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Letter of Recommendation - LOR - Complete Overview

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, September 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read

Letter of Recommendation - LOR - Complete Overview

Written by  Rachit Agrawal

Reviewed by  Priyanka Bhargava

Published: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  Updated: Mon, Sep 30, 2019 9:30 AM IST  9 mins read
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Letter of Recommendation

With the increasing competition in the education industry and the keen urge of every student to study in the best institutions, the admission procedures have not been limited to just the entrance examinations due to the massive competition, the universities use several parameters to test the sincerity and the authenticity of the candidate to admit the brightest candidates possible, one such parameter used is Letter Of Recommendation, the LOR is a letter or a remark which recommends the candidate and act as a statement of proof of the sincerity of the student. It is generally provided by the faculties of your previous institution or the previous employer in case a candidate has employment experience as well.

The Letter Of Recommendation basically signifies the candidate’s achievements, soft skills, contribution, or even any past work experience.

What is LOR?

We can also call a letter of Recommendation as a letter of reference, reference letter, or only reference. The Letter of Recommendation is a document that consists of details of an individual. Details in the document mainly signify an individual's qualities, characteristics, and capabilities.

Letter of Recommendation is mainly used in the field of employment and education. Letter of Recommendation can also be used by companies with the motive of winning contracts.

The topics that are covered in the Letter of Recommendation are as follows:

  • It gives knowledge about the tasks and responsibilities for the employees 
  • It also tells about the duration of tasks or employments
  • It covers topics like abilities, knowledge, creativity, and knowledge of the individual
  • It also tells us about employees qualification and special skills
  • It also covers topics like social attitude and the power of rapport of an employee.

Who needs a Letter Of recommendation and why?

Any student or candidate who wants to study abroad has to submit the Letter Of Recommendation along with the documents required by the college during the application.

The quantity of Letter Of Recommendation usually varies from course to the course like when the student applies for undergraduate courses the university asks for 2-3 Letter Of Recommendations while in case the student applies for a professional program 1-2 LORs are enough but irrespective of the course you have applied for the Letter Of Recommendation has to be mandatorily provided.

Also Read: Letter of Recommendation: Updated LOR Sample for All courses in 2020

Why LOR?

It validates your resume, be it academics or professional experience. It helps give a third person, who is a potential recruiter, an impression of your candidature. It, in a way, adds more insights into the different qualities you vouch upon, like leadership skills and the ability to work in a team. The most important aspect of the Letter of Recommendation is that it also helps the new recruiters know about your weaknesses if any.

Types Of Letter Of Recommendation 

Letter Of Recommendation can not be limited to just one category as different purposes require different types of recommendation to suit the required purpose.

The Letter Of Recommendation has been categorized based on the requirement like for the academic purpose or there are different LOR to apply for the professional courses or even in some cases a professional LOR has been asked while applying for the postgraduation degree.

Henceforth, the LOR has been divided into two types;

  • Academic Letters Of Recommendation - The academic Letter Of Recommendation serves the purpose of sincerity and the commitment abilities of the student. The Academic LOR has to be provided by the faculty or the dean of your previous institutions or in case of the students who are applying in the final year can also ask their current faculties to write them a Letter Of Recommendation. The Letter basically highlights the academic achievements and the student's relationship with their respective faculties which helps the colleges to inculcate the overall profile of the candidate.

Usually, the colleges ask for around 2-3 Letter Of Recommendation from the candidate based on the course you have applied for.

  • Professional Letter Of Recommendation - The Professional Letter Of Recommendation is the type of LOR which is required usually during the courses like MBA or even masters as the professional LOR is written by the previous or current supervisor or the head from your past job as many such courses requires you to have prior work experience. Usually, 1-2 Professional Letter Of Recommendation is asked by the colleges.

How to Write a LOR

In case you have been asked to be a reference for someone seeking a letter of recommendation, you can write it by following a specific format. In the introduction paragraph, you should include our name, the name of the person you are recommending and your relationship with him/her. The main body includes the different hard and soft skills that the
candidate possesses, and you admire the most. You can conclude by stating why a person is recommended by you.

