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Recommendation Letter Do's and Don'ts

How to Get the Perfect Recommendation

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A good recommendation letter is a must for your business school application. During admissions, most business schools- undergraduate and graduate- expect to see at least one, preferably two or three, recommendation letters for each applicant.

Recommendation letters provide admission committees with information that may or may not be found in your application, including academic and work achievements, character references, and personal details that set you apart from other applicants. Essentially, a recommendation letter is a personal reference that explains why the school should recognize you, your achievements, and your character.

Just as a good recommendation letter can be an asset, a bad recommendation letter can be a hindrance. Here are some do's and don's to keep in mind when securing your recommendation letters:

Recommendation Letter Do's
  • Do choose someone who knows you well enough to give you a recommendation.
  • Do get recommendations from employers, professors, school administration, and anyone else who is familiar with your work ethic.
  • Do ask for the recommendation in person, rather than sending an email.
  • Do tell the letter writer why you need the recommendation letter.
  • Do mention specific things that you would like to see included.
  • Do send a thank you note afterwards.
  • Do keep copies of the letter. You may need to use it again in the future.
Recommendation Letter Don'ts
  • Don't wait until the last minute. Secure letters of recommendation as soon as possible.
  • Don't ask someone to lie.
  • Don't ever forge signatures.
  • Don't choose someone only for their title. Pick someone who has a title AND knows you well.
  • Don't choose someone who is a poor writer.
  • Don't hesitate to get as many recommendation letters as possible. Choose the ones that show you in the best light.
  • Don't be surprised if the person you are asking for a recommendation letter asks you to write a letter that they will later modify and sign. This is a common practice.
  • Don't forget to say please and thank you. A letter of recommendation is a valuable resource.

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