Graduate School Letter of Recommendation


As of 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics recorded a total of more than three million students enrolled in postbaccalaureate studies. The increased number of enrollees for both masters and doctorate degrees also includes students who are enrolled in professional doctoral programs, such as law, medicine, and dentistry. Expectedly, there was a rise in the demand for graduate school recommendation letters, which college professors and advisors write to support their students in their educational journey. Know more about its role and relevance by reading this article. Read More

What Is a Graduate School Recommendation Letter?

An applicant for graduate school needs to comply with several requirements and one of these is a recommendation letter from a previous professor. As the name suggests, the purpose of a recommendation letter is to put in a good word for the applicant professionally. This letter is essential for the admissions team to see if what the applicant claims during previous interviews are valid. Recommendation letters are straightforward. As the writer, you need to present what the admissions team needs to know.

How Do You Create a Graduate School Recommendation Letter?

Professors are, of course, more than happy to write recommendation letters for their previous students to help them pursue further studies. However, writing a short letter can take time, especially when there is a need to write for several people. The applicant can help lessen the hassle by providing the necessary documents, such as a copy of the applicant’s application form, transcript of grades, and a list of achievements. With these details and following the steps below, you can create a short yet comprehensive graduate school recommendation letter in no time.

1. Establish Your Credibility

Any university admissions team takes careful consideration of who writes the recommendation letter. There have been cases where applicants with a significantly lower GPA get in the program because of the credibility of the one who sent in the recommendation. So, understandably, the letter must start with a strong introduction to your credentials. Not only does this increase the possibility of the applicant’s acceptance, but it can also help in widening your network in the academe.

2. Express Your Firm Recommendation

After starting strong with the introduction, make a firm declaration regarding your relationship and thoughts about the applicant. Highlight their positive attributes and helpful skills that will help the admissions team make their decision regarding the application. As much as possible, describe the applicant as a student, as an individual, and as a colleague. You need to do so if you ever had the chance to work with them in conducting research or related activities. After all, a well-rounded evaluation creates a clearer image of a highly capable applicant. In short, this part of the letter markets the applicant.

3. Rate the Applicant’s Skills

Aside from the interpersonal skills and work ethic of the applicant, a recommendation letter should also present their academic skills. For this part, state the standing of the applicant in a spectrum. Aside from the applicant’s transcript, the ratings will create a clearer picture of how the applicant fared in school compared to their batchmates. This rating is not essential for all types of recommendation letters. It is especially helpful for application processes because it can aid in streamlining the decision-making process of the admissions team.

4. Add Recommendation Statements

If the applicant displayed other exemplary skills and attitudes, these details must also be present in the letter. The latter part of the application letter highlights these details. If you think that the applicant possesses other capabilities that were not presented from the start, it is best to include these details before ending the letter. You can even state a scenario where the applicant played a significant role in alleviating a struggle or a circumstance where they were able to showcase their skills to present solutions.

5. Keep Your Lines Open

Before signing the letter and sending it to the admissions team, make sure to include your contact details. It can include your personal and work contact number, work email address, and work address. The availability of these different sets of contact information provides the admissions team more choices if they choose to interview you regarding your recommendation.


What is the ideal length of a recommendation letter?

Recommendation letters must be concise; one to two paragraphs are enough. However, these paragraphs must be straightforward to include all the critical details that are necessary for the letter to serve its purpose.

What is the percentage of undergraduates that proceed to postgraduate studies?

According to a record way back in 2015, more than 70% are enrolled for either a master’s degree or graduate certificate programs.

Is enrolling for graduate school possible without letters of recommendation?

Most universities require aspiring students to comply with at least two letters of recommendation from previous professors. So, no, it is not possible to enroll for a graduate program without a letter of recommendation.

What if I pass my letter of recommendation late?

Upon passing your other requirements, make sure to explain the absence of the recommendation letter to the admissions team. This delay will not equate to defaulting your application, as long as a sound reason is provided.

Are there other ways to make a compelling recommendation letter?

Apart from being straightforward, maintain a professional and positive tone throughout the letter. Also, provide details such as the applicant’s skills and abilities related to the reason for the recommendation. For graduate school recommendation letters, make sure to highlight their work ethic in school and their intellectual abilities.

Writing a letter of recommendation is one of the simplest and most direct ways of showing direct support to anyone, may it be an aspiring graduate student or applicant. Recommendation letters do not only help streamline the admissions process, but it also boosts the confidence of the applicant because someone roots for their future decisions. As the writer of the letter, make sure to write a compelling letter by getting straight to the point. Creating recommendation letters may be easy, but it significantly increases the applicant’s chance of admission.