Recommendation letter is one of the mandatory requirements while applying for Graduate School. Majority of the Universities require 3 recommendation letters and some schools require 2+. Some schools letter of recommendation as reference letters. I have seen schools that require students to submit the references through online form. Do. it really depends on the college you are applying for admission.
Why Recommendation Letters?
Universities use reference letters to determine their professional characters, behaviors and other skills, which will be expressed by the in the letter by their managers or professors. Some schools will provide reference letter template and will ask the students to get it filled. But, most of the schools accept the recommendation letter signed in sealed envelop.
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Graduate school or department admission committee will look for specific skills and traits that can convince them to give admission. Its not a bad idea to given them an outline of skills to be included. I have written about dos don’t and while writing recommendation letter.
What Skills to Highlight
There are so many skills that a person can highlight in the recommendation letter while providing reference. But, its difficult to include many traits in 1 to 2 page document. Much care has to be put in to select the skills that have to be included in the LOR. You can refer to sample recommendation letters, but all those skills will not apply exactly to you.
- Social Skills
- Motivational Skills
- Communication Skills (Reading, Writing and Listening)
- Analytical Research and Quantitative Skill
- Leadership Skills
- Ability to overcome tough situations
- Willingness to go extra mile
- Volunteer Activities
Recommendation letter will not get admission, GRE Scores, Statatement of purpose (sample sops), Resume and other skills play equal role in getting admission.