We have talked enough about the importance of a letter of recommendation to your application abroad. And while getting the format right is important, students need to keep in mind the manner in which a Recommendation Letter (LOR) should be send to universities abroad. This article lists out the basics of sending a Recommendation Letter to Universities Abroad.
Before we start, however, a student needs to understand that the mode of sending an LOR would essentially depend on the University you are applying to. Every University has specifics about the manner in which they need a recommendation letter. However, in case they do not specify (for both online and offline submissions), there are some basics a student must always keep in mind and they are exactly what we would discuss about, starting with the least common and moving with the most common communication formats for recommendation letters.
1. Online Form Submission
These are the easiest to submit and as the name suggests, these are online forms which are to be submitted…with the click of a button. Some Universities provide the students’ listed recommenders a login portal to log in to and answer a few questions about the student. While this form is the easiest to submit, it is often the trickiest recommendation letter format. What needs to be made a note of about in this form is that sometimes a University would also ask the recommender would request a document attached which should be in the right format. Hence, students are always advised to keep the written LORs ready and scanned.
Often Universities require the Recommendation Letters to be sent to the Universities’ Admission Office by the recommenders by their official e-mail ids. It is important to note that the recommender should be provided with the necessary application reference number to mark in the subject of the mails. Also, official email id is important and in case the recommender is unable to provide the same, we often advise the students to choose a right recommender who can provide the same. In strictest terms generic email ids are not accepted by the universities. However, in very few cases, if the recommender can validate the use of a personal email id, it may be accepted. Also, the recommendation letters in this case are scanned pdf files and should accord the basic format of an LOR (complete on the letterhead with the stamp and signatures.)
This continues to be a highly popular format. This is, as the name suggests, the traditional postal system wherein the recommendation letters are collected by the student in sealed envelopes, signed and stamped (though not necessarily in the official envelope but on the official letterheads). The students are required to collect the recommendation letters to the university by courier, along with a cover letter that clearly mentions the course name, application number and all specifics of the recommenders. Please note that copies of recommendation letters are not acceptable and student must have original recommendation letters for all universities. In case the student is applying to three universities that require the LORs by post, the student should ensure getting original LORs in triplicate to be sent to the various universities.
In all the above manners of communication, confidentiality is of utmost importance. Hence, the recommender is either required to directly contact the University admission office or the student must sent the drafts in tamper proof sealed envelopes.
No matter how you send the recommendation letters (LOR), you would be informed by the university the mode and deadlines that should be complied with. At times University might just request you to provide e-mails of the recommenders and send the details directly to them. This, however, is rather limited and recommenders might be instructed to print the filled forms, sign and seal them before handing the same to the student for posting. The directive remains to follow the instructions but it is good to be informed of the various possibilities. Remember, Choose your recommender carefully and you cannot go wrong in that!