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Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

Handy Tips to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School

An accurate letter of recommendation for graduate school can give you the much-needed impetus required for your entire admission process. This article provides you with the sample of such a letter, along with the dos and don'ts.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Though your impeccable performance in academics and your standardized test scores are important factors that help you get through a graduate program, more often than not, a lot of schools require you to provide a recommendation letter that will vouch for you as a great student and a suitable candidate for the program you have applied for. When having such a letter written, it is important that you get someone who knows you well, to vouch for you. Your professor or guide may be the best choice in this case. The person who writes for you should know you with regard to your academic and non-academic performance in college, and for a great letter, you should supply the person with all the information you would like included in it. This would include your goals for the future and your performance in the past. Once you have gathered all the information, and decided who should write your letter of recommendation for graduate school, you will get one that is bound to add value to your entire admission process.

Important Tips
  • The letter should have a formal, yet personal tone, because it is the humane touch that is being taken into consideration. The school already has all the records and scores that prove that the student is a good choice for the program. The familiarity of the writer with the student should be reflected well in it.
  • It should be ideally addressed by name to the counselor or the person responsible for admissions. To Whomsoever it May Concern is a safe option only when you simply cannot figure whom it should be written to. Start your introduction as the writer, recommending the student in question. Move on to explaining qualities about the student that will make an impact. Make sure these qualities include performance in education as well as extracurricular and personal skills.
  • Finally, conclude by making a strong recommendation for the student once again.
A sample that you can review and take help from, is given below.


Dear Madam/Sir (or Name of the Counselor),

I find myself extremely delighted to present a recommendation for one of my best students, Jim Phyllis, for admission to the graduate program in Developmental Psychology at your esteemed school. I have been Jim's academic adviser for the last two years, and I have watched him chart out his path to realize his dream and contribute to the research process in the field of developmental psychology.

I have seen Jim's interest in the field develop through his course in school. Though he started out with psychology as a minor subject, it soon became a passion, which was reflected in the way he performed in class and in his changing thought process. Apart from his phenomenal educational performance, Jim also displayed an enthusiasm when it came to other extracurricular activities. He would regularly contribute to the college magazine by means of articles on psychology, and on several diverse topics such as literature and the environment. His keen sensitivity toward various disciplines is what made him stand out among several others.

It is based on these qualities that I recommend Jim Phyllis as a very suitable candidate for the program at your school. Jim is a student who has immense potential to make a difference wherever he goes. He continually challenges himself to learn more and understand the various dimensions of fields that interest him, thereby garnering almost as much knowledge of a subject, as he can. As his academic adviser, I am very proud to vouch for him as a splendid student.

Should you require any further details regarding Jim Phyllis, you may contact me on 1234-5678. Alternately, you may get in touch with me at



Reginald Richards
University of XYZ

While this is a basic sample, you are free to include more qualities of the student if you think them necessary for the admission process. Do not make the letter very lengthy, but definitely make it convincing. Once you have done that, ensure that it is proofread for any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. It should look personal and seem genuine. Keep all these points in mind to be able to write.