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Mahesh Ramani

Mahesh Ramani is a senior content editor for the Hotcourses India- an IDP company.


23 Mar 2018 5.9K Book icon 3 mins Share

What are the types of LOR that you need for studying abroad?

What are the types of letters of recommendation? When and how to get them done? And some tips on getting a well-structured LOR

23 Mar 2018 5.9K Book icon 3 mins Share
Mahesh Ramani

Mahesh Ramani is a senior content editor for the Hotcourses India- an IDP company.


Share this article
What are the types of LOR that you need for studying abroad?

You have got all the documents ready for your overseas admissions. But you have stumbled upon on getting a letter of recommendation done. Thinking what type of LOR will suit your profile best? Who to ask for a crisp LOR? And, most importantly, what are the do’s and don’ts that you need to follow when writing an LOR?

There are two types of LOR depending on what you have done or been doing so far in your career

Academic LOR

If you are a student who is looking to apply to an overseas institute this year, then you should be looking at getting an academic LOR done from your professor. If you are applying for your masters abroad, you need to get LOR from your college faculty. But if you are applying for your bachelors abroad, then you need to get LOR from your school. Also, some universities might ask for up to three LORs, in which case you should get LORs from your teachers and someone who you have worked with, and think will be the right person to recommend you.

Professional LOR

Usually, students who want to go for MBA programmes abroad get a professional LOR done because the majority of MBA-seekers have work experience. So for such students, it makes sense to approach the employer for an LOR, rather approach the college from where the student would have completed his or her bachelors. Students who gain some work experience after completing a bachelors or masters and wish to go for another masters abroad can get an LOR through the employer done, too.  

Content Varies: The content of an academic LOR differs from that in a professional LOR.

  1. Most academic LORs describe the achievements made by the student towards the degree that he or she has completed. 
  2. But a professional LOR details the career growth of the student, as an employee in an organisation and the role they would have played in completing any project. It also indicates the leadership and managerial qualities in a student and how good they are in managing assigned tasks.  

Rules to follow for different types of LOR:

Engineering Studies:

A letter of recommendation for an engineering course should highlight the following qualities:

  • Details of your internships and projects.
  • Your communication skills.
  • Details of any national or state-level seminars and competitions that you have won.
  • Knowledge of your subject specialisation.

Management Studies:

A letter of recommendation for a management course, especially an MBA, should highlight the following qualities:

  • Your leadership, team-motivation and managerial skills.
  • In case you have specialised in HR, Marketing or Project Management, the letter should highlight your achievements. This adds value if you have work-experience and the letter is from your team-lead or manager.
  • Career achievements.

Arts and Humanities Studies: 

If you are planning to study a course in arts and humanities, then the letter of recommendation should highlight the following qualities:

  • Your excellent communication skills.
  • Your expertise in the chosen area of study.
  • Your creative ability.
  • Details of your portfolio if applicable.

Are you looking for sample LORs for your abroad studies

 Some key points to be included in an LOR

  • Irrespective of the type of LOR that you need, make sure all the information that you include are factual and really essential.
  • The best person to recommend you would be, besides your faculty and employer, someone who knows you personally and has worked with you. A person who has a good image of you as a student or co-worker or who has mentored or supervised you could also be the right recommender for you.
  • It’s ideal if you spend time explaining the referee which course you aspire to study abroad. Also provide your academic and test scores that you wish to add in the letter.
  • If the institution has prescribed a word limit for the letter, ensure that the referee adheres to the word limit. Ideally the letter should not exceed 400 to 500 words.
  • Any references to achievements or any specific awards should be direct and clear.
  • A big turn-off for institution admission officers is the presence of spelling and grammatical errors. You need to request your referee to take their time and write carefully. Unless the institution mandates that you do not read the letter, take your time and read the letter to see if there are any errors.

 Structure of an ideal LOR

  • A clear salutation and date and city location.
  • A crisp introduction about the referee.
  • The recommendation where your referee recommends you to be admitted to the course of your choice.
  • A quick summary of significant academic achievements, examination scores, talents and skills. If the LOR is a professional one, then it is advisable to include information about your work achievements as well.
  • A concluding paragraph on why your admission to the course abroad will help you achieve your academic and professional ambitions.
  • An important point to note: an LOR is not a copy of your resume or SOP. So it must be distinct from the rest.

As an aspiring study abroad student, what are your suggestions on getting an impressive LOR done from your professor or employer? Do let us know what you think of this article. Also speak to our counsellors who can help you with admissions abroad at reputable institutions.

Need help preparing LOR?

Gunjan Salujavm Gunjan Salujavm,
IDP Expert
We can help you with your letter of recommendation. Get in touch with us today.