How Letter of Recommendation can increase your admission chances
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How Letter of Recommendation can increase your admission chances

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 30 Mar 2022

A letter of recommendation (LOR) is an opportunity to strengthen your admission application by providing information not provided elsewhere in the application. It can provide further explanations and contextualization. It can give more reasons, anecdotes and facts to make student’s admission case stronger. Well written LORs are imperative for highly competitive admissions into ivy league/top colleges. It gives student an opportunity to show how he/she stands out beyond self-advocacy (as in Statement of Purpose).


As per Yale Admissions team - LOR brings out the qualities, character, values, and personality of the student by someone who knows student well enough to write about his/her experience with the student. It gives a feeling of the student, type of person they are, type of student they are – helping the admission officer to visualize how that person might be a good fit on campus, and how the student might fare with the wider college community and its values. It helps admission officers understand student’s progress so far and how student could develop in future. The more unique/personalized the LOR is, the better it is for students. It helps them make a better impression and standout in the admission process.


According to MIT USA Admissions Team further information in the LOR could be about any unusual competence, talent or leadership ability of the student. What excites the student, what are his/her interests, what are his/her likes and dislikes, and what he/she cares about. What are student’s pursuits inside and outside school like? What are his/her intellectual curiosity level and work habits. Anecdotes about Interaction with teachers/peers enlightens student’s personality traits and social skills. LOR can elaborate via anecdotes and examples on hardships and disappointments faced by the student and how did the student react, cope and overcame the difficulties.


Contextualization includes description about unusual family, community or school circumstances that the student faced. Giving such information is useful as it sets the background and gives a fuller context of student’s achievements and contributions to the admission officer. One more bit is very important in LOR is that it should be aligned with overall narrative or story of yours drafted in your application. Secondly, giving more details and unique insights about the work the applicant has done with the recommender will make it authentic and useful. Finally, if you school/college has a track record of sending students to Top 40 US/UK schools, then the recommender could cross reference your recommendation with those students to add validation.


Remember, LOR is not merely summarizing information available in other parts of application such as SOP, Grades, etc. It is part of whole person application review and is an important piece of larger admission puzzle. Also, it is suggested that the recommender writes the LOR for you in his/her own words to express his true feelings rather than asking the applicant to send a draft of recommendation. Overall, a well thought and an aligned LOR with your essay add to a comprehensive picture of your admission application and can increase your chances of admissions.


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