Importance of Letter of Recommendation for your admission to Universities Abroad

Importance of Letter of Recommendation for your admission to Universities Abroad

Alisha Khan Alisha Khan
[Published 07 Mar, 2022 | 02:57 PM]
About Author - 9 min read

A remarkable recommendation letter can assist you in obtaining admission into any of the Universities abroad. It could make a huge difference to your Canada immigration as an overseas student. This could be for a Graduate school, College, University, or the latest academic experience or program.  

When you apply to admission for Universities abroad, it is not only your grades and resume that get evaluated. The admission officers would also like to know the perception of others about your experience, work, character, and wit. You have to thus provide letters of recommendation along with your application for admission. 

We have here covered all the vital aspects that can help you in putting together outstanding letters of recommendation.

The difference between a reference letter and a Letter of Recommendation

In the requirements for application, you will be asked either to provide reference letters or letters of recommendation. Though the general perception is that both are the same, it is not so actually. The two are quite different in theory. 

A Recommendation Letter is explicitly required by an academic program and has to be sent to the University directly by the employer or professor unseen by the applicant. The length of the document has to be around 300 to 400 words. It must present your abilities, accomplishments, and character objectively. 

A Reference Letter is given directly to you by the referee and for your future usage. This letter is usually addressed as ‘Dear Madam/Sir’ or ‘To whomsoever, it Concerns’. 

Thus, the majority of the Universities abroad often specify recommendation letters. This is personal and describes your suitability with respect to their specific program. 

Why are Letters of Recommendation significant?

Most of the Admission Officers at Universities abroad especially for Bachelor’s or Master’s programs stress their process being holistic. They would like to assess the applicant as a person on the whole than just in parts solely based on test scores and grades. As they rarely meet the applicant personally, the role of letters of recommendation and the personal essay of the student is quite huge. This is in highlighting their personal and intellectual qualities. 

Hence, letters of recommendation from teachers or employers who know the student/applicant will carry great significance in applications. It can have a major impact on the chances of obtaining admission. For this, it has to express a strong vote of support and highlight the student’s impressive personal and academic forte. 

Check CRS Score

Whom should you ask for a recommendation letter for your admission application?

It depends on the program that you have chosen to apply for. Universities abroad sometimes ask letters of recommendation explicitly only from Professors or both from employers and Professors. 

The letter of recommendation from a teacher must highlight your academic achievements and skills. If it is from an employer, ideally the letter must highlight skills applicable for your chosen program. 

It is very crucial that you select the right person while asking for a letter of recommendation. You should ideally be familiar with that individual for a minimum of 6 months before seeking the letter. 

Under any circumstances, do not seek a letter of recommendation from: 

  • A person who does not know you adequately to assure your work and academic experience
  • A person who may not write a favorable letter of recommendation for you

If you are asking for a recommendation letter from a Professor, you should have closely worked and interacted with them for multiple courses. If you truly wish to create an impact on the admission committee, you must select a Professor with expertise in the specialization of the chosen program. 

If you are asking for a recommendation letter from an employer, you must select someone who can offer suitable information for that program. 

For example, you require a recommendation letter to apply for a Master’s program in a subject related to Technology. It is more valuable to seek a letter from the supervisor in a tech firm that you worked for than from a company where you worked for a Customer Service role. 

How to obtain an impactful Letter of Recommendation? 

While Letters of Recommendation are about diverse students with diverse interests, there are some shared fundamental aspects. Firstly, they must sound enthusiastic and excited. The Professors or Employers must communicate clearly be impressed by the student/applicant and be keen to help them in getting admission.

How to obtain an impactful Letter of Recommendation?

Meanwhile, the letters must also not exaggerate as they have examples for supporting their assessments. Exact stories and examples are vital for upholding the assessment. They also make the letter more memorable and interesting. 

For example, ABC is not just another Engineering applicant. The student conducted research on the absorption of sound for sparing the parents from hours’ long guitar practice sessions. 

The Professors must discuss the personal strengths of the student as well as academic strengths. They must offer the holistic view being sought by the admission officers and a strong confidence vote for the future success of the student. 

The ideal Letters of Recommendation must consist of all the discussed features. The students or applicants must provide the raw materials for being written about. Students must select a Professor who is familiar with them and has observations and stories to share. They must also provide the teachers with a comprehensive ‘brag sheet’ informing them about the content of an ideal letter. In this way, the letter is personalized and complements the story being told by the student in their remaining application. 

The structure of a Letter of Recommendation

A Letter of Recommendation is a formal letter so it is a document with less scope for creativity. Your recommender must adhere to the structure as given here: 


Your referee will introduce themselves and their relationship with you – Employer, Professor, etc. Their general impression of you and the period of the mutual acquaintance will also be informed. 


The Referee will deliberate as to why they think you are the best choice for the particular study program. They will mention your academic background, activities, and appropriate traits of the personality. 


Your referee must conclude with an impactful concluding statement that vouches for your application for admission. This must be followed with a standard closing phrase, their name, contact information, and signature. 

The secrets of an impressive recommendation letter

1. Your recommenders must talk about your various achievements

If you have to provide more than 1 letter of recommendation, it’s a smart thing to ask them to mention your diverse personality traits, accomplishments, and academic potential. For instance, one letter can highlight your abilities in research while the other your academic performance. 

2. Facilitate your recommenders with applicable info

Even if the individual is known to you; they will not have a track of all your academic achievements and test scores. You must make their work easy by providing them with the required information such as: 

  • A list of your academic accomplishments and GPA - grade point average
  • A list of your co-curricular and volunteer activities 
  • The date by which the letter has to be submitted 

3. The letter must always consist of instances of things you did

The individual recommending you must not merely list your skills but also offer examples of instances and manner of their usage. If they do not offer examples of your research project done, it does not help if they say you have fine research skills. 

4. The letter should demonstrate your improvement over time

The Admission Officers at Universities abroad are experienced having evaluated thousands of applications. A letter that just admires you will appear impractical to them. It is thus very crucial that the recommender also writes about your improvement with years added. 

For instance, they can mention how you were introverted and not very dynamic in the class when you started your Bachelor’s program. But a transition was achieved as years passed and now you have great debating skills and a positive attitude. 

5. The letter’s tone must not be too dry

A Letter of Recommendation is a formal document but formality must not be confused with dryness. Admissions committees appreciate when recommendations are personalized while being formal. So an impressive letter must speak really about you and evade clichés that can be universally used. 

Ensure to thank the referee with a formal note of thanks if you obtain the admission. You never know if you may need their help again! 

Nationwide Visas can help you in building the best possible application for Universities abroad with impressive recommendations. We are the leading Study Overseas Consultants offering top-notch services for admissions abroad. 

We blend our proprietary, data-driven admissions strategies with outstanding Study Overseas Counselors. Thousands of students have been benefited from our facilitation in obtaining admission into their chosen top schools abroad. Being in the study abroad industry for years, we know the kind of students that Universities would like to admit. 

Get a Free Express Entry Assessment


We welcome your feedback

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enquire Now

Stay up to date with latest news

Website-Pop-UpExpress Entry Next Prediction Draw
Check Your Eligibility! chatbot icon
chatbot icon Check Your Eligibility In 60 Seconds!