recommendations are important because they verify your claims and
provide the admissions committee an opportunity to learn more about you
from people you have worked closely with. Hence, good
recommendations can serve as a powerful tool to ‘sell’ yourself to the
committee. We list here the common issues:
are Recommendation Letters important?
part of your application, builds an image of your personality in the
minds of the admissions committee. The recommendation letters provide a
third person’s perspective on the kind of person you are. What a
recommendation letter writes about you should add or supplement what
you claim to be through your essays/SOP and work experience details. It
certainly would create doubts about you as a person if the image that
your recommendation letter creates completely inverts the image that
you’ve been trying to create through your essays/SOPs and work
one simple way to make recommendation letters contribute to your
admission process is to keep your application straight and honest.
Present the facts as they actually are - be truthful about every claim
you make in every aspect of your application.
is one thing that you certainly can do and that is to choose the people
who can recommend you judiciously. Choose a person who knows you well
and likes you as a person and then ask him/her to give a fair
assessment of you as a person in the recommendation letter.
application form will give you details about the recommendation letters
you are required to submit. The number of recommendations and from whom
- whether from your work or from your school or both.
Schools: Most schools require 2-3 recommendation
letters. Choosing the appropriate mix of recommenders largely
depends on the program you are applying for. For an MBA
program, two recommendations from work and one from school is generally
a good balance. If the school asks for only two
recommendations, it would be advisable to get both work related. As far
as possible, it is advisable to get one recommendation letter from your
immediate supervisor. However, if it is not possible, then a
former supervisor would be a good choice. As a last
alternative, you could use a colleague who has worked closely with
you. It is not advised to apply without a recommendation from
your current job place. For more details, check out the recommendation
letter section on the MBA channel.
Programs: For an MS or Doctoral program, you should get
atleast two recommendations from your professors. If you have
performed research or worked on thesis, it is highly recommended that
you get the reference letter from your Advisor. If you
worked for a company either full time or as a summer intern, you could
take one letter from your immediate supervisor.
Programs: For candidates applying for an undergraduate
program, very few schools ask for a recommendation letter. If
asked, you should get it from one of your favorite teachers in school.
other points to keep in mind while choosing your recommender:
- Choose people who know
you well. Rather than choosing a famous person who has no intimate
knowledge of your skills and abilities, it is much more powerful to use
a person who can illustrate your strengths and show you at your best.
- Choose people who
really like you. It is important that a recommender invests
time in writing your recommendation. A person who likes you
will take out the time as well as put a positive spin on your qualities.
- Choose people who can
address more than one key criterion: your business and managerial
skills, intellectual ability, leadership potential, maturity,
work ethics etc.
- Give your recommender
an outline of the assignments you have handled at work. Include in the
outline some suggestions on how he/she might address specific issues
such as analytical ability, integrity, intellectual curiosity etc.