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Recommendation Letter

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Recommendation Letter. Letters of Recommendation can make or break your grad school application. If you intend to apply for MS or PhD programs, here’s some helpful advice on securing strong LORS. Recommendation Letter

Why are LORs important?

– They tell the admissions committee about your suitability to pursue a challenging graduate program. Your recommenders will highlight your personal qualities and achievements which would help you thrive in grad school. Recommendation Letter

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Whom do you ask for a letter?

– You will typically require 3 LORs from people who supervised you closely in an academic or professional environment, ideally your professors, research scientists, or managers. The strongest letters come from writers who know you well. Recommendation Letter

How do you ask for a letter?

– Prepare a summary of your work with the recommender. Include bullet points on project details, what you did, and the outcomes. Also include a copy of your personal statement, CV, and transcript for their reference. Recommendation Letter

How do you get strong LORs?

– The best way is to work closely with your profs or manager on a major project. Through this collaboration, they will get to observe your problem solving ability, independence, motivation, and other relevant skills. Recommendation Letter

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1. Should I write my own LOR?

– No, please don’t. In most cases, the ad com will be able to tell from your writing style. Provide as much information to your recommender as possible, but don’t write it yourself and tank your chances. Recommendation Letter

2. Should I ask my manager for an LOR?

– Sure, if you have worked on an impactful project and have impressed your manager, go for it. Just make sure that the nature of your work is relevant to the graduate program you are applying to. Recommendation Letter

3. Do academic LORs carry more weight than professional LORs?

– That depends on the specific nature of the program. If it is more professional in nature where work exp is vital, then you should definitely get LORs which reflect your work experience.

4. Any advice for PhD applicants?

– Yes, you should ask your recommenders to highlight your research skills. Prioritize letters from professors, then research scientists. Letters from the workplace may not carry much weight unless your work was research oriented.

5. Does the seniority of the writer count?

– To some extent yes, but the content matters more. I would personally choose a letter from a junior prof who knows me really well over a senior prof who may only know me in passing.

6. Can I get an LOR from a PhD student or Post Doc?

– Try and avoid this. If you were primarily supervised by a senior PhD student or Post Doc, ask their advisor if it’s possible to jointly write the letter.

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