What is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)? - Types, Format, Writing Tips

What is a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)? - Types, Format, Writing Tips

8 mins read6.1L Views 89 Comments
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jan 15, 2024 17:48 IST

The Letter of Recommendation or LOR is a document that provides the admission officers with a comprehensive insight into your suitable candidature, for admission into the concerned University.  It aims to provide a favourable picture of your academic performance, strengths, experiences, achievements, contributions, and skills.

Letter of Recommendation

What is a Letter of Recommendation: The Letter of Recommendation or LOR is a document that provides the admission officers with a comprehensive insight into your suitable candidature, for admission into the concerned University. It aims to provide a favourable picture of your academic performance, strengths, experiences, achievements, contributions, and skills communicated by the recommender. This letter is written by people with official authority as well as professional experience which makes them eligible to state why you’re a good fit and vouch for your potential. The person writing the LOR should be known to you.

Types of Letter of Recommendation 

Letters of Recommendation can be broadly classified into two categories based on the nature of the recommender:

Academic LOR

How to get LOR from College: An academic LOR is a letter of recommendation provided by a faculty member of your current or previous educational institution. Usually, universities ask you to provide two or three LORs from your previous institution. This could be your teachers from your school in case of undergraduate courses, and professors from your college in case you are applying for Master's or PhD programs. The Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Format from Faculty often varies in content and requires the professor to highlight the applicant's accomplishments as a student of the course. Often, these are more relevant to MS Colleges Abroad or Bachelor Courses abroad.

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Professional LOR

Most of the MBA Colleges Abroad have pre-defined work experience requirements. Accordingly, they request a Professional Letter of Recommendation from an immediate supervisor. The Professional Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Format from a Supervisor varies from an Academic LOR in terms of some specific content that focuses on the applicant's ability to work within a team, the exposure to the domain as well as his/her leadership abilities, all necessary to the MBA course applied for.

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Why do you need a Letter of Recommendation?

LOR Application: Any student going to study abroad requires an academic letter of recommendation. Irrespective of the course (UG, MS, MBA, or PhD) and country, every student requires at least three letters of recommendation from either their college or professional background. For UG students, LORs can be taken from teachers, professors, school counsellors or the school principal. For MS students, college professors, internship supervisors, or the team lead/ manager from the company they have worked in, can issue recommendation letters. For MBA students, LORs should be purely professional, especially, if they have experience of three years or more. For MBA and PhD aspirants who have recently graduated from college, they can ask for recommendation letters from their college professors, supervisors, or project guides.

How to write a Letter of Recommendation?

What is LOR Letter: Unless specified otherwise, a letter of recommendation is a 400-500 word essay that talks about a candidate's strengths and weaknesses. There are some things you must include in a recommendation letter like the nature of the association as well as the tenure of the association. Apart from that, some basic formats must also be kept in mind.

  • Most universities require this letter to be on the official letterhead.
  • For an Academic LOR, the university's letterhead is required and for a Professional LOR, the letterhead of the company is needed.
  • One thing important to remember in the latter case is that the letterhead should be of the company the recommender is working in. This usually creates a problem if your recommender has moved on to another organization. Hence, the student must know how to choose the right recommender.
  • An important point to be kept in mind is that a LOR is not a repetition of an SOP.
  • An ideal LOR is supposed to demonstrate aspects/perspectives of your personality not mentioned in your SOP or resume. Thus, an ideal recommender is one who knows you well, has personally witnessed the quality of work delivered by you, and has readily agreed to provide specific instances of your valued contribution and excellence.
  • A generic LOR is a strict no-no, as it does not offer much value to your candidature for the program you are applying. Therefore, strong examples form the core of a good LOR.

You must always remember that the Admission Committee peruses through thousands of applications during each intake and yours is one of them. Now, in order to stand out, focus on including your qualities and accomplishments reinforced by real instances. Another important point here is to endeavour to make all your LORs unique and that can be achieved only if you include unique instances, specific to that particular recommender, in each of them. Making an Impressive Letter of Recommendation is as important as writing a winning SOP. Just keep the formats in mind and remember the common mistakes you should avoid in a recommendation letter. The recommendation letters for different courses need to be written accordingly. Here are some examples to help you navigate easily:


LORs for PhD

Sample LOR for MS

LOR Format from Faculty

Sample LOR for UG Courses

LOR from Supervisor

Recommendation Letter Format: Shiksha Guidelines

LOR Application: Out of all the formats and sample LORs available online, one is faced with a dilemma in deciding the right format to choose. As explained above, there are different types of recommendation letters, depending on the course and the recommender. Apart from this, it is also important to pay attention to the formatting and content of the document. To help the students with their application process, Shiksha has its own set of guidelines that expedites this process by advising them about the formatting, format, and hygiene of the document. To know more about it, read Shiksha Guidelines for LOR.

