Recommendation letters are normally required to be submitted by almost all applicants at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level. Recommendations play a key role within the decision-making process. An applicant might complete his application carefully, could have done his Statement of Purpose/Essays well, but if the recommenders do not provide a good insight on the applicant, it is most likely that he or she would be rejected for admission into good universities throughout the world. Hence, a strong and appropriate recommendation by the right people makes or breaks an applicant!

Who should recommend?

Depending upon the level of study, recommendations could be made by,

  • For admission at the Bachelor’s level – Lecturers, who has taught the student in key subjects or specializations and has a good insight on the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant.
    A principal or head of the institution, who may or may not have taught the student directly. Since classes 11thand 12thare taught in smaller colleges mainly, some heads do teach the wards and/or knows the student (the applicant) well. Their recommendation will be useful.
  • For admission at the Master’s level – Professors/Teachers could provide their insights into the academic performance, co and extra-curricular activities of the applicant.
    Guides, who have supervised the student in their project work, within the college or an institution could also provide an effective recommendation since that reflects on the practical skills of the applicant in a perceived work-place.
  • It is important not to seek a recommendation from the head of institution in such cases since the head may not be aware of applicant who is one among several hundred/thousand students of his college/university. In case of applicants who have work experience, it is best to seek at least one or two academic recommendations from the college/university and one from either the immediate supervisor or the overall ‘boss’ in the work place. However, if there is a huge gap between college and the present application, most appropriate recommenders could be the supervisors and the applicant’s peer, who will have the opportunity of observing the applicant as a team member within the organization.
  • For admission at the Doctoral level and beyond – Strong academic recommendations coupled with work-place supervisors form the key recommenders. More than for any level, doctoral applicants are heavily dependent on recommendations for admission.