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Tips for Getting Recommendation Letters

4 Min Read
November 07, 2022

Submitting recommendation letters is an important part of your university admission. Most private universities require you to submit these letters. Obviously, you cannot recommend yourself, making the process of sorting out the right people to write you these letters could be a challenge.


We collected some useful tips below that you can use:

  1. The recommender

Best choices are people who know you well and can endorse your strengths without over dramatization. A good recommendation letters does not only emphasize on what you do best, but also able to make you stand out from the other applicants. They use specific examples and concrete evidences to showcase your personal and academic strengths and progressions. Remember that the admission officers who read your letters receive thousands of similar letters, so make yours different. Nobody is created equal, so what people say about you must highlight this aspect vividly. You can ask a teacher who has taught you long enough, e.g. your home-room teacher or your coach if you joined a sport club at school. You will have some advantage if these people also went to the school you are applying to!

  1. Start early

Contact your potential recommender as early as possible because they are busy and might need some time to compose an ideal letter for you. Asking their help in the last minute may make your letters look poorly written. In addition, starting this process early will give you opportunities to strengthen your connections and foster your relationships with your target teachers. Do not underestimate anybody, the teacher you dislike the most could be the one who is willing to write you one of these letters. This will also help you to develop social skills that are essential for your college life and career.

  1. What to writeresources

After finding the recommender, the next step is to sort things out to put into the letter. The best letters provide information to the admission officer about you, the applicant. Since college life is more challenging than high school, colleges are looking for a student who has determination and passion. They want to know whether you can finish your study in college successfully. Even though you are a straight A's student, it is not always wise to mention this too much in the letters – the officer can check your grades card for that without your reminder. Instead, they want to see how you contribute to the overall learning experience of your class, how you interact and get along with others, and how you deal with struggles and challenges.

  1. Be strategic with the content of each letter

Often you are required to submit more than one letter of recommendation. So, make sure that each recommender writes about different aspects of you. Your letters of recommendation should not be redundant and they should each give new information about you. As you ask for a favor to your teachers, you can write a short note on what you would like to see in their letters. Depending on your experience with them, for instance, you may tell Teacher A to focus on your perseverance and hard work in overcoming challenges in his/her class. Then, you can tell Teacher B to focus on your social skills and how you are always willing to help your peers. And of course, make sure you have precedents and specific examples to support such claims.

  1. Ensure technical aspects are correct

The letters should be addressed to the admission director. Mention the university address correctly, and use "Dear Sir / Madam," if you're unsure about the director's gender. Don't try to guess it from his / her name. You can easily find this information from the university's website. Use formal English for writing. It means the recommender should write "do not" instead of "don't" and "I am" instead of "I'm". If the letter is handwritten, ensure that it could be easily read. Your name should also be written clearly, preferably in capital, accompanied with the proper salutation (Mr. / Miss). For example, if your name is John Smith, you could be addressed as Mr. Smith or John – using first name will make your letter sounds more personal. You should be addressed uniformly through the letter.   If you still have doubts about this issue, feel free to contact us. We will help you strategize on how to get the best recommendations for your admission.