Vocabulary for Writing Letter of Recommendation

Recommended Phases

Recommended Adjectives

I’m pleased to recommend


It has been a pleasure working with


She is a creative problem-solver


He conveys his ideas clearly


Has demonstrated specific strengths in


Timely completion of tasks


Meets the deadline before/on time


Remains calm under pressure


Willing to put in extra effort


Will meet your expectations


Why Are Recommendation Letters Important?

What is LOR Letter: As almost every application necessitates the submission of 2-3 recommendation letters, you must have your recommenders identified and have agreed to prepare your letter well in time. Also, do not underrate the importance of a LOR as it is almost as important as your admission essays, statements of purpose, resume or any other document for that matter. A Letter of Recommendation is a document that provides credibility to your whole profile as a strong support to your profile from experienced and learned professors and persons. Similarly, while choosing the right recommender, you must remember a few key pointers following which you will end up submitting outstanding LORs to the Admission Committee.

Shiksha.com helps students apply to 300 universities worldwide with free SOP/LOR editing services. To know more details and get a free profile evaluation, check out our counselling page.

If you have any queries, drop us a comment below; we'll be happy to help!

Learn to write LORs with the help of videos by university experts

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FAQs for LOR

Q. Any advice on how to request a letter of recommendation?

A. If you are a student, your Professors will be happy and willing to give you a recommendation letter for your admission to universities. However, you might get confused about which professor to ask for a LOR. In such a case, you can ask any Professor with whom you share a good rapport, or your HoD or Project Guide. You will not need much coaxing to get a genuine LOR from them. On the professional front, you can ask your Reporting Manager, Team Lead or Project Lead for a LOR, as they already know you closely. Last, but not least, it is always favourable to be in the good books of your Professors and/or Project Leads/Managers!

Q. What kind of information does the recommender need from me for the LOR?

A. If your recommender is willing to write the LOR himself/herself, then you should provide them with the following data:
  • Your resume (this should contain all your experience in the college/ firm). This will help him/her to remember instances easily and write accordingly.
  • The name of your target university and a link to their website/department website. It is a good idea to share with them the programme and course name as well.
  • Personal characteristics or core competencies that you would like them to talk about (related to the recommender)
  • Specific achievements you would like them to mention or highlight (as viewed by them)

Q. Can a fellow student or colleague write a LOR for me?

A. This is a common misconception but no, a fellow student or your colleague cannot write a Letter of Recommendation for you. A LOR needs to be professional and devoid of any friendly or biased notions. Hence, universities even specify how many letters of recommendation they require from your professional and academic front.

Q. What is the exact format of a LOR?

A. The letter of recommendation should have an opening section, a body and a closing section. In the first part, i.e., the opening part, the purpose of the letter should be written. The relationship between the writer and the candidate and for how long have they known each other should also be stated in the opening para. The next section, the body, will contain candidate-centric information such as his/her strengths, problem-solving abilities, leadership qualities, special work targets met, and about his/her personality. In the closing section, the writer will write about why he recommends the candidate in a crisp and clear manner.
About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio





3 months ago

I would like to know where and how to apply for BCA job abroad for freshers on my own since no consultant are answering me properly.Mam please help out.

Reply to Kajol


Sneha Meenu

7 months ago

How can I get admission under 4 Lacs abroad

Reply to Sneha Meenu



a year ago

Hi mam , do you grant us with study plan as well . Then do tell me for mba

Reply to Shrasthi

Hello Shrasthi. Can be please elaborate what kind of study plan are you talking about?


Deepak babbar

a year ago

Hi mam maine BA IGNOU board se ki hai toh University LOR provide nhi krti so abh kya kyu

Reply to Deepak babbar

Hello Deepak. We advise you to reach out to your university administration authorities in order to get your issue resolved.


Reply to Legally Manisha

Hello Legally Manisha. Please check out our list of law colleges in New Zealand, here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/new-zealand/masters-of-law-colleges-cl The admission requirements for all of these colleges may vary. You are suggested to visit the official websites of these universities and che