Tips on Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation
January 18, 2019
It is a situation where many students find themselves when they address to a person with a request to write a letter of recommendation, but that person tells them to write it themselves. Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Have you felt confused? No worries, you are lucky to have an opportunity of writing an outstanding letter of recommendation for yourself.
A good letter of recommendation provides specific stories and details that cannot otherwise be found in the rest of the application, concentrates on your abilities to succeed in the chosen major, and compares you to other pre-meds. So think now, does anyone know you better than you do? No, in no way. Therefore, by giving you a chance to write the letter on your own, your letter writer is providing you with an opportunity to make it outstanding. This article will help you with the basics.
Clean and correct formatting can be compared to dressing up for a job interview. It is the formatting that creates the first impression, therefore it has to look appropriate for this kind of paper without being too flashy. It is important to stay consistent in formatting style and present the information streamlined.
It is recommended to follow a traditional formal letter template. Ensure to provide the contact information in the upper right. Due to the reason that you are probably going to submit this same letter to several schools, avoid addressing it to the school directly. So you can use a simple “To the admissions committee,” as well as “To whom it may concern.” To conclude the letter, use phrases as “Kind regards” or “Sincerely.”
In this paragraph, tell the reader how long the person who is supposed to write the letter has known you. Also, do not forget to describe every title and responsibility held by both parties in the relationship. This paragraph should end with some kind of thesis which highlights a couple of personal characteristics that prove you are the best candidate for school.
Make sure to maintain a plain, semi-formal tone. Try to limit this paragraph to 5-6 lines. Avoid cliché openers such as “It is an honor to recommend...”, as well as generalized descriptors like hard-working, smart, diligent, etc.
Paragraphs 2, 3, and (maybe) 4
Make sure to support your words with quantitative and qualitative examples of personal characteristics that you have mentioned in the first paragraph. Anecdotes and specific examples are always apposite in this type of paper. It would be perfect if each paragraph was focused on one characteristic at a time. Ensure to make transitions between paragraphs precise and brief. It is also a good idea to pair personal accomplishments with valuable team roles.
The Concluding Paragraph
Shortly repeat the characteristics which make you stand out as a candidate. Unreservedly prove what makes you different or extraordinary. You can also include a bit of sentimentality or personal touch. This section should be short (not more than 4 lines).
When the Draft Is Ready
By now, your draft is probably proofread several times. You probably have worries about sounding haughty and spurious. But here is the thing: if you read this paper once again and think that you would never describe yourself that way, then you have definitely succeeded. This letter is not supposed to sound like you, as it is not actually supposed to be written by you!
Remember that the recommender allowed you to write it yourself, so do not hesitate to laud your own efforts. You should write a letter of recommendation the same way as if you would write this paper for another person you admire. Moreover, if the recommender has any issue with your writing, he/she will suggest certain edits or change it themselves. Also, when you pass your draft along to the recommender, make sure to demonstrate your gratitude, tell them it was quite complicated work and that you are open to any alterations if needed. Good luck!