LOR Samples – Write Effective LOR with LOR Format

lor samples

Before we go into the minute details of the Letter of Recommendation or a LOR, it is necessary to understand the meaning of the letter, who it is for, and how to write one. Going through LOR samples can also help you understand the structure, format, flow, and content of the document.

A LOR is written to validate and appreciate a candidateā€™s skills, work, and other professional virtues relevant to their field. It is addressed to an admissions officer at an educational institution or the prospective employer who wants to know about your personal experiences with the person you are recommending for admission or employment. It describes the candidateā€™s academic or professional achievements and work ethics, and is generally written by a former employer, colleague, teacher, professor, or client. The qualities and strengths that make the candidate a good fit are discussed in this letter.

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Who Needs LOR and Why do They Need It?

An applicant planning to study at a foreign university will require a LOR irrespective of the course, institution, or country. Every student needs at least two or three LORs from their professors or teachers, or a previous employer, as a part of their admissions portfolio. For high school graduates, LORs can be obtained from the teachers, school counselors, or the principal, besides heads of organizations that the students have volunteered for, or been a part of, for their extracurricular activities.

For students wishing to pursue MS, the letters are issued by college professors, internship supervisors, or managers from their last place of employment. You will find the general structure and tone of these from the LOR samples for MS included in this article.

As for the question of ā€œWhy do they need it?ā€, the answer is simple. The Western universities prefer students with holistic qualities along with their exam scores. These qualities are not easily noticeable from the academic transcripts and admission forms. So, to be able to choose candidates who can contribute positively to the community, it is essential to understand the impressions they have left on their former teachers, employers, or head of institutes. Additionally, it helps universities pick aspirants from the thousands who apply each year.

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Types of LORs

The LORs are broadly classified into two categories based on the nature of the person recommending:

1. Academic Letter of Recommendation

This is provided by a teacher or professor from the last institute attended by the student. It highlights their academic performance and achievements. Universities usually require applicants to produce two to three such letters.

2. Professional Letter of Recommendation

Most MBA colleges abroad request a professional Letter of Recommendation based on their work experience. The applicantā€™s immediate supervisor is generally the one to write this letter. Unlike an academic Letter of Recommendation, it is focused on the candidateā€™s adaptability in team projects, his leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and expertise in his specific domain.

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Basic Format of an LOR

A LOR is written in multiple paragraphs that discuss the studentā€™s qualifications, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. A standard LOR is broken into three sections and can be divided into five paragraphs. We have listed the break-up of the LOR format for students below:

1. Paragraph one: Introduction

2. Paragraph Two ā€“ four: Information about the applicantā€™s qualities and skills

3. Paragraph Five: Conclusion

Within this format, the person recommending should ideally include his/her introduction, mentioning interactions with the candidate and his/her relation to them, an overview of their performance & general attributes, a personal story relevant to the professional relationship, and a closing statement offering an insight into the recommendation. The signature at the end should include the necessary details for communication.

LOR Samples for Students

Here is a compilation of LOR samples for undergraduate students and a few LOR templates for a masterā€™s degree.Ā 

LOR Sample for UG Admissions

This is generally written by high school teachers, principals, and heads of organizations where the student has volunteered or been a part of. Here are a few samples:

This is a sample of a LOR written by the Head of the School.

As the Headmistress of the Senior Secondary Section, School, City, I have known (name of the student) to be one of the brightest students both in academics and his/her extracurricular activities. (Student Name) first gained admission in our school in 2007 and has left a positive impression on all the faculty members and me. I have also had the opportunity to teach him Physics in his twelfth standard. Based on my observation in class and my interaction with him/her, I can classify him as one of the most diligent and sincere students I have had the opportunity to teach. He has consistently performed to the best of his ability and shown exceptional merit in all his subjects throughout his tenure at school.

(Student Name) exudes self-confidence and has constantly demonstrated a strong sense of dedication towards his/her studies. He/ She has always played an active part in classroom discussions and has engaged in brainstorming sessions at our school. (Student Name)ā€™s belief that ideas sprout from brainstorming has led him/her to always initiate such debate and conferences thus creating a vibrant learning environment for the entire class. He/ She along with his/her five-member team even set up an innovative platform where students can post and share academic problems and solutions. This platform led to an increase in the direct interaction between the teachers and students and inculcated a healthier learning environment at school.Ā 

Besides excelling at academics, (Student Name) garners immense interest in sports, especially basketball, and has captained the school team at various inter-school events and competitions. His/her leadership skills and dedication to his/her team have earned the school many accolades over the years. And we are immensely proud to call him/her our own.

To conclude, I would just like to emphasize (Student Name)ā€™s penchant for achieving excellence in everythingĀ  he/she undertakes and I sincerely believe that he/she is one of the ideal candidates for pursuing a course of his/her choice at your esteemed university. Here, I extend my wholehearted recommendation for his/her candidature for admission into the undergraduate program. I am available for answering any further queries that you might have.

I wish him/her all the best for his/her future endeavors.




School, City

Contact and Email Id.


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LOR Samples for MS Students

This is generally written by college professors, internship supervisors, or immediate superiors at the workplace.

The following sample is a LOR for a student applying for MS by a college professor.

It gives me immense pleasure to write this reference letter in favor of (Candidate Name) who is aspiring to pursue the masterā€™s in science program at your university. I have known (Candidate Name) as his professor for over three years now. I taught him the courses of ‘Module Name’, ‘Module Name, ā€˜Module Nameā€™ and ā€˜Module Nameā€™, in the second, third, fourth, and sixth semesters, respectively.

Based on my observations, I would like to highlight that (Candidate Name) is a sincere student, who dedicates his/her total attention to his academics and strives to improve wherever necessary. His positive attitude towards learning and curiosity for the new puts him/her ahead of his peers.

Throughout his tenure at this institute, (Candidate Name) has shown a keen interest in learning from practical projects and techniques. He/she has engaged in intense research related discussions and debates and has chosen significantly complex topics for his specialization papers. Through these processes, he has gained valuable knowledge that he will be able to implement in his career ahead.

Alongside his academic performance, (Candidate Name) has portrayed great enthusiasm in inter-college competitions and tournaments, and has never missed a chance to win the institute its glory. He/she has invariably been an active member of academic clubs and associations and worked rigorously to implement changes that have aided not only fellow students but also the institution in general.

I can assure you that (Candidate Name) will continue his efforts in being a valuable part of the student body at your esteemed university, and simultaneously shine as an individual.

I would like to express my deepest personal and professional admiration for him/her and truly believe that (Candidate Name) will add a lot of value to his environment through his/her vibrant energy, hard working attitude, and passion. Thus, I extend my endorsement for his/her admission into the program he/she chooses to pursue at your university. I am happy to answer any questions which might help you in making a decision.

Yours sincerely,

Full name:


College, City

Contact No:

E-mail ID:

LOR Samples for MS in CS

Although the basic tone and structure of the LOR samples for MS in CS remain the same as the one drafted above, there are a few specific details that might have more impact when writing about a candidate pursuing a Computer Science Specialization. It is advised to highlight the following technical skills:

1. The programming languages known by the candidate

2. Occasions where the candidates displayed coding skills

3. Particular projects the candidate worked on

4. In-depth knowledge of apps

5. Apps or platforms created/developed

LOR Sample for MS in Mechanical Engineering

Similar to key areas highlighted in the LOR for MS in CS, the following qualities may be included in the LOR for a student wishing to pursue MS in Mechanical Engineering:

1. Knowledge of a range of professional tools

2. Teamwork and adaptability

3. Design knowledge

4. Expertise in analytical concepts

5. Technical know-how

6. Problem-solving skills, etc.

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LOR Sample for MS in Civil Engineering

Now, for a student who desires to opt for MS in Civil Engineering, the LOR should ideally throw light on qualities such as:

1. Critical Thinking and curiosity

2. A flair for innovation and creativity

3. Understanding of design and materials

4. Ability to manage projects

5. Possessing an eye for detail

6. Problem-solving skills

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LOR Sample for MS in Electrical Engineering

The LOR for students aspiring to take up MS in Electrical Engineering must accentuate attributes such as:

1. An in-depth idea of circuit design and schematics

2. Knowledge of various software and applications

3. Analytical and logical reasoning

4. Organization skills

5. Complex problem-solving skills

LOR Sample for MS in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE)

To draft the LOR for a student who wants to pursue an MS in Electronics and Communication Engineering, following attributes should be highlighted:

1. Efficiency

2. Awareness about the recent trends

3. In-depth knowledge and interest in technology

4. IT and communication skills

5. Time managementĀ 

LOR Sample for an MBA degree

While writing an LOR for a student applying for an MBA at a university abroad, following are the attributes that should be highlighted:

1. The studentā€™s academic credentials

2. Applicantā€™s purpose or end goals for applying for MBA

3. Accentuate relevant experience gathered by the candidate that proves his critical thinking, analytical, leadership and communication skills.

4. How his previous academic experience makes him eligible for an MBA program.

Most universities offering MS courses require the applicants to have some amount of work experience before they pursue their masterā€™s programs. The letter of recommendation for MS from employers must speak of the candidateā€™s adaptability in a challenging work environment,Ā  efficiency in solving problems, competence to deliver on time, and willingness to work as a part of a team. Mentioning a positive attitude, good communication skills, and charming personality also helps elevate the candidateā€™s chances of being considered.Ā 

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Mistakes to Avoid in a LOR

A Letter of Recommendation can make or break a studentā€™s chance of studying abroad. So if you have been requested to write one such document, it is your responsibility to do so with utmost care and honesty.Ā 

Please avoid the following commonly made mistakes:

1. Being unoriginal

The most common trap to fall into is plagiarism and copy-pasting one LOR for multiple institutions or candidates.

2. Using politically incorrect statements

It is important to be considerate of sensitive topics and steer clear of issues that might instigate negative reactions.

3. An informal tone

You must keep in mind that the letter is entirely professional and maintaining decorum in language and structure is highly advised.

4. Lack of relevant information and facts

Do not forget to keep your letter to the point, mentioning the candidateā€™s attributes that matter in the admissions procedure for a specific course.

5. Dishonesty and exaggeration

While it may seem like a good idea to draw up a rosy image of the candidate, it should be understood that admissions officers at reputed universities are seasoned to judge such letters for their worth.

In conclusion, a lot of a candidateā€™s prospects at an educational institute depend on a well-written LOR. Besides the academic performance and a Statement of Purpose, universities abroad put a lot of emphasis on the Letter of Recommendation by professionals who have been an integral part of the candidateā€™s tenure at school/college. Hence, it should be written with honesty, care, and attention. Studying abroad can open up a world of opportunities for a candidate, and an impressive set of LORs helps them achieve their goals. You can head to upGrad Abroad to learn about the wonderful opportunities that come with higher education from top universities in countries like the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia.Ā 

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Tips for Writing a good LOR

A letter of recommendation will serve as a validation of your hard work and knowledge by a former co-worker or educator. It can also be something which can provide a third person insight into your personal attributes, knowledge and skills. If the recommender can justify your candidature with relevant anecdotes and incidents, then students with less GRE scores can also make it to the top foreign universities. Since the letter of recommendation is imperative in getting admission at an educational institution, let us understand how one can draft an attractive LOR.

1. Select your recommender wisely

Before drafting your LOR, it is essential to make sure that the person who will be recommending you is well acquainted with you. Also, the post of the person who is recommending you adds credibility to your application. If you are a student, then an LOR from the Head of the Department will be more useful than a junior professor. If you have an internship experience, then an LOR from an internship mentor will also add value to your candidature. If you are a working professional, then an LOR from the head of your division or department will add weightage to your application.Ā 

2. Customize a different letter for each recommendation

While the letter of recommendation template can be the same, draft a new letter for every recommendation. Each letter should have a personalized account of the candidateā€™s accomplishments and achievements.Ā 

3. Review the resume and highlight the important themes

Reviewing the resume will help to get an overview of the background of their professional or academic experiences. This would help you to highlight goals and strengths in the LOR. An institution does not want to know every good thing about the candidate. The LOR should endorse the most marketable asset of the candidate which can prove their dedication to the field.Ā 

4. Prepare the LOR in sync with the job description or admission criteria

Review the job description or the admission criteria of a university and include the language which meets the specific requirements for the position.Ā 

5. Use anecdotes

A good letter of recommendation is not only about listing the already mentioned information of the resume. While the letter of recommendation template can be kept the same, using narratives and anecdotes is a great way to communicate how the candidate has sailed through difficulties earlier in life. Quantifying the candidateā€™s strength by ranking them in comparison to other batchmates or colleagues will also prove their integrity and ethics.Ā 

6. Construct the sentences in active voice

To make your LOR more powerful, construct the sentences in active voice instead of passive. This would make your LOR more crisp and concise.Ā 

7. Organize the LOR well

A properly organized LOR will include information about how the recommender knows the candidate. Start with a salutation, followed by an introduction which includes an assessment of the candidate in two to three paragraphs, summary, and conclusion.Ā 

Skills to be highlighted in LOR

A person might possess a lot of skill sets that need to be highlighted while recommending. However, it is difficult to include so many traits in a one-page document. Therefore, more care should be taken as to which skills will be included in the LOR. The letter of recommendation for MS and that for a professional endeavor differs. Here’s a list of the skills that can be highlighted in a LOR.Ā Ā 

For an academic LOR

  • Academic performance
  • Teamwork skills
  • Passion
  • Leadership ability
  • Awards and recognition
  • Analytical research skills

For a professional LORĀ 

  • Summary of job responsibilities
  • Decision-making skills
  • Time management and multitasking
  • Management abilities and strengths
  • Ability to come up with creative and innovativeĀ  ideas
  • Ability to overcome challenges
  • Teamwork skills
  • Leadership ability
  • Qualities of integrity and reliability

LOR GuidelinesĀ 

A letter of recommendation should provide the admission committee with a detailed insight about the applicant. There are a lot ofĀ letters of recommendation for students samples available online, which stick to a few guidelines that should be followed to make the LOR concise and attractive.Ā 

  • The recommender should talk about their relationship with the candidate.
  • Choose someone as your recommender with whom you have worked closely and who thinks positively about your accomplishments.Ā 
  • Assist the recommender in drafting the LOR by providing accurate data sources that are required.
  • Make sure there is no sentence structure blunder and instead of sounding like an advocate furnish details about the candidate which would prove their suitability for the program.Ā 
  • Avoid mentioning the marks scored in any competitive test as it is already mentioned in the application.
  • Try to keep the LOR within one page from 500-600 words.Ā 
  • Avoid adding any sensitive or private information about the candidate unless it is relevant.
  • Highlight what positive changes you wish to bring and how you will make unique contributions to the institution.Ā 
  • Make sure that you send the LOR to the college/university/organization much before the cut-off time.Ā 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can a fellow student or colleague write a LOR for me?

A. No, a Letter of Recommendation must exclusively come from a qualified person. The designation of the person recommending the candidate is scrutinized by universities, and having it written by anyone else may jeopardize the admission process.

Q2. What kind of information does the recommender need from the candidate for the LOR?

A. A recommender will be required to gather all relevant information about the candidate before they can start writing a LOR. Here are some of the key facts to keep handy:

1) Personal details and contact information of the candidate

2) Details of the university and course being chosen

3) Name, title, organization of the person being addressed in the letter

4) Goals, aspirations, and future plans

5) A draft of the Statement of Purpose and other relevant documents.

6) A reminder of the interactions between the recommender and the candidate.

7) A tentative date for submission

Q3. How are LOR and SOP different?

A. While a LOR is a 500-600 word letter written by a referee, SOP contains 800-1000 words and is written by the applicant itself. A lot of universities ask for an SOP to understand the individual and they have to talk about their short-term and long-term goals, their passion, and how the university can help them in achieving them. Whereas a LOR requires the furnishing of more technical skills possessed by the candidate which makes them a perfect fit for the position they are seeking.

Q4. What is the ideal word count of a LOR?

A. The requirements for word count for a LOR differ from one university to another. While some demand a 300-400 word LOR, some institutions accept up to 600 words LOR. Ideally, it is better not to exceed more than a page for the LOR which can be kept around 500 words.

Q5. How does a LOR vary across countries?

A. The requirements for a LOR vary across various universities and countries and students should verify every information before submitting it. They vary as per the requirements in terms of the number of LORs that need to be submitted, types, letter of recommendation template, and the submission guidelines.

Q6. Is there any expiry of letter of recommendation?

A. Unless there are any specific instructions on the description of the program or position, an LOR is valid for a duration of 12 months. Though there is no expiry of an LOR, a lot of employers do not prefer letters more than 18 months old.

Q7. How to write LOR for MS?

A. You can refer to any letter of recommendation sample for MS before drafting it. It should include anecdotes of the things you did instead of just listing your skills. Instead of simply saying that you have good research skills, it should highlight the research skills you have worked on. However, while writing a letter of recommendation for MS with work experience, your senior can talk about your work ethics, leadership and teamwork skills, and how you overcame obstacles at your workplace.

Q8. How to write a letter of recommendation for a student?

A. To write a letter of recommendation for a student, start with a personalized introduction where you talk about the studentā€™s educational background. Then the recommender explains their relationship with the student. Lastly, end your letter of recommendation on a positive note and keep the sentences concise.

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