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List of Common Mistakes to Avoid in a LOR

Updated on 21 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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The LOR or Letter of Recommendation provides a complete insight into a student’s candidature to the admission officers of a college/university. It presents a favorable picture of an applicant’s achievements, experience, relevant contributions, and skills in front of admission officers. The LOR is an important requirement for any student going to study abroad. Be it an undergraduate course, MBA, MS, or PhD, at least three recommendation letters are required from college/university teachers or managers if the candidate was employed. However, referees often make mistakes while writing LORs which should be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid in a LOR.

Read More: Letter of recommendation (LOR) format

Copying the LOR from the internet

Copy-pasting from sample LORs on the internet may seem like an easy and convenient idea but it can have an adverse effect on the applicant’s offer letter.

Going for the wrong referee

The referee cannot be any random person and needs to be well-qualified. The person has to know the student well and should be able to write the reference properly. A random referee will do more harm than good.

Repeating the resume or SOP

The LOR should not look like a copy of the SOP or resume. Doing so can hinder the admission process and can even cancel it. It should give a clear idea of the candidate’s personality so that the admission officer can know the person without meeting him/her. Therefore, if the facts and figures mentioned in the LOR are the same as the resume, it will give out an impression that the referee didn’t know the candidate well.

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Not maintaining protocol

Certain protocols must be followed strictly. For example, the LOR has to be typed and not handwritten. Also, it should be typed under the university letterhead. The document should be delivered in a sealed envelope. Not doing these can affect the authenticity of the letter.

Missing out on relevant information

The referee should have sufficient information about the student before drafting a LOR. The resume and SOP can also be used for reference. Students can keep a word document ready with all the necessary information for the referee.

Hasty writing

The referee should have enough time to write the Letter of Recommendation. Writing it in a rush can lead to missing out on important and relevant information. Students should also have a list of backup referees ready. This will save them the trouble in case a primary referee is unavailable. 

Read More: Effective ways to write a LOR using LOR Samples

Spelling errors

Spelling errors or grammatical errors can actually hamper all the effort in the LOR. It can make the admission officer doubt the credibility of the referee. Therefore, the recommendation letter must be checked as many times as possible to remove any spelling or grammatical mistakes.


Using politically inappropriate language

The referee has to be extremely careful about the kind of words or language being used in the LOR. Some words or phrases can unintentionally hurt emotions. Therefore, students must cross-check the letter several times before sending it.

Read More: Letter of Recommendation for Masters

A very short letter

Making the LOR too short is a crucial mistake. An apt LOR should be a page long or around 600 words. Referees must also follow the specifications mentioned by the universities. Some of them specify the word limit for the LOR. While it is recommended to include more details in the letter, each piece of information should be relevant and on point. A short LOR could mean that the referee has written it unwillingly. However, one has to keep it crisp, easily understandable, and catchy for the reader. Therefore, it will not bore the reader even if it is long. 

These are some of the most common mistakes that referees for aspirants who want to study abroad make. However, avoiding them only makes things easier and simpler for the student by creating a positive impression.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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