• lecturer
  • tutor
  • mentor
  • co worker
  • employer
  • project manager
  • N.G.O founder or boss


In all sincerity, trying to get a L.O.R is like trying to woo a lady. You need ample time for it. You don’t expect yourself to grab a referee from the street and tell him to write a LOR for you. Personally, I prefer one on one meetings initially to email, phone calls or text messages.

  • Schedule an appointment with your potential referee.
  • Inform him about the programme you want to apply for and the school. Tell him about your career ambitions and dreams. Inform him that you will like him to be your mentor if he has the chance. Bring along print outs of the school and programme for him to read and also a guide on how to write a letter of recommendation offered by the school or program.

You can try to say something like;

Your class made me pay more attention to biochemistry, you showed us how molecules interact and beyond that, you have primed us to dream big. I feel like I have come to know you well and you are one of the reasons for my good performance in the biochemistry class. In line with this, I want to pursue a career in molecular biology. I would be honoured if you can write a compelling and strong letter of recommendation for me.  However, I understand that you are very busy and you may not have the time. Thank you very much.

  • Bring along a copy of your CV and transcript. Go with a sample and a draft of your LOR in case he requests for one. It is always good to be over prepared but make sure all the documents are not too bulky so they won’t scare him away.
  • On your end, obtain his institutional email and personal email, phone number, contact details and inform him that he would get an email from the school or programme at a prefixed time when you input his details. Offer to send him reminder emails and phone messages so he would have you in mind
  • Appreciate him before leaving his office and promise to check on him frequently.
  • Send him an email or/and a message.


The details and the process: when is the dead line? The length of the L.O.R. How would it be submitted? Your values, attributes, dreams and aspirations

However, if you intend to write to request for one either through email or snail mail, the format below can be used.



Professor x

I am xxxxxxx. I took your criminal law class last semester. You may remember me as the student that frequently approached you at the end of the class to ask clarifying questions. Criminal law was a particularly interesting subject for me because prior to the class I had little interest in criminal law till I met you and I am ecstatic of the grade I got.

I am about to apply to xxxxxxx and I would be delighted to have you as one of my referees to provide me with a strong letter of recommendation.

I would be delighted to meet with you face to face at a time of your choosing. I have attached my personal statement, resume and other documents I feel is necessary.

If you don’t feel comfortable writing me a strong letter of recommendation, please don’t feel obliged to write one for me.

Thank you in anticipation of your favourable answer

Yours faithfully