When it comes to studying abroad, there are numerous aspects intertwined in the admissions process. Granted, you may be proficient in most, but there may always be a few that will cause confusion. For international students from India, this can range from choosing the right universities to getting a good Letter of Recommendation (LOR) or sorting through the critical accompanying documentation for a visa.
Among all the requirements of applications, one of the most commonly overlooked parts is the Letter of Recommendation.
Wondering how they contribute to your application?
It may seem like sending in Letters Of Recommendation is merely a formality. It is true that they are essentials without which the application may not even be considered complete for evaluation. But, the Letters Of Recommendation can be the perfect place for you to showcase your skills and corroborate information mentioned elsewhere in your application.
Why Letters Of Recommendation (LOR) are as important as your Resume and SOP-
- Validation of your experiences
Colleges and universities often consider Letters of Recommendation to be a means of verifying the achievements listed on your resume. These letters can also provide tangible evidence of your involvement in an organization or your academic history at a particular institution. As an example, if there is a project that you have secured good grades in and the same is mentioned in your essays and resume, the Letter Of Recommendation (as it will be written by your professor) will corroborate the information and verify it.
- Highlight your skills
Something everyone would be aware of is how a Letter Of Recommendation (LOR) can ably highlight your skills qualities and experiences. Besides a bunch of adjectives that are often a crucial element of a LOR, what can also be invaluable is including specifics of your experiences and brief narratives about your journey that highlight your skills. This will help the LOR to stand out as well.
- The third-person perspective of your profile
In addition to detailing your character and relevant qualities for a student, a Letter Of Recommendation (LOR) can also confirm traits like perseverance and conscientiousness in your professional or academic pursuits, as well as how you interact with colleagues or classmates. The LOR essentially provides a perspective from a professor (or manager) and can add value to your application as a prospective student.
- Highlights areas of improvement
It is common for Letters Of Recommendation to include a significant inquiry regarding an applicant’s weaknesses or areas that need improvement. Conversely, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Admission Essay concentrates on an applicant’s strong points while avoiding any negative aspects of their application. Therefore, it is expected that a recommender will provide an unbiased assessment of an applicant’s eligibility, underscoring the importance for the applicant to carefully select their recommender.
Now that you know in what ways a recommendation can make a difference and help you make the cut to top universities in the world, here are a few things to ensure if you want to obtain a good recommendation-
1. Choose the referee wisely
Take careful consideration in choosing the appropriate person to request a recommendation letter from. It is recommended to select a professor or manager who you have a good rapport with and who is well-informed of your abilities to provide a comprehensive and personalized recommendation.
2. Express your goals clearly to the recommender
Make sure to express your study abroad goals and objectives to your professor/manager in a clear manner. Explain how the program is aligned with your professional and personal aspirations and how it can be beneficial for you. It is essential to give specific information regarding the study abroad program to your manager, such as the name of the school, the program duration, and any critical deadlines. This will help them understand the importance of the recommendation and provide them with enough time to prepare.
3. Share information freely
To truly make sure that the recommendation is personalized, you will have to work with the referee and share information about your experiences in a comprehensive manner. Share your accomplishments and achievements with your professor/manager so they can include them in the recommendation. It may be ill-advised to think that the recommender will remember everything about your accomplishments in detail and it is important to convey it to them. This will emphasize your strengths and demonstrate that you are a qualified candidate for the program.
4. Prepare a Brag Sheet
A brag sheet can significantly enhance the quality of a recommendation by providing a concise summary of your achievements, experiences, and skills. It helps your referee write a glowing recommendation by offering specific examples and details they might not be aware of (or recall) otherwise. This information enables them to craft a more solid and impactful recommendation, highlighting your strengths and unique qualities. Ultimately, a well-prepared brag sheet ensures that the recommender has a comprehensive understanding of your capabilities, leading to a stronger recommendation that can positively influence your chances of making the cut to your chosen universities.
5. Collaborative process
Offer to assist your manager by providing additional information or materials that may be necessary to create a comprehensive recommendation, such as your resume, transcripts, or other relevant documents. If needed, they may also request a first draft recommendation write-up from you, which EdElevate helps you prepare.
6. Stay connected
Lastly, ensure to follow up with your professor/manager to confirm that they have submitted the recommendation on time, as the referee may be busy elsewhere. It is also a good idea to express your gratitude for their time and effort and keep them informed of your progress.
To conclude, letters of recommendation play a significant role in the study abroad application process, revealing important aspects of an applicant’s character and academic potential. To obtain a high-quality letter, it is essential to carefully choose a recommender, convey your goals, provide relevant details, showcase your accomplishments, offer assistance, and follow up with the recommender. While this may require effort and dedication, the outcome can significantly improve the chances of admission to the desired study abroad program. Ultimately, a strong letter of recommendation can prove to be a valuable asset in achieving academic and professional goals abroad.
EdElevate Study Abroad Consultants
Want to get started on your journey to your favourite university?
Our expert study abroad consultants at EdElevate will guide you and help you throughout your application process with our unique offering of customised admission mentoring based on your interests, with coverage of the best colleges in every discipline. Right from choosing the best study abroad option for you to mentor you, to building a strong profile, we offer a variety of services to assist students in realising their dream of studying abroad.
Apart from offering mentorship to students, our study abroad consultants provide assistance in crucial admission processes including shortlisting universities based on the student’s unique profile and area of interest, essay ideation and brainstorming, essay review, reference letter and resume reviews, interview preparation sessions, and more.
With all of these advantages, EdElevate is the most fabulous place for you to join and work toward your dream of studying abroad and establishing a successful profession.
Attend a Discovery session at EdElevate today to chart out your road to success!