When a student decides the career path, many questions come his/her way. It is always advisable to find the correct answers to all your questions before you move ahead. Hence, in a series of four blogs, you would find all the solutions to your frequently asked questions about letters of recommendations.

In part 1 of the blog series, we answered questions like what is a LoR, which programs need them and why, what is the ideal quantity et al. You could revisit that part here. Let’s get started with more answers.

 What is the process all about?

Well, the LoRs must be submitted in two different formats, depending on which format does your program make compulsory. Most programs state that Letters of Recommendations must be submitted online, while some programs accept paper based LoRs also.

Tell me about the online LoRs.

Online submission of LoRs can be in two ways, again depending on what the program demands.

The first format is, once you enter the details of your referee (Name, Designation, How is the Referee related to you, email address, and contact number), an email is sent to the referee requesting the recommendation. Most programs send the email as soon as you enter the referee details. Some programs send the recommendation request only after you pay the application fee and submit the application.

The second format is, the program gives you an email ID, to which your referee must send a pdf of his/her recommendation confidentially.

Do you mean my referee must send an encrypted file?

No. The referee has to simply send a scanned copy or the pdf.

So what does the scanned copy mean?

Many referees type a recommendation, print the recommendation on the official letterhead (official means letterhead of the organisation the referee is employed with), sign the official print, and then scan it for future use. The scan, in this case, must be a colour scan in at least 150 dpi, to ensure proper readability of the letter.

Can I not send the scanned copy on behalf of my referee?

No. Recommendations are confidential. You cannot access the recommendation or read it.

So while I was filling the referee details, they asked me do I waive my right to access the recommendation. What does that mean?

Under US laws, admitted students can access their recommendations at a later stage, usually after enrollment. If you waive access, you will not be able to see the recommendations. If you do not waive access, you can see the recommendations later on. The question is, why would you want to see your recommendations, because you would not know whether or how much it affected your admit. And if you do not get an admit, you cannot access the recommendation anyway. So it is a trivial thing – you should ideally check “Yes, I waive my right to access the recommendation” because it preserves the sanctity and confidentiality of the process.

Anything more about the online recommendation?

Yes. Your referee must submit organisational ID. If your referee has since changed organisations, i.e. if someone who was your professor or your reporting manager 2-3 years back has since moved to another organisation, ask him/her to still submit an organisational ID. The change of organisation can be simply explained in the text of the recommendation. If the referee provides common email ID such as a Gmail, yahoo or hotmail account, such recommendations are likely to be cross checked for authenticity. In such a case, please ask the referee to provide official evidence (usually, through the LinkedIn profile mentioned in the recommendation, or the university page which shows that the referee’s official ID is a non-organisational ID) to avoid any future hassles.

That’s it for Part Two. If you have more doubts, you could either wait for the next part or comment below. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

You can view our video on the topic

Written by:

Ajit Singh
Head – International Products
Team Endeavor
For more about him, you can click here.

2 comments thoughts on “All you should know about Letters of Recommendations – Part 2”

  1. My project guide has left the institution to pursue PhD, how should she send LOR? Through personal ID? and what should she mention in the LOR about her having to send email from a non-organisational ID?

    1. Hi Nikita,
      Thank you for your query. Yes, your project guide can always write from a non-institutional email ID. Two things that she can do to make the LoR more credible.
      1. Ask her to specifically add in the LoR that she has moved from the institution, and her earlier email ID was ________.
      2. Ask her to mention her LinkedIn profile, if possible. If her LinkedIn profile shows she worked at the institution, that is all you need.

      We hope the above helps you. For any further queries, please do not hesitate to reach out to our expert admissions team.

      Thanks & Regards,
      Team Endeavor

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