean paper not a photocopied letter headed paper. 

Such special paper is going to contain

  • Name and address of the school.
  • All contact information of the school including their websites, email address, social media handles and P.M.B
  • the date

2. Introduce  Yourself

You must introduce yourself in the first paragraph. Talk about your current position in a school, what capacity you have to write such a letter. If you are the dean of studies of the department introduce yourself as one with all your educational titles, same applies to the head of studies and lecturers.

3.Highlight The Student’s Skills, Characteristics, and Achievements

While writing talk about the students skills, characteristics and achievements. Talk about how he or she balanced educational activities with social activities.

if the student was among the student body tell the school how wonderful he or she was as leader. Tell them also about the educational background of the students how long did he or she maintain a stable CGPA? How punctual was the student?

Tell them about the students educational awards, thief findings, research.

Example if he or she is applying for law grad school, telling the school how he or she won an award for best interviewing and counseling in a whole region or was among the debate team that argued on an amazing topic and they won.

In summary reflect everything nice and emulating about the student on the letter.

4. Paint good pictures And Examples.

While talking about the student make sure you are clear, the examples you are giving cannot in any way be misinterpreted. Your words should not unnecessarily be too ambiguous sometimes it’s good to be simple to avoid one misunderstanding you.

5. Always leave room to be contacted

Make sure while writing you are polite, create the impression that you are available for any kind of question the recipient has. It’s okay to create the impression that of the school needs the transcript of the student you are willing to personally mail it to them.

6.Proofread the Letter

Finally, read the letter over and over again. If you have a secretary hand it over for him/her to read through and dictate the mistakes on it. Make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted properly.

Read the letter out to yourself if the need ever arises and if you don’t still trust that yourself, quickly send the letter to the student to read through and if they have suggestions be willing to make adjustments to the letter. Never send out a reference letter without giving it to the student to read.

Only recommendation letters can be sent out in such a manner. Most times the students are not aware that their school of choice asked for a recommendation letter from their professors, so only in this situation can you pull such a trick.

7. Follow the Submission Guidelines

Every letter has a submission guideline and you are expected to follow it strictly. If the submission guideline says “submit to the email” kindly obey that, if it says submit before 23rd of March then by all means make sure to do so.

If it says that they do not receive emails during weekends or after a particular time then you are to obey them and not do such.

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