Home » APPLICATIONS, Recommendation Letters » Common mistakes in Indian students recommendation letter – Part I


Iam writing this topic in 2 parts.The 1st part invloves 5 generic mistakes we see on recommendation letters from India.I will continue with a 2nd part in my next article.Read on…

1.Choosing your recommenders poorly. Avoid Principal,your college board of directors or investors.Unless your principal took a course and you know him personally very well.Taking recommendion letter from principal who only saw you when walking in aisle is a big mistake.Try to get letters from HOD and professors who took atleast 2-3 courses and can talk about your strengths, communication skills, presentation skills and your ability to work as a team.

2. Writing it for the recommender. Why? Because universities don’t like it. Find a recommender who thinks enough of you to write it him- or herself. .

3. Omitting examples. This is recommendation sin number one. Letters that lack anecdotes or stories to flesh out the recommender’s claims are almost worthless in the admission committee’s eyes.Your professor writes “ Rahul has strong communication  and presentation skills.” will leave suspicion in committees mind about how true the recommender is.An example and explanation followed by this statement will hold water in what you are saying. “Rahul delivered strong communication during my thermal engineering class (TE00043) and was quite evident from the way he posted questions and during class room interactions”.An example would be during thermal engineering class…explain

4. Using vague, generic language. “Rahul is a top performer with a really sharp mind and a winning personality.” This is an empty, uncompelling claim. Universities want substantiated facts that reveal personality and distinctiveness.Tell them how you are distinctive than other students and how you are a winning personality. Explain in detail.

5. Adopting an impersonal, dry “applicant” tone thinking . A professor who continually refers to you as “the student” will sound like he regards you as a mere cog in the college or, worse, can’t recall your name from hundreds of students. Similarly, an entire letter of sentences like “Course work were aligned with Rahul’s short and long term goal” can ruin an enthusiastic letter.

Part 2 to be continued…

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