The Letter of Recommendation or LOR for masters is an integral part of your MS application. It provides an unbiased testimony to your academic performance, activities, and achievements. It adequately demonstrates the qualities that make you a worthy candidate for an MS program. A LOR for MS also depicts a comprehensive picture of your personality from an external perspective. Hence, it plays a crucial role in determining if you will secure admission to your desired MS program/university.
But what is an actionable letter of recommendation format for masters? What are the important tips to draft a LOR for MS? Let’s check!
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What is the LOR format for the MS program?
In an ideal scenario, your chosen recommender will have to write the LOR for your masters admission or fill out the recommendation form with various questions to attest to your suitability for an MS. If your recommender is willing to write your letter of recommendation for masters, provide them with a list of the relevant information that needs to get included. You can share your resume, extra-curricular pursuits, and achievements, communicating what distinguishes you as a candidate. Even though there is no set format for drafting a LOR, we recommend following the given blueprint for writing an effective LOR for MS. This has been created by various admission experts/ study abroad counsellors.
1. Academic Letter of Recommendation Format for Masters
The steps to write an academic letter of recommendation format for masters is as follows.
The recommender must introduce themselves—what is their professional experience and designation? What is their relationship with you? In which capacity did they know you? Were they your course instructor, mentor, project guide, or head of the department? How long have they known you? If they mentored you or taught you any module, they must name it (with the courses/subjects/semester) Did they also take your practical/laboratory courses? Did they mentor you through any project, research work, or internship? Mention any necessary details showcasing the duration of their association. What are their general impressions of you?
Note: Make sure that your letter of recommendation for master's is written through the recommender's pen, i.e. written from the recommender's perspective.
In these paragraphs, the recommender must mention how they remember you. What were your notable qualities? They must state each quality in a different paragraph and address these qualities in the order of their importance. It is ideal to focus on two-three qualities, so they may keep the body of the letter to two or three paragraphs. They must highlight the instances in which you went beyond the curriculum to broaden your skills.
Use specific examples to show how each quality was observed. What were the specific incident/s—when and where were these qualities/skills/capabilities noted by the recommender? (during theory classes/lab sessions/ research work/assignments)
They can also include a project in which they guided you, mentioning the topic, the objective, and your role/contribution to it. Also, they should include the team size and if you have led the project. Lastly, they should mention how you performed in the project and its potential for new advancements or research in similar areas. Mention the tools or technologies you mastered during the same. Mention if the research project was published in a peer-reviewed journal and the details of the same.
They should mention your role in the internship if you were an intern. If applicable, mention relevant presentations, research, seminars, or publications. Mention the topic and briefly discuss it from their perspective. Explain when and where this was presented and how it demonstrated your specific capabilities. They can also include your participation in co-curricular or extra-curricular activities, mention when and where these activities took place, and how these qualities will help you in your future undertakings.
The key qualities they can cover are research aptitude/potential, technical skills, ability to work independently and take the initiative, team management skills, time management, and leadership skills (mention only the ones that are applicable to the MS courses.)
At last, they should summarise your qualities as a desirable candidate for the MS program. Add any other comments they feel appropriate. Encourage the reader to contact them for additional information or to answer any questions. Close the letter with the appropriate business closing along with their signature.
2. Professional MS LOR
The steps to writing a professional letter of recommendation for master is as follows:
Here, the recommender must introduce themselves—what is their professional experience and designation? What is their relationship with you? In which capacity did they know you—were they your supervisor, senior, junior, colleague, or manager? How long have they known you? Did they mentor you? What was your role in the organisation? Mention the name of your department and the team you're associated with. What are their general impressions of you?
Here, they can state what were your notable qualities. Explain each quality in a different paragraph and address these qualities in order of importance. They must focus on two-three qualities, so they can keep the body of the letter to two or three paragraphs.
Use specific examples to show how each quality was observed. What were the specific incident/s—when and where were these qualities/skills/capabilities noted by the recommender (while mentoring you or noting daily observations as your manager, supervisor, Head of the Department, or any other position of authority.)
Mention the details of the tasks you performed and the tools you used. If you are writing about a project, they must elucidate instances that highlight your performance/contribution and potential for research. They must also quantify your achievements at the workplace.
- Include instances that demonstrate your potential future research undertakings.
- Focus on any one of these qualities, from research aptitude, diligence, discipline, hard work, dedication, sincerity, and proactivity. Explain with situations and examples—when and where these qualities were demonstrated.
- They can also cover skills like team management, time management, organisational abilities, leadership and initiative, communication/presentation, organisational abilities, and emotional maturity (mention only those qualities that are applicable to you.)
- Discuss your experience and how it helped you acquire relevant skills for MS in a specific discipline. Elaborate on your career aspirations and interest in pursuing an MS. Mention any other achievement/s in the organisation if applicable. When and how were these obtained, and how do these attest to your research aptitude and potential to contribute to new knowledge?