Formats of Letter Of Recommendation

The Letter Of Recommendation should always be summed up in one page only as it signifies professionalism also the LORs should be around 600 to 800 words. The Letter Of Recommendation is usually totaled up in 4 to 5 paragraphs while following a certain format the student shall make sure he provides a strong Letter Of Recommendation.

The basic format for the Letter Of Recommendation is as follows this format is followed worldwide:

  • The first paragraph is the introductory paragraph where the one who he is writing the paragraph like the faculty or the recommender mentions the basic details about him and the relationship between the recommender and the candidate and also mentions why is he happy to write the letter. The first paragraph helps to set up the beginning promptly and makes a good impression on the student.
  • Then comes the second paragraph, the second paragraph highlights the good character and the strengths of the student, the recommender should also mention the skills which correlate to the course you have applied for as it helps to streamline the qualities for the interviewer.
  • The third paragraph of the Letter Of Recommendation is a crucial point of the LORs as it can either boost the impression of the student or can even dull the same. Hence, the third paragraph of the Letter Of Recommendation should mention the facts about the sincerity of the students as the facts are questioned less than the opinions the recommender shall mention the facts complementing the achievements of the student.
  • The fourth paragraph of the Letter Of Recommendation is the conclusive paragraph in which the writer shall conclude on a most positive and truthful note rather than just impressing the authorities. The Recommender shall mention the good qualities of the student in the end.
  • In the fifth paragraph the recommender shall mention his/her contact details and the name of your past or present institution. 

How to write a Letter Of Recommendation?

As it is rightly said that the first impression is the last impression hence, the student shall make sure he submits the best possible and a very strong Letter Of Recommendation as it is also considered as proof of the relations you made while studying in your institution.

Here are some points which you should go through before submitting your Letter of Recommendation:

  • Your Letter Of Recommendation should be summarized and well-formatted on a single page.
  • Most of the institutions require it in the form of an essay.
  • You should always try to have the Letter Of Recommendation with the Letterhead of your past or previous institution.
  • The English used in the Letter should be professional and proficient.
  • The Letter Of Recommendation should mention the qualities you have not mentioned in your resume.
  • You should avoid submitting the general LORs used by everybody in your institution as it doesn't stand apart and is also termed as unprofessional try to be specific with your Letter Of Recommendations.
  • Your LOR should be written in association with the course you have applied for.
  • The Letter Of Recommendation should not be more than 800 words as too lengthy LORs also acts on a negative side to the authorities.
  • In casework experience is mentioned and the Letter Of Recommendation is provided by the company or the supervisor the Letterhead should be mandatorily used as it acts as a proof of authenticity of the work experience provided.
  • The formats should not be disturbed while writing the Letter Of Recommendation as it is unprofessional.

Qualities to mention in your Letter Of Recommendation

A huge emphasis should be given to the qualities mentioned in the Letter OF Recommendation as it plays a significant role.

The impression created by the student is largely dependent on the qualities mentioned on the LORs.

You should always mention the most truthful and honest qualities in the Letter Of Recommendation rather than trying to impress the authorities.

The student should mention different qualities in case of both academic and professional Letter Of Recommendation.

Here are some examples of the qualities to mention in both the LORs:

  • Academic Letter Of Recommendation-
  1. Reliability
  2. Hardworking
  3. Consistency
  4. Leadership skills
  5. Team worker
  6. Management skills
  7. Interpersonal skills
  • Professional Letter Of Recommendation-
  1. Passionate about your work or field
  2. Awards
  3. Highlights
  4. Any event you volunteered
  5. Any social activity you headed
  6. Leadership role

Significance of Letter Of Recommendation

With the increasing competition, the Letter Of Recommendation is as important as any other documents required for admission.

The documents like the LORs and the essays actually show the creativity of the candidate and the amount of hard work you are willing to put into your career.

The authorities try to evaluate your authenticity, your credibility, and your sincerity through a letter of recommendation.

