How to write recommendation letters for US University applications

In the following article, you can find important recommendation letter details. Letters of Recommendation form one of the most important aspects of your profile. SOP and recommendation letters are the two sources from which help the professors understand you as a person. So, make sure your recommendation letters include all information that you wish to portray.

How many letters of recommendation are required for US University applications?
Every US University requires at least 2 Letters of recommendation, preferably from educational background. Some of the Universities require 3 LORs. It is advisable to have 2 LORs from professors and 1 from your manager or supervisor.

From whom to take the letters of recommendation?
Recommendation letters should be taken from professors who know you very well and those who have worked with you over a long duration of time (2-3 years). Preferably your project guide, academic adviser or your mentor. Higher the designation of the recommender more would be the value of your recommendation letter. If possible get a recommendation from the Head of your department. At your workplace, recommendation from your manager or higher employee could add good value to your profile. But you need to have at least 2 recommendations from your professors or teachers who are working in an academic background.

What is the procedure to submit letters of recommendation?
There are two ways of submitting the Letters of recommendation: Online and offline. Most Universities require the reco letters to be uploaded online by your recommenders. Here are the general steps for submitting LORs to US Universities:

Online recommendation letters upload:
  1. Provide official e-mail addresses of your recommenders during your online US University applications.
  2. Contact your recommenders and finalize your recommendation letter content. Prepare a soft copy (preferably pdf file) of the recommendation letter and provide it to your recommenders.
  3. Your recommenders will get a mail from the University which contains the procedure to upload your recommendation letter.
  4. Along with uploading the letter, your professor will also have to mark a few multiple choice ranking questions about you where questions about your research abilities, intelligence, potential and other qualities are asked.
  5. You will get a confirmation mail from the University once your recommender has submitted the soft copy of recommendation letter to the University.

Offline recommendation letters:
  1. Contact your recommenders and finalize your recommendation letter content.
  2. Take the print out of the recommendation letter on the college letterhead or your company letterhead. Make sure you take a minimum of 5 print outs so that you could send them to multiple Universities.
  3. Take signatures of your recommenders at the bottom where the designation and contact of your recommenders is mentioned.
  4. Send the hard copy of the letter of recommendation by international courier along with other supporting documents to the concerned Universities.

Contents of the letter of recommendation
The length of the recommendation letter must not be more than one page. Keep the letter concise and to the point. Make sure the following skills are highlighted in the letter:
  • Research interest and potential
  • Intelligence
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to face challenging situations
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Team player

Sample Letter of Recommendation
To download a free sample Letter of recommendation for US Universities, click on the following link