How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation For Graduate School

Writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school is an important task that requires careful thought and attention.  It should have all the essential elements that could impress the admission committee.

I present this article to you based on my experience from my graduation days, the research I have done, and the little information gained from others.

As a recommender, your role is to provide a thorough and insightful evaluation of the applicant’s qualifications, potential, and suitability for their desired graduate program. 

In this article, I will be sharing step-by-step instructions and helpful tips to writing an effective letter of recommendation. I will also ensure the letter showcases the applicant’s strengths and enhances their chances of admission. 

Let’s begin by knowing more about the graduate school recommendation letter.

What is a Graduate school Recommendation Letter?

A graduate school recommendation letter is a document that should be written by someone who knows the applicant well. These may include a professor, boss, or colleague.

Its purpose is to support the applicant’s application to a graduate program, such as a master’s or doctoral program. 

What is LOR

The Recommendation letter gives insight into the applicant’s qualifications, accomplishments, and personal qualities. This would help nurture and build a suitable candidate for graduate studies. 

The letter usually includes specific details about how the recommender knows the applicant, like how long they’ve known each other and in what capacity. 

Additionally, the recommendation letter often highlights the applicant’s personal qualities, like motivation, dedication, leadership potential, ability to work in a team, and other characteristics relevant to their desired field of study.

What should you include in the Graduate School Recommendation Letter?

When writing a graduate school recommendation letter, it is important to include specific information, including the applicant’s qualifications and potential.

What should you include in the Graduate School Recommendation Letter

Let’s have a look at the key elements to include in the recommendation letter.

  • Your relationship with the student. How did you meet the student? What is your role in their academic or professional life?
  • The student’s academic achievements. What are their grades, GPA, and test scores? What courses have they excelled in?
  • The student’s research experience. If the student has any research experience, be sure to discuss their skills and contributions.
  • The student’s extracurricular activities. What are the student’s interests outside of the classroom? How do their extracurricular activities demonstrate their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills?
  • The student’s personal qualities. What are the student’s strengths and weaknesses? What are their values and goals?
  • Your overall assessment of the student. Why do you believe the student would be a good fit for the graduate program? What are their strengths, and why would they be successful in the program?

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Now here is a step-by-step outline that you can use to compose an effective letter of recommendation.

Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

1. Greeting to the recipient:

Begin your letter with a polite and professional greeting. Address the recipient by their appropriate title, such as “Dear Admissions Committee” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

2. Opening paragraph:

In the opening paragraph, provide a brief introduction that establishes your position and relationship to the applicant. State your professional or academic connection with the applicant and briefly mention the length and nature of your association. 

Give a general assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and potential for success in graduate school.

3. Second paragraph: 

Focus on highlighting a specific positive skill or trait of the applicant in each subsequent paragraph. 

Start by identifying a particular skill or trait relevant to the applicant’s intended program of study. Provide evidence of this trait or skill by citing specific achievements, accomplishments, or projects the applicant has undertaken. 

4. Third (up to fifth) paragraph: 

Continue highlighting additional skills or traits of the applicant in subsequent paragraphs. Choose qualities that are relevant to the applicant’s desired program or field of study. 

You can also provide detailed evidence of the applicant’s character and skills by citing specific instances or projects where they displayed these traits.

5. Final Paragraph: 

In the final paragraph, summarize your recommendation and explicitly state your endorsement of the applicant for the specific graduate school or program they are applying to. 

Here you can highlight their unique qualifications and express your confidence in their ability to thrive in the program. 

6. Closing line: 

End the letter with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards.” Sign your name beneath the closing and print your name below your signature for added clarity.

By following this detailed outline, you can effectively structure your letter of recommendation for graduate school. Remember to personalize each paragraph to highlight the applicant’s unique qualities, skills, and experiences. 

Sample Recommendation Letter 

To help you understand better, here is an example of a well-written graduate school recommendation letter.

Your Name]

[Your Position/Title]

[Your Organization]


[City, State, ZIP Code]

[Email Address]

[Phone Number]


[Graduate School Admissions Committee]

[Graduate School Name]


[City, State, ZIP Code]

Subject: Letter of Recommendation for [Applicant’s Full Name]

Dear [Admissions Committee],

I am writing to highly recommend [Applicant’s Full Name] for admission to [Graduate School Name] in [Program/Major]. 

I have had the privilege of working closely with [Applicant’s Name] for [duration of your professional relationship] in their capacity as [current or previous position/title] at [organization/school]. 

We have been consistently impressed with [his/her] intelligence, dedication, and remarkable academic abilities, which make [him/her] an ideal candidate for your esteemed graduate program.

What sets [Applicant’s Name] apart is [his/her] exceptional analytical skills and intellectual curiosity. [His/Her] research capabilities are outstanding, as evidenced by [specific examples of research projects, thesis, publications, or presentations].

In addition to [his/her] strong academic performance, [Applicant’s Name] is an outstanding communicator and collaborator. 

Based on my extensive experience working with [Applicant’s Name], I have no doubt that [he/she] possesses the intellectual capacity, perseverance, and dedication necessary to excel in your rigorous graduate program. 

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend [Applicant’s Full Name] for admission to [Graduate School Name] without any reservations. I am confident that [he/she] will thrive in your academic environment and contribute positively

If you require any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for considering the application of [Applicant’s Full Name]. 

I have no doubt that [he/she] will excel in [Graduate School Name] and contribute positively to the academic community.


[Your Name]

[Your Position/Title]

[Your Organization]

Final Verdict on Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

I have shared some of the most valuable information on writing a recommendation letter.

Writing a letter of recommendation for graduate school requires careful consideration and thoughtful assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and potential. 

By following a structured approach, as I have mentioned above, you can effectively convey the applicant’s academic abilities, personal qualities, and experiences.

You can also customize each letter based on your knowledge of the applicant and the specific requirements of the graduate program. 

With a well-crafted recommendation letter, you can provide valuable insights that support the applicant’s application and increase their chances of securing admission to their desired graduate program.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Related read:

FAQs: Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

How should I request a letter of recommendation?

When requesting a letter of recommendation, you should make your request in person or with a polite and professional email. You must provide your relevant information, like a resume, statement of purpose, and specific guidelines or requirements, to your recommender.

How long should a letter of recommendation be?

The length of the recommendation letter may vary; a typical letter of recommendation for graduate school is usually one to two pages.

Are there any specific formatting or submission guidelines?

You can follow any specific formatting or submission guidelines provided by the graduate school or program. This may include a particular letterhead, submitting the letter through an online application portal, or mailing a physical copy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top