How to get a strong recommendation letter for Graduate school application? 


Faculty members want to give a more practical guide and support for graduate school applicants

Photo: Kean University (Wenzhou campus) Faculty members at 2017 Graduation Ceremony. 


However, faculty members have difficulties in writing a strong recommendation letter for two reasons: 1) Lack of applicant's information and 2) Time pressure. 


Solution 1: Use the Recommendation Letter Request Form

A faculty recommender needs necessary information and sufficient communication with an applicant to write a strong recommendation letter. The necessary information are 1) Personal information, 2) Purpose and Goal for graduate study, and 3) Capabilities and Characters of graduate study.   

The best way to provide recommender an applicant information is making sufficient and continual interactions. If an applicant works for a recommender and makes continual communications, there will be no problem for a recommender to know about an applicant to write a reference letter. 

But this case is not many in reality.  So, proving a recommender the sufficient information is highly desirable. 

The following template helps an applicant providing necessary information to a faculty recommender. 

Download file. 

Request for Recommendation Form_General2.pptx

(Rev. Oct. 10, 2017)


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The template is composed with 1) Applicant's personal information 2) Relationship with a recommender, 3) Necessary documents, 4) Applying schools, 5) Recommendation form, 6) Purpose of graduate study, 7) supportive capability, skills, and knowledge, and 8) Decision.  

It is noteworthy that an applicant can use the "Reference-letter.com" to fill in the "Any sample sentences do you want to include in the recommendation letter". 

Recommenders want to provide specific sentences that can highlight an applicant's strength and capability. And, an applicant can help the recommender to paraphrase the sample sentences.  

Click here to go to www.reference-letter.com


Solution 2: Make a Continual Communication

If an applicant completes the Recommendation Request Form, the individual should try making continual communications. Face-to-face interaction is the best form of making communication with a recommender. However, if it does not work, please never hesitate to make a phone call, Email, or message to refresh an applicant's request. 

Unfortunately, recommenders have limited time resource to write recommendation letters. For example, if a faculty get 10 requests for recommendation letter writing, the faculty may write more than 100 letters because an applicant commonly applied more than 10 different graduate schools. 


Frequently, a recommender misses or forgets to submit a recommendation letter for an applicant because of the reason. 

So, please do not assume that you will be a strong recommendation letter from a recommender simply because you 'requested'. But, please try to make a continual communication with the recommender. 


In short, use the recommendation letter request form for graduate school application and make a continual communication by using the form. It will help an applicant getting a strong recommendation letter. 


For more information, refer to this article. 

How to get into Graduate program? 

http://www.howtogetintograduateschool.com/graduate-applications/grad-school-beginners-guide/



This article is written by Jeonghwan (Jerry) Choi, PhD, MBA, ME


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)
MBA, HHL-Leipzig Graduate School of Management (Germany)
MBA, KDI School of Public Policy and Management (Korea)
ME, INHA Graduate School of Engineering (Korea)


Remarks: 

This article was formulated at the Professional Developments Days in 2017 at Kean University (Wenzhou) with collaborating from Dr. Mouhammad Mousavi and Dr. Gaurav Gupta 


https://www.slideshare.net/jeonghwan.choi/how-to-get-a-recommendation-letter-for-graduate-school-application




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