SOP/Recommendation

SOP:

The statement of purpose is perhaps the most important, and most challenging, element of your application process. This document needs to reflect who the student is and why he would be an asset to the program he is applying to. It needs to make him stand out from the hundreds of other applicants and yet stay within the genre-based expectations for a statement of purpose. This resource provides information on writing statements of purpose specifically for graduate school applications.
But whether his SOP is subtle or to the point, it must be well written to be successful. The SOP is the student’s opportunity to talk directly to the admissions committee. To make him stand out from among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates. To convince the committee that he has the spark, the thirst for knowledge that could add value to his class.

Recommendation:

Recommendation letters are normally required to be submitted by almost all applicants at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level. Recommendations play a key role within the decision-making process. An applicant might complete his application carefully, could have done his Statement of Purpose/Essays well, but if the recommenders do not provide a good insight on the applicant, it is most likely that he or she would be rejected for admission into good universities throughout the world. Hence, a strong and appropriate recommendation by the right people makes or breaks an applicant! Recommendation letters are normally required to be submitted by almost all applicants at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level. Recommendations play a key role within the decision-making process. An applicant might complete his application carefully, could have done his Statement of Purpose/Essays well, but if the recommenders do not provide a good insight on the applicant, it is most likely that he or she would be rejected for admission into good universities throughout the world. Hence, a strong and appropriate recommendation by the right people makes or breaks an applicant!

WHO SHOULD RECOMMEND?

 

Depending upon the level of study, recommendations could be made by,

  1. For admission at the Bachelor’s level –¬†Lecturers, who has taught the student in key subjects or specializations and has a good insight on the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant.
  2. For admission at the Master’s level –¬†Professors/Teachers could provide their insights into the academic performance, co and extra-curricular activities of the applicant. Guides, who have supervised the student in their project work, within the college or an institution could also provide an effective recommendation since that reflects on the practical skills of the applicant in a perceived work-place.
    In case of applicants who have work experience, it is best to seek at least one or two academic recommendations from the college/university and one from either the immediate supervisor or the overall ‘boss’ in the work place. However, if there is a huge gap between college and the present application, most appropriate recommenders could be the supervisors and the applicant’s peers, who will have the opportunity of observing the applicant as a team member within the organization.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A ‘GOOD’ RECOMMENDATION?

 

Any recommendation must logically cover the following five points, in order to make them effective and ‘good’.

  1. How the applicant is known to the recommender and in what capacity. For example – As a student of his 4th semester electronics class’ etc.

  2. Observation of academic and non-academic skills of the applicant with a critical acclaim – to show that the recommendation is unbiased.

  3. Ranking the applicant comparatively, within his class or college, amongst his fellow-students.

  4. Indicating strengths and weaknesses of the applicant in any area – academic or non-academic – and how that could be overcome by the student.

  5. Finally, recommending the applicant for admission into the chosen program, with or without aid. This is crucial, since some universities are known to make decisions on financial aid, based on strong recommendations (of course, after considering several other factors!). It would be best to provide the recommendation on the letter-head of the person concerned or at least of the college/organization of the recommender.

  6. Please ask your recommender to include his/her contact details (email, phone and mailing address) within the recommendation itself. Some universities might verify if the records are ‘truly’ made.

  7. Ensure that the recommendations are placed in envelopes, sealed properly and signed by the recommender across the flap. Also, it would be appropriate to indicate the name of the Department and the University for whom the reco letter has been prepared.