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5 Components of a Letter of Recommendation

In this article, we examine the various components of a letter of recommendation in detail with sample lines for each section of the letter.

Mahesh Ramani | 05 Dec 2013 | Updated on 20 Jan 2015 | 9.2K Views
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The concluding paragraph of the recommendation letter could state why you are a suitable candidate for the course that you are applying for.

In the previous article we examined the different types of letters of recommendation based on the subject and level of study selected by prospective students. In this article, we examine the various components of a letter of recommendation in detail with sample lines for each section of the letter.
Let us have a quick recap from our previous article about the structure of a letter of recommendation; it should start with a clear salutation and date and city location. Then a crisp introduction about the referee; followed by the recommendation where your referee recommends you to be admitted to the course of your choice. Then a quick summary of your significant academic achievements, examination scores, talents and skills. The concluding paragraph should state why your admission to the course will help you achieve your academic and professional ambitions.
Now we will examine the letter of recommendation; part-by-part with sample lines for each portion of the letter. 

Date, Place and Salutation:

This is pretty straightforward; the date when the letter is written, city and the salutation. If the institution’s admissions team provides a specific person’s name to whom the letter should be sent then the letter should be addressed to him or her. Alternatively the salutation can just read - ‘Dear Admissions Team’.



November 25, 2013 


25th November 2013




Dear Katherine,

Dear Admissions Team,

Dear James,


Referee Introduction:

This is where the referee introduces himself / herself and recommends you.


‘I am ‘Referee’s name and designation’ and I would like to recommend (applicant’s name) for the (course name) at (name of the institution).’
‘I am Sushant Sen senior lecturer - Department of Chemistry - Hindu College. I would like to recommend my student Vidya Shankar for a place on the MSc Biochemistry course offered at the University of Surrey.’ 

Academic / Professional Achievements:

This is where your referee describes your academic and professional achievements.


‘Vidya has been an exemplary student and has consistently scored well in all exams and has secured an overall GPA of 8.5 of a maximum 10. She is interested in research in herbal extracts and is also an avid quizzer and passionate about swimming, winning numerous inter-collegiate swimming competitions.’
‘Ravi has been working with our firm Metfab India for the past two years as a business development officer. With thorough product knowledge and good selling skills he has been instrumental in our growth in New Delhi and Mumbai. His plan to complete an MBA in Marketing is a good one and he is sure to reach great heights of success.’

Concluding Paragraph:

This is a formal conclusion to the letter.


‘Vidhya has a bright future ahead of her and I am sure she will continue with renewed vigour on her research on herbal extracts. It is with great pride that I recommend Vidhya for a place at the University of Surrey on the MSc Biochemistry course.’
‘Ravi is a sincere and hard-working employee with a tremendous zeal to succeed. I am proud to have mentored him and recommend him for a place at the University of Birmingham on the MBA in Marketing course.’


The referee’s signature should display his /her name and designation clearly.


Sushant Sen
Senior Lecturer
Department of Chemistry
Hindu College
Chennai - 600025
Contact Phone - (91) - 98xxxxxxx8
Email - 


Avinash Gupta,
Regional Manager,
Metfab India Pvt. Ltd.
No - 2 - Metfab Plaza,
Shivaji Marg,
Mumbai - 400021
Contact Phone - 91 -98xxxxxxx7
Email - 
With this article, hopefully now you have a better understanding of what content should go in where in a letter of recommendation. The next article in this series will look at a sample letter of recommendation written for a student who aspires to study a postgraduate engineering course.
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