LOR Samples

Let’s consider a well-drafted sample letter of recommendation:

“To the Admission Committee

Mr Rajiv Jain is a brilliant student. His academic credentials are top notch as he always appears anywhere in the first three ranks in each examination. He has also inspired the students by being a leader on the cricket pitch by exhibiting an awe-inspiring all-round performance. It is my genuine pleasure and honour to recommend him for your MS program in computer science.……

………. However, what I admire most is the strength of his character. During a closely contested match with another engineering college to secure a place in the finals of the Dr LMNO cricket championship, our team needed four runs to win and the last pair of our batsmen including Rajiv was on the pitch. Rajiv was not out on 101 runs. With only six balls remaining, Rajiv was on strike. Do keep in mind that this match was a derby and played against a fierce rival team which has only defeated us every time we met during the last four years. This win would have gained us an entry into the finals of the championship and a chance for Rajiv to make his mark as the leading run scorer in this tournament. The first ball was bowled wide of the off stump, Rajiv attempted a cover drive. The opposition team went up in unison. And the umpire dithered as everyone except him seemed to have heard the nick. But Rajiv walked.

We were all surprised. In today’s day and age, nobody walks unless given out by the umpire and that too during such a high stakes game. We also knew that winning this tournament meant a lot to Rajiv. Later when I asked Rajiv about his decision to walk, he had a simple answer “There were young kids watching the match too. It would set a wrong example. As much as we want to succeed in our present, it shouldn’t be at the cost of a future without conscience.

I was humbled. That day, a student may have taught me the most important lesson of my life…”

Analysing the above letter:

It is carefully divided into paragraphs:

  • The first paragraph introduces the student and his academic records that validate his other documents submitted and sets a premise for the relationship if the recommender and the applicant
  • The second paragraph is the major content holder that narrates an incident and tries to build an image of his character while subtly pointing out to his interests, achievements and major involvements outside of academics
  • The last paragraph concludes with a very impactful end to the story that will set a new image of the applicant for the admissions committee

How to format an impressive Letter of Recommendation?

First impression is the last impression. Period.The last thing you want is for the admissions committee to struggle through your letter in printing or your letter missing basic legibility. It should be formatted in a very formal and polite - yet appealing way. You should leave no room for the admissions committee to judge or form a negative opinion of you based on a – not so rightly done – format of the letter.

You must remember – not just ‘what’ is being said, ‘how’ is it being said is just as important. We hope this will help you in drafting a well-formatted letter of recommendation for your application.

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