Study Abroad Application: Is LOR Important for Study Abroad Applications?

4 minute read

Are you a study abroad aspirant? Or an early-stage professional mapping your career journey? Then you surely know what a LOR is! A Letter of Recommendation (or Letter of Reference) is a pre-arranged document written by a trusted ‘referee’ on behalf of a candidate. A LOR is attached to the application along with a CV, Personal Essay, Mark sheets etc. But do you know : 

  • What are the different kinds of LORs? 
  • Why is the LOR important for study abroad applications? 
  • Does LOR matter for job applications? 
  • Who can write a LOR? 
  • What should LOR say for my study abroad application? 
  • How to get an amazing LOR for my job

These are the top FAQs I get in my mentoring sessions about career guidance. At the outset let me say that I know from experience that LORs matter! When someone requests me for a LOR, their request is an expression of their trust and respect for my assessment. As a senior professor at international universities, I have written LORs for the past 20 years Based on these FAQs and my own international experience, I am writing two Blogs about LOR as an important part of Applications.  This is Part 1.  Now, let’s begin!

Here is Part 2 on how can you get an Amazing LOR for your Job Application!!

What are the Objectives of a LOR

  1. The objective of a LOR is to provide a third-party assessment of the candidate so that the recruiter can place it alongside the CV or the Personal Essay and get a holistic picture of the candidate. 
  2. The LOR vouchers for certain abilities of the candidate which the referee knows from personal interaction. This helps the reviewer /recruiter to determine if the candidate would be a good fit for the job or the university.  

What are the Different Kinds of LORs? 

There are two kinds of LORs : 

  • Academic: for students who are seeking admissions to universities or applying for funding and scholarships.
  • Employmentrelated: Where you are an applicant for a job. 

What is the Difference Between an Academic LOR and an Employment LOR

The focus in each case is different. 

  • The Academic LOR needs to focus on key points in a student’s educational journey to show what they have scored and achieved and how they aspire to build on that foundation by applying for the next degree program or PhD. Or a post-Doctoral fellowship. 
  • In short, Academic LOR should focus on you the student as a Learner who is intellectually curious and can absorb knowledge and apply it to make an impact in your future work—for an organization or society.  
  • An Employment LOR on the other hand focuses on the candidate as a professional: their ability to implement strategies or projects, their commitment to the company and its mission, their work habits, sense of responsibility and most importantly their work ethic and ability to work in harmony with the team.

Also Read: Study Abroad Application: Basic Timelines and Documents

Does LOR Matter for University Admissions or Job Applications? 

Yes, the LORs matter – a lot! I know from my international experience as a faculty that LORs are read carefully by the Admissions office. In professional situations also, the LORs count – both in terms of WHO is your referee and what they say about the candidate. For recruiters, the CV tells them whether a candidate is qualified to do the job, whereas, the LORs helps them to decide whether the candidate would be a good fit for the culture of the company. 

Who can Write a LOR

Anyone who has a good understanding of the candidate and their abilities can write the LOR. They need to be:

  • Familiar with the candidate’s academic or professional journey. 
  • Supportive of the candidate: They should be willing to think about how to compose the LOR and include specific incidents which show the abilities of the candidate.
  • Even if they have not known the candidate for a long time, they can be provided with a CV so they can refer to their previous academic journey or job experience. 
  • Reliable: The referee should be trustworthy in that they will respect application deadlines and submit the LOR within the timeline.

Tip: An LOR from your Professor, Project Guide, Reporting Manager or Supervisor counts much more than from someone ‘important’ who does not know a candidate’s abilities.

Your LOR matters! For your study abroad application or an application for a job or scholarship, take time and carefully consider who will write your LORs. A referee should be able to discuss your achievements as well as, the challenges you face by showing that you learn from your failures and have the aspiration to keep winning! We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you. Want to study abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts are ready to assist you in narrowing down the best course and university options according to your interests and preferences.

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