At last, they should summarise your qualities as a desirable candidate for MS with a forward-thinking approach. They can also add any other appropriate comments if they feel. Encourage the reader to contact them for additional information or questions. Close the letter with the proper business closing along with the recommender's signature.
Suggested: Sample LOR for Masters (MS)
Please note that every university has its individual LOR requirements. Let's explore them!
Types of Letter of Recommendation Format for Masters
MS universities require two academic letter of recommendation for masters and one professional LOR for MS if you have work experience. The academic format of LOR for MS provides a glimpse into your domain knowledge and your personality as a student. On the other hand, your professional LOR for MS would reflect how you put your learning into use in a real-life scenario. If you do not have work experience, you might have to submit three academic LORs. It is advised to check the university guidelines before writing a LOR for MS.
LOR Requirements of Top Universities for MS
Following are the best MS universities and their LOR guidelines.
Let’s explore them!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, United States
MIT requires three letters of recommendation for MS applicants. It is advised to get recommendation letters from faculty members/professionals who are well-acquainted with you both as individuals and as students/professionals. The recommendation letters will be submitted using MIT's GradApply application.
Caltech California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, United States
Three letters of recommendation are required as part of the MS application process for Caltech. One is encouraged to choose individuals/recommenders familiar with your research, academic, or work performance. The recommendation letter should also address information about the applicant's conversational capabilities in the English language.
Stanford University, Stanford, United States
For an MS Program at Stanford, you must submit three letters of recommendation. At least one letter should be from a faculty member of the previous educational institution you attended as a full-time student. The letters would be uploaded using an online recommendation system as part of Stanford's online application process.
Whom Should You Ask for an LOR for MS?
It will be essential to ask a minimum of 3 people for your LORs, as for a majority of foreign universities, at least 2 LORs are required. Although the choice of people is entirely yours, we would suggest you to choose:
- Your Professors, Assistant Professors at your current college/ university
- Project Managers, Supervisors from your current organisation
- Manager, Team Lead from your current organisation
Note that all 3 of your LORs can also be from your Professors, or your managers!
Important Tips to Write LOR for MS
You can make your LOR for masters more impressive by considering these actionable tips.
- Choosing the right recommender to endorse your candidature is extremely important. Make sure you choose recommenders who are well acquainted with your academic performance, activities, and achievements. Choose recommenders who can provide examples to adequately demonstrate the qualities that make you a good candidate for higher studies.
- Stay in touch with your potential recommenders. Communicate with them promptly when you plan on requesting recommendations from them.
- Discuss your research problem statement, goals, and research proposal with your recommenders.
- Make sure to submit the online recommendation forms well before the application deadline.
- Ensure that each LOR mentions distinctive anecdotes and qualities to showcase.
- Avoid exaggeration; rather, assess your strengths and capabilities and present them candidly.
- The letter should show a genuine relationship between you and your recommender. The recommender should have factual information to attest to your personality.
- An ideal LOR fits on one page. So, make sure it is within 400-500 words.
- Share your resume, abstracts of previous research works, current research proposal/research problem statement, a scanned copy of offline LOR, and essential talking points addressing the given questions with your recommender when an online recommendation form is required. This will help the recommender vouch for your candidature better.
To sum up, a LOR must reflect the best image of the student while providing true and honest information. We hope the guidelines will help your recommender write the perfect LOR for your preferred university in the MS program.
However, it can be daunting to apply to a university if you don't know the requirements of their recommendation letter for MS courses. But there is good news, Yocket has got you covered. Enjoy our end-to-end guidance or a customised service plan by choosing Yocket premium. With this service, our well-qualified and trained counsellors will mentor/guide you to write a persuasive letter of recommendation.
Frequently Asked Questions on Letter of Recommendation for Masters
Ques. How long should a LOR be for masters?
Ans. A LOR should be directly shared by your recommender with the university, and its length should be between 400-500 words.
Ques. Are signatures required in a LOR for masters?
Ans. Yes, signatures are critical in a LOR. Therefore, get it signed by your recommender, written on their university/company letterhead, and stamped (if possible.)
Ques. Do universities verify recommendation letters?
Ans. Universities ask the students to add their recommender's contact details. In case, they wish to verify any pointers mentioned. Therefore, avoid writing false information or instances.
Ques. How is the LOR of masters shared with the university?
Ans. A LOR for masters or any other can either be shared through courier/email or uploaded on the university’s online admission portal.
Ques. What if my LOR gets delayed while submitting?
Ans. A student should submit their admission application on time. However, most universities allow submitting the LOR for masters within 2 weeks of the deadline. Please be informed that the universities do not begin the review process until all documents are submitted.