In some cases, it also signifies the work experience of the candidate and your ability to communicate and create your network.

It is said that your net worth is your network therefore the Letter Of Recommendation is also used to have a fair idea about the kind of student you are.

The Letter Of Recommendation also acts as proof of your work experience and your achievements and gives you an opportunity to stand apart from the crowd and create an impression of yourself.

Sample: LOR Samples

Letter Of Recommendation For MS

MS students are required to write about their need to choose MS as their graduation choice than the course according to it. As it is a pivotal factor in students’ application it should have required information about students and their performance in the course.

There are samples provided by the teachers in which information regarding the student’s performance is mentioned and it should be in a particular format. The letter is divided into small parts where the students is required to put up their personality in the best manner, with an impactful ending paragraph.


To whom it may concern:

I am writing this reference letter in support of ABC who is applying to the Master in Science program at your esteemed University. I have known ABC in my capacity as his Professor for over three years now during which, I taught him the courses Thermodynamics, Heat & Mass Transfer, Renewable Sources of Energy in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth semesters respectively. Through my observation, I would like to say that he is attentive and studious and always possesses a positive attitude towards academics.

Throughout his course of study, ABC has shown great interest in practical aided learning techniques. Besides the academics, ABC’s participation in MIRAGE’14, state-level project competition for Mechanical Engineering students held in our college, clearly displays his interest in the manufacturing and creative sector. As a person who has a lot of dedication to everything.

I have the deepest personal and professional respect for him, and sincerely believe ABC will bring his unique energy, optimism, passion, and tireless creativity to your class and University as a whole. So, he has my highest wishes for admission into his desired course at the University. If you have any questions about this recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact me for I will gladly try to help [email protected].



Senior professor


The following Sample is taken from Coursehero

Also Read: 10 Best Universities for MS in MIS

Letter Of Recommendation For MS In Computer Science

As the students submit their documents like GPA, work experience, research paper, LOR fills in the gap by presenting your personality in a better way. Recommendation puts forth the best personality of a student or an employee which the authorities would trust.

To have an LOR is to have benefits as it displays one’s quality of understanding and how to sorting and searching are important in programming. Solving codes and, creating one’s program shows the ability to understand the concept.

Letter Of Recommendation For Masters Program In Engineering

Engineering is a vast course where teachers and students must stay connected, the profile of the applicant must include the skills and classroom performance if any, experience matters a lot which should be included.

Samples are provided to the students from their respective institutes for their under graduation, post-graduation or Ph.D., a good recommendation letter lets the students know how to write it without any error and with perfection. The format of the letter is the most important as it impacts the student’s personality, generally.

Letter Of Recommendation For Student

A LOR must have student’s qualifications and rewards received, it might help in processing the application further with the help of a teacher. There should be skills, experiences, performances added in the body paragraph which emphasizes the student’s ability to show punctuality and leadership quality as well. Students must try their best to gain certificates and attain positions in high-level competitions.


To whom it may concern:

I am so happy to write a letter of recommendation for ABC, an honors undergraduate student in our program. I’ve known ABC for about two years. This summer, I hired her to work on an NSF-sponsored research project on Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change.

She has a good reputation among her colleagues. Her performance has increased rapidly during the years of her internship. She always came to class prepared and was far above her peers in understanding and appreciating the course material. She’s a dedicated student and a competent professional. I very highly recommend her and without reservation.


Janet Teacher

Janet Teacher Professor of Geography

The following Sample is taken from

Profile evaluation

Letter Of Recommendation For Work Experience

Work experience includes the years worked at a particular company, and the position with remarks and profile of the applicant with good responses and behavior matters a lot when it comes to working experience recommendations. The position and punctuality of the employer should be written and the work assigned was satisfying if any other merits are seen through the employer should also be mentioned.

