A graduate school recommendation letter is a document which is intended to be submitted by a graduate school enrollee or applicant. The letter should be filled out and signed by the applicant’s recommenders or references as proof that the applicant is capable, eligible, and suitable to be enrolled and participate in his targeted graduate school institution.

Types of Graduate School Recommendation Letters

Fillable Graduate School Recommendation Letter Form – This type of graduate school recommendation letter can be filled out easily since it is in an automated “.PDF” format. Moreover, in this form type, the recommender is referred to as the rater of the applicant who will be providing the evaluations and assessment. To use the form, the applicant will need to state his name, address, and the degree that he is applying for in the first section while the rater will have to answer the questions and evaluation in the second section of the form. The questions and evaluations center on identifying the appraisal of the rater about the applicant’s abilities, skills, and potentials.

Fillable Graduate School Recommendation Letter Form

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Graduate School Admission Recommendation Letter Form – Identical to the aforementioned form, a graduate school admission recommendation letter form has two main sections, however, the second section consists of six items to be filled out by the recommender. The first section documents the name, electronic mailing address, intended program, and student identification number of the applicant. On the other hand, the first item of the second section is for identifying the relationship of the applicant and the recommender while the succeeding items will be for the ratings of the recommender towards the applicant’s performance, scholastic records, character, abilities, and the overall summary of whether the recommender recommends the applicant for the program or not. In addition, the recommender will also have to disclose his basic information such as his name, job title, address, and email.

Graduate School Admission Recommendation Letter Form

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Graduate School Recommendation Letter Request Instructions Form – This form type is not to be filled out by an applicant rather it is to be read and to serve as a guide on how to request a recommendation letter from a recommender. Specifically, a graduate school recommendation letter request instructions form is composed of a table with two columns which enlist the essential parts of the letter along with an example to present to the applicant.

Graduate School Recommendation Letter Request Instructions Form

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How to Create a Graduate School Recommendation Letter for an Applicant

For individuals who have been chosen by applicants to be recommenders, the steps below must be followed in order to create an effective graduate school recommendation letter for the requesting applicant:

Step 1: Add a letterhead and a date.

The contents of the letterhead would be the recommender’s name, mailing address, contact information, and email address. Below the letterhead should be the date when the letter was made.

Step 2: State the inside address.

The inside address is the address of the educational institution to whom the applicant is applying for. The name of the institution’s assigned personnel or committee, the personnel’s title or position, the name and address of the institution, and the personnel’s email address should be the contents of the inside address.

Step 3: Place a salutation.

The salutation will be the start of the body of the letter. This part of the letter often starts with “Dear Mr. / Mrs.” with the name of the recipient. On the other hand, if there is not a specific person to whom the letter is addressed to, then the salutation must only have the name of the institution or the name of the committee assigned in receiving the recommendation letters.

Step 4: Create three paragraphs.

The first paragraph for the body of the recommendation letter should focus on the relationship of the recommender to the applicant and the eligibility or suitability of the recommender in providing the recommendation. The second paragraph should then be allotted for the observations and assessments of the recommender while the third paragraph will be for indicating the recommender’s summarization and final decision.

Step 5: Include a signature area or block.

The signature block should have the name of the recommender, his position and affiliated organization, along with his signature. The recommender can also affix his official seal or stamp if ever he has one that he uses for every document that he creates and sends.

Graduate School Recommendation Letter Form

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Graduate School Recommendation Letter Sample Template

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Graduate School Recommendation Letter Tips

Below are some tips to keep in mind for the applicant who will be requesting the recommendation letter, and for the recommender who will be making and sending the letter:

  • Know when to request: Most recommenders for graduate school applications are former teachers or faculty members who have mentored the applicant. This is the reason why an applicant should be aware of the time that he will be requesting the recommendation letter to be sent since there are recommenders who may have a lot of other priorities and busy schedules. For this, the applicant should allocate a minimum 30-day notice to the recommender before the actual day when the letter will be needed to be provided.
  • Prepare the needed documents: Not only the recommendation letter request form will have to be sent to the recommender but also other forms to serve as a guide. Two of the known documents to enclose with the request would be the applicant’s transcript of records and an updated resume.
  • Use templates: There are a lot of templates available online that recommenders can use, however, choosing the right template is essential for both the recommender and the applicant. To ensure that the template is beneficial for the involved parties, the recommender who will be using the letter template should know the requirements of the institution to where he will send the letter and the needed contents of the letter.

Graduate School Recommendation Letter Student Guide Form

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Lastly, a recommender should focus on the key areas or the important attributes which will be evaluated in the recommendation letter. In addition, the areas wherein the applicant need to improve can also be stated in the form, as well as the situations or events when the applicant have shown exemplary improvement over the course of his education.

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