How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School: Never undermine the impact of a good recommendation letter. If you want a recommendation letter for graduate school, make sure you get it from the right person. Today we have looked at how you will be able to get this letter.

Why is a recommendation letter important?

Other than the information in your resume, cover letter, or transcript, a recommendation letter will give unique information about you. As you graduate, a recommendation letter from graduate school will allow a second party to have a say in your skills, achievements, and abilities. For instance, it will include the skills you had, leadership positions you held, the extracurricular activities (List of Extracurricular activities) you were involved in, the impact you had on other students, etc.

A graduate school recommendation letter will help you when

  • Applying to join another school/ university.
  • Looking for an internship position.
  • Applying for jobs.
  • Getting a new role in a company etc. 

How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Getting a graduate recommendation letter is easy and will involve the following steps

  1. Identify the person to write the recommendation letter for you

In most schools, there is a staff (s) designated with the role of writing recommendation letters. For instance, some institutions give the mandate to the class teacher, lecturer in charge, dean of students, academic advisors, faculty members with whom you have associated, supervisors, etc.

You must get this letter from the right person, someone who knows you and has some detailed information about you. If the writer has limited information about you, they will likely write a vague letter that will not give a strong endorsement.

Analyze each person and narrow it down to the most preferred. You can choose one or two depending on the need for the recommendation letter. For instance, some universities may request more than one recommendation letter. The best person to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school is your teacher, lecturer, or professor.

  1. Reach out to your preferred referee

Once you identify the writer of your recommendation letter, you can reach out to them by requesting a meeting. In case a meeting is not possible you can send them an email stating your request. Once the meeting is arranged ensure you go as per the writer’s schedule. Avoid changing the date and be punctual.

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To avoid inconveniencies, make sure you give the writer enough time (two weeks) don’t request a letter, and then send a reminder two days later. Furthermore, you can explain why you choose him or her to become the person to write a recommendation letter for you. Since you have interacted with him or her you can request a letter that will give a true endorsement of who you are.

  1. Forward an email to your referee

Include the following details:-

Appreciation to the referee for agreeing to meet and write for you a recommendation letter.

Specify the reason why you need the letter.

Highlight all the accomplishments you have achieved.

Attach a personal statement and a copy of your resume.

Any other information that may improve your endorsement.

Letters of Rec for Grad School

Below are samples of the email requesting Letters of Rec for Grad School after a brief meeting

Letters of Rec for Grad School

Subject: Letter of Recommendation Request for Terry Timberlake 

Dear Mrs. Hopes,

I appreciate the opportunity you created to meet me yesterday evening. I am grateful that you will write a recommendation letter for me to join Hopping University. The admission details should be emailed to the university by September 6. 

I am going to pursue an MBA in Accounting to be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a Tax consultant. 

I will be glad If you could mention the important part I play in improving the performance of our football team. In addition, kindly mention the role I played in the development of our latest mobile application and data integration project. 

Attached is my resume together with my personal statement.  

In approximately two weeks, you receive an email requesting your recommendation. In case of any clarification please feel free to contact me. 

Thank you for your time 

Yours sincerely,

Terry Timberlake.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Grad School

Sample of the email requesting a graduate recommendation letter without a prior meeting

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Subject: Letter of Recommendation Request for Terry Timberlake

Dear Mrs. Hopes,

I am hopeful that this email finds you well.

Your positive advice and inspiration have guided me well in my life. You saw the potential in me to become a great consultant in the business world. I have a better understanding of what I want to become and that is why I am applying for a Master’s degree in Accountancy- Tax administration option.

I am requesting you to write a letter of recommendation for me. I have chosen you to write this important letter because you have previously seen most of my achievements within a school setup. If it is possible, I would like to meet you for a brief conversation to give you more information.

I look forward to your response. 

Yours sincerely,

Terry Timberlake.

  1. Follow up

After you have a meeting with your referee and you email a detailed request with a resume and personal statement, ensure you follow up with the relevant admission department to ensure the letters are sent to your referee. In case the relevant request for the letter has been sent without your referee’s response you could send them a kind reminder to allow you to send your admission application on time.

  1. Send an appreciation note

Once you get an admission, don’t forget to send a thank-you note to your recommender. Appreciate them for the role they played in helping you get admission to the university of your choice. A simple thank you can go a long way in building a better relationship in future. 

How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation from A Teacher 

Getting a letter of recommendation from your teacher should be a simple task. However, this may not be the case for very shy students. Often one could be wondering how will I approach the teacher, will the teacher recognize me, what will the teacher say in the letter, etc

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If you follow the following steps, asking a teacher for a letter of recommendation will be easier.

1. Choose the teacher whom you are free with and who has interacted with you.

If you are good in a particular subject, you could ask for a recommendation letter from the teacher in that subject

2. Arrange for a brief meeting

It is better to approach the teacher in person and present your request other than emailing them. Avoid asking for the letter in a group.

3. Once the teacher agrees to write a rec letter for you, at this point, you could request to email the details needed in the letter. Ensure you state the purpose of your letter, and any specific detail you need.

4. Depending on the type of letter you need, ensure you provide all the relevant information like the email to forward the rec letter once complete, the person to address, the duration within which the letter should be forwarded, etc.

5. Follow up

If the application deadline is approaching you could send a reminder to your teacher if he or she hasn’t forwarded the letter. Once the letter is emailed, don’t forget to appreciate the teacher’s positive gesture for responding to your request

Conclusion: How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Knowing how to ask a professor/lecturer for a letter of recommendation for graduate school is important. The important points to remember when requesting this letter are

  1. Make the request early, before the application deadline.
  2. If it is possible, schedule a brief meeting with your referee.
  3. Choose a referee who knows you well, one who will give a positive endorsement.
  4. Always be specific on the important achievements you want to be mentioned in the recommendation letter.
  5. Attach your resume and personal statement.
  6. Avoid unnecessary reminders.
  7. Liaise with the relevant admission department to ensure the relevant documents are sent to your referee.
  8. After admission send a thank you note.