Colleges and universities that you are seeking admission into, will usually look at three things before considering your application as a full-time student. These are: your grades, your course and your score on standardised tests. If you fulfil the essential criteria, your candidature will be assessed based on your credibility. This means that you may want to make a few calls to your past professors, mentors or leaders you have worked with and request them to write a convincing letter of recommendation for your university admission. The undeniable importance of a letter of recommendation is often overlooked and this results in an opportunity being lost for many.
So.. How Important Are Letters Of Recommendation?
Apart from a stellar resume, a letter of recommendation is the only document that validates your achievements, personal attributes and skills from someone else. This document is imperative in proving your worthiness and credibility. Moreover, a good letter of recommendation is enough to get you admitted into the college or university of your choice.
You may be wondering why it isn’t enough to perform well in class and be involved in extracurricular activities to be an all-rounder student. Most universities require their students to be meritorious and promising, and this is usually the first criterion for selecting candidates. However, as the competition narrows down, so do the factors of comparison. To break ties between deserving candidates, educational institutions usually emphasise secondary factors such as a well-written letter of recommendation, community service, years of work experience, etc.
It is safe to say that if you want to leave no stone unturned in seeking college admissions, you must make arrangements for at least 2 to 4 letters of recommendation.
What Exactly Is The Importance Of A Recommendation Letter?
A letter of recommendation is not just imperative for college admissions but is often required for professional candidatures as well. For example, you may be a graduate seeking admission into an international firm. In this case, you may be asked to present an academic letter of recommendation from your college faculty in addition to a professional LOR from your previous employee.
Here are 5 points reflecting the importance of a letter of recommendation:
#1 A Great Value-Add
LORs may not seem like a necessity initially, but they add value and improve the quality of your application. Every time you submit an application seeking college admissions or a full-time job position, a letter of recommendation will be an important tool that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates. A letter of recommendation also discusses your personality and other important characteristics of a student. Most institutions demand an Academic LOR, which serves as proof of your academic ability. It also substantiates traits such as academic discipline and commitment, as well as, how you respond or engage in class. Fundamentally, what you mention in your LOR provides a professor’s opinion to another professor, which adds value to your candidature as a potential student.
#2 Creates A Lasting Impression
Each LOR is unique because it is written by unique individuals for unique individuals. This means that this document will talk about someone else’s opinion and experience of working with you. Such situations are unique and cannot be replicated. As a result, you can make the best out of this and form a lasting impression on the admissions committee by submitting a highly personalised LOR. Letters of Recommendation are frequently used by universities to validate the accomplishments shown on your CV. While LORs are frequently needed on official letterheads, they can act as evidence positive of your job in an organisation or your term at a college.
Always remember that the institute you are applying to is ready to invest in only the best candidates. This is why the importance of a letter of recommendation can in no way be underestimated. Usually when there is a tie between two candidates, the quality of LORs submitted by them becomes a factor for tie-breaking. While many students may consider this as a secondary document or a pile-on to their list of documents, a LOR could be your gateway for admission to your university. Moreover, since the letter highlights why you’re suitable for the university & the programme as a third opinion, it stands as a validation coming from a third person which creates a strong impact.
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#4 Strengths & Weaknesses
Only LORs will be able to justify your weakness and highlight your strengths thoroughly. More often than not, LORs require answers to questions such as your weakness or shortcomings. Even though the college you are applying to may ask for this negative feedback, it is a valid question. This will help the admissions committee weigh your weaknesses against your strengths. In such cases, you may want to request the person recommending you to answer such questions with the presence of mind and wit.
#5 Reflects The Purpose
A good LOR should reflect the purpose for which you are applying for a position at the job or the reason why you want to study a particular subject. This will be particularly helpful for you to structure your letter well. For example, if the letter is for a job, find the job title and ask for the job description. Request the individual to share with you any instructions or other information they have received about the letter.
#6 Leadership Skills & Team Spirit
It is one thing to suggest that you are a good leader, but only an excellent recommendation letter can highlight your leadership talents. The leadership aspect is frequently highlighted in a Professional LOR. Most MBA programmes require a Professional LOR from your immediate reporting manager/supervisor. These letters provide insight into your leadership and, more significantly, your ability to operate in teams and with other teams. This is seen as a significant need, particularly for MBA and/or research-based courses overseas. It’s no surprise that elite colleges and business schools frequently give candidates’ LORs roughly 8% weightage.
1. What is a letter of recommendation?
A letter of recommendation is a statement prepared by a professional who is familiar with you and can speak well about your character, qualifications, achievements, skills and abilities. It is frequently used to enhance your application for a position, a course, or another opportunity.
2. Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
It is a safe bet to approach someone who is familiar with you and can speak well about your talents, abilities, and character. They could be a former boss, teacher, mentor, or coworker.
3. What should a letter of recommendation include?
A letter of recommendation should include an opening that describes the writer’s relationship to you, a description of your talents and abilities, specific instances of your work or accomplishments, and a conclusion that summarises the writer’s overall assessment of you.
4. How can I use a LOR for my benefit?
You may use a letter of recommendation to highlight your skills and achievements, as well as to set yourself apart from other candidates. You may also use it to showcase your aptitude for a particular career or school, as well as to underline specific abilities or experiences relevant to the opportunity.
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