LOR Faculty Format - How to Write an Academic Letter of Recommendation?


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jun 09, 2023 10:35 PM IST

When applying for a master's degree, MBA, or PhD, a letter of recommendation is one of the requirements. This is often a deciding factor for admission into an institution, being one of the key aspects of your application process.

LOR Faculty Format - Tips to Write Academic Letter of Recommendation

How to Write Faculty LOR: A strong academic letter of recommendation (LOR) ranks highly on the list of required documents for applicants seeking to enrol in an international university or college. 

Simply said, an academic LOR is produced to authenticate and recognise the candidates' abilities, work, and other academic and professional qualities pertinent to their field of study. It is written to the foreign university’s admission committee, which is interested in hearing about your academic and personal achievements from the faculty member(s) who recommended you for admission to their university for your desired course of study. 

In other words, academic faculty LORs serve as an academic reference that highlights your skills and personal attributes to make you a highly qualified potential student for foreign universities. In this article, we will go through how to write a faculty LOR in detail, as well as other essential tips that will help you stand out among other applicants. 

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What is an Academic Letter of Recommendation?

As we know, a letter of recommendation provides a third-party impression of the candidate on the admission committee and validates as a strong proof of resume with additional information/statistics about the applicant.

In most cases, a letter of recommendation (LOR) is written by your professor, project manager, or reporting manager with whom you've collaborated in the past. Essentially, it is a written document by an individual stating their observations about your strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and skills during their working time with you. A letter of recommendation is basically one that is drafted by some credible or trusted person who has testified to your experience, skills, expertise, and achievements. As a result, the person is familiar with the technical skills and capabilities you hold. This experience will assist them in writing an honest and genuine LOR.

Need Assistance inWriting an Academic Letter of Recommendation?

Why is the Letter of Recommendation Important?

Consider the scenario where you are stormed with lakhs of applications from which you must pick a few that are legit, genuine, and suitable without any favouritism. How will you come up with a list of deserving candidates without showing any partiality? This is where LORs gain importance alongside all the other documents.

Essentially, LORs are considered pieces of evidence that give admissions officers a closer look at your capabilities as seen from another's perspective. For the application process, two or three letters of reference are required, which will give them a fair idea of your personality, abilities, and capabilities.

Attributes to Mention in an Academic LOR

It is required that academic recommendation letters are written only on the university or college letterhead, and applicants must be sure that each letter is as unique as possible and relevant to the program they are applying for. For those applying to a Master's (MS) programme, academic letters of recommendation are of the utmost importance. Down below are important attributes you can mention in an Academic LOR concisely:

  • Initiatives and achievements in co-curricular activities.

  • Academic achievement in a subject.

  • Instances demonstrating expertise or a work ethic.

  • Research and relevant projects.

Note: This letter is powerful for several reasons. For one, it should describe the way and the context in which the writer knows the student. This document identifies specific aspects of the student's performance, including those that set him apart from other peers in his group. It is supposed to provide an unexaggerated and generic description of how this student outranks the rest of his/her classmates with whom the letter writer has interacted over a span of years.

How to Select a Good Recommender for Academic LOR?

The steps of how to write faculty LOR highlighted below will help you and your recommender draft a strong academic letter of recommendation and will also help you outshine other applicants:

  • Address the Letter

  • Provide a Brief Introduction

  • Outline the Student’s Qualifications

  • Describe in Brief When the Student (Recommendee) Has Impressed You (Recommender)

  • End the Letter with an Endorsement

  • Provide Contact Information

Address the Letter

It is essential to establish who will be reading your letter so that you may offer relevant information specific to their programme or firm. Your recommender must inquire about to whom your academic letter of recommendation must be sent. The letter must be addressed to the admissions director or the admissions committee if they are applying for a foreign university. If you are applying to many programmes, the recommender must write a letter to "To Whom It May Concern."

Provide a Brief Introduction

The recommender must introduce himself/herself in the opening paragraph of the letter by stating who he/she is, about the career, expertise, and relationship with the student. Your recommenders should also consider how long they have known you as a student and the first impression when they first met. Make a point of specifying the programme for which the recommender suggests the student in the letter. Including the credentials and intent at the start of the academic LOR might assist the readers to build trust and suggestions.

Outline the Student’s Qualifications

To demonstrate your academic achievements, an academic letter should include precise facts from your experience in school/college. You should supply your teacher or recommender with a list of your accomplishments and activities, as well as your transcript or GPA so that they can get a complete picture of your credentials. Recommenders can additionally address the following topics with readers to get their approval:

  • Awards or recognitions

  • Academic specialities

  • Attitude and perspective

  • Demonstration of improvement

Describe in Brief When the Student (Recommendee) Has Impressed the Recommender

As your recommender promotes your character and abilities, they must utilise unique narratives to provide the university admissions committee with further information about your personality, goals, and abilities. Your recommender must describe your circumstance, the steps you took to succeed, and the outcomes of those steps. They can demonstrate your ability to see an opportunity and take measures to finish the assignment or improve the situation by offering an aim and a result. 

End the Letter with an Endorsement

Your recommender can improve the effectiveness of your recommendation letter by clearly tying your qualifications to the university or subject of study to which you are applying. The recommenders must mention precisