What is a Letter of Recommendation for International Student?

One of the many parts usually required by graduate schools for international students seeking graduate degrees is at least one letter of recommendation.

  • Usually, schools prefer that these letters are written by people who have firsthand knowledge of your experience in the field you wish to study, but the main point of the letters of recommendation is so the school can gain a clearer understanding of who you are as a person and your character.
  • Letters of recommendation in this sense serve a similar function as the statement of purpose – they both speak to your character. This includes, but is not limited to, former teachers, bosses, supervisors, and mentors.
  • However, the title of the letter writer does not always matter – typically, the substance of the letter and how it speaks to your personal character is the most important aspect.

Normally, the application package for the degree and/or program at your desired school will tell you how many letters of recommendation they require.

  • However, it is strongly recommended that you contact the admissions office for your desired program to find out what the required number is.
  • Sometimes, there is no definite number, but a range.
  • For example, one degree program might list that they require two to five letters.
  • It is important to remember that in instances like this, by no means do you have to scramble to find five people to write letters for you.
  • Another question to ask regarding the number of letters of recommendation is if they require a certain amount of professional letters and/or academic letters.
  • A professional letter is one written by someone who has firsthand knowledge of work you have performed, such as a boss.
  • An academic letter is one written by someone who has firsthand knowledge of your academic career, such as a former professor.
  • The quality of the letters usually matters much more than the quantity of the letters you submit.
  • For example, it might seem great to have the president of your school write you a letter, but if that person does not know you well, then the quality of the letter will likely fall.

Also, it is suggested that you find some examples of strong letters of recommendation to give to the person writing your letter so that they have a better idea of your expectations.

  • Make sure to communicate effectively with them so that they have a proper of understanding of what you expect from the letter they are writing.
  • If you don’t want to directly give your writer samples, you can always find some yourself and then create your own sample to best fit your own needs.
  • The following link will provide a place for you to start your sample search if you so wish.

A common question that international students ask regarding letters of recommendation is if their letter needs to be translated to English.

  • Typically, if your country’s native language is not English, then the chances are high that your writer does not speak or write English.
  • It is suggested that you contact your desired admissions office to see if they require that your letter(s) be translated from your language into English.
  • Some may ask that you translate the letter yourself, or some schools may say that they will translate it. It all depends on the school and program, so it is strongly suggested that you reach out to the office of admissions to find out their preference.

It is also suggested that you strongly proofread the finished letter. Check for spelling and grammatical errors. A clean letter always looks better than one riddled with errors. It is important to remember that if you did make some changes after proofreading it, give the finalized version back to the writer so that they can have the final word of approval if any changes were made.

If you have any questions about the application process to study in the U.S. or questions about international student loan options for your education in the U.S. please visit us at www.nomadcredit.com. We’d be happy to help you search and compare options for education loans or study loans, too. Please send us an email at help@nomadcredit.com if you have any questions! We are happy to help.

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