The Chief Technical officer,

Hybrid genetic establishment,

Akure, Ondo State.

Dear Sir,


Mr. Onuigbo, a computer science graduate of the University of Lagos is applying for the post of a research assistant in your institution and I feel strongly obliged to recommend him.

Mr. Onuigbo is a well-known personality to me. I taught and examined him in computer programming languages and network management and I found him to be cool headed, intelligent, serious minded, purposeful, highly focused and determined. He is equally well organized, efficient, and honest and has an excellent rapport with people of all ages. His communication skills, both written and verbal are excellent. All these outstanding qualities culminated to numerous awards he obtained as the “best” in many disciplines.

I hereby strongly recommend Mr. Onuigbo for the position of an intern at your establishment. He promises to be an asset.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Martin-Cole

Professor of computer science.

Have you ever wondered while despite a perfect application, straight A’s transcript, a personal statement to die for, you sometimes still receive a rejection offer or don’t get considered at all?  The fault may be with your letter of recommendation. Let’s put it this way, if you were the head of a top notch recruiting firm or an admissions committee and you get a letter from someone in your field (cult) endorsing a particular student in fact, going on to say this is going to be the best student you will ever have because he is this and that, won’t you want to have a “sit down” with that candidate?


  • Most of the prospective writers in developing countries, like you are not familiar with the pattern of the letter of recommendation required by foreign schools. They would end up writing one as terrible as the sample above.
  • Most of your prospective writers are usually busy and may not be able to create time to write one within a short notice.
  • the L.O.R should exemplify your traits and not just list them for example, instead of saying X is hard working, it should give an example where you demonstrated that you were hardworking for example

“It is common to see X stay up for extra hours after my tutorials going over the material I just thought and the one for the next day. This makes him equipped to ask research based questions, and provide answers to seemingly tough questions. In my years of teaching, X is one of the few people I have met that still practices the dying art of hard work.”

The difference is evident, the latter shows that the writer genuinely knows the candidate on a very personal level and not just because he was coerced to write a letter of recommendation.

  • It is also important for your L.O.R to say a few things about your weaknesses, you can’t be that perfect, no one is. However make sure your weakness is not one that directly interferes with the selection criteria. You cannot list “inability to study as a weakness, no one would accept you.”
  • The writer should introduce himself and state his position, including his experience. If the writer has recommended previous scholars, this is also the time to mention this.
  • Some schools require that, individual scores are listed as part of the body of the letter of recommendation or/and your percentile in your class and the total amount of students.
  • Most schools would send a link to your referee, where he may have to fill a short questionnaire, scan a letter headed L.O.R and upload it. Many schools allow you to track the progress of your L.O.R.
  • You can submit your application without your L.O.R but it won’t be processed without at least two out of three letters of recommendation.
  • You may need the institutional email address of your referees. This means an email given to them by the tertiary institution or the organization where they work. Make sure they have a functioning one. You also need the phone numbers, mailing address, office address of your referees.

There are three categories of people that get helped by a letter of recommendation

  • Borderline students
  • Competitive students at top colleges
  • Top students who are being considered for scholarship opportunities