To Whom it May Concern:

I recommend Jane as a candidate for employment as she is competent in many ways. Jane was employed by Acme Retail as an Administrative Assistant from 20xx to 20xx. Jane was responsible for office support, including word processing, scheduling appointments and creating a brochure, newsletters, and other office literature Jane has excellent communication skills. ln addition, she is extremely organized, reliable and computer literate. Jane can work independently and can follow through to ensure that the job gets done. She has a will to work on any project that is assigned to her. Jane has a quick volunteering idea as soon as she gets to know about the areas of company operations, etc. Jane would be a tremendous asset to your company and has my highest recommendation. if you have any further questions concerning her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me.


John Lee Manager

Letter of Recommendation for MBA

MBA students have fields where they can work and get experienced certificates easily, management, manager, etc. Which will help MBA graduate students to develop their letter and with the best skills?

Samples are provided to the students from their respective institutes for their under graduation, post-graduation or Ph.D., a good recommendation letter lets the students know how to write it without any error and with perfection. The format of the letter is the most important as it impacts the student’s personality, generally.


To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to recommend Becky James for your MBA program. Becky has worked as my assistant for the last three years. During that time, she has been moving toward her goal of enrolling in an MBA program by building her interpersonal skills, honing her leadership ability, and gaining hands-on experience in operations management.

As Becky’s direct supervisor, I have seen her demonstrate strong critical thinking skills and the leadership capabilities necessary for success in the management field. She has helped our company achieve many goals through her valuable input as well as a persistent dedication to our organizational strategy. For example, just this year Becky helped to analyze our production schedule and suggested an effective plan to manage bottlenecks in our production process. Her contributions helped us achieve our goal of minimizing scheduled and unscheduled downtime.

Becky may be my assistant, but she has risen to an unofficial leadership role. When team members in our department aren’t sure what to do in a given situation, they often turn to Becky for her thoughtful advice and support on various projects. Becky never fails to assist them. She is kind, humble, and seems very comfortable in a leadership role. Several of her fellow employees have come into my office and expressed unsolicited compliments in regards to Becky’s personality and performance.


Allen Barry, Operations Manager, Tri-State Widget Productions

Also Read: Why MBA – All your Questions Answered


✅ How many letters of recommendation are required?

Ans: Three letters of recommendation are required in almost all institutions. Not more than three is necessary.

✅ Who should write the letters of recommendation?

Ans: Preferably a professor who is well acquainted with your development throughout your time of study in your previous institution or your supervisor or principal can write your letter of recommendation.

✅ Should all my letters of recommendation be submitted online?

Ans: Often most letters of recommendation are submitted online. However, some submission criteria vary at different institutions.

✅ Will there be a problem if I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Ans: You must submit three letters of recommendation at the highest. Not more than three will make any difference.

✅ If I submit my letters of recommendation before submitting my application, will there be a problem?

Ans: No, there will not be any problem if you submitted your letter of recommendation before submitting your application. It becomes a part of your record once you have submitted it.

Prateek BiyaniUniversity Of Sydney
Prateek BiyaniUniversity Of Sydney
Prateek BiyaniUniversity Of Sydney
Varun GargUniversity College Dublin
Varun GargUniversity College Dublin
Varun GargUniversity College Dublin
TusharAston University
Gourav ChhabraRMIT university
VIVEK VEERIMonash University
Pradyut BhatnagarThe University of Hong Kong
Ishaan GoenkaThe University of Hong Kong
Shrinivas SUniversity of South Florida
Vahini GoyalSwinburne University of Technology
Swapnil ShahUniversity of Massachusetts
Abhishek JaiswalUniversity of Southern California
Saloni Goyl
Nitya SinghJames Cook University
Vishal SharmaUniversity of Mannheim
Apurva SrinivasUniversity Of Stirling
Shruti NambiarESCP Business School
Jaimish TopreHEC Montreal ( University of Montreal)
RahulUniversity Of Wisconsin Milwaukee
AbhishekKingston University
ShaikTU Braunschweig
KavyashriMonash university
PujithaUniversity Of Edinburgh
BhagyaUniversity Of Northern British Columbia
VismayDepaul University

About the Author & Expert


Rachit Agrawal

author • MBA • 2 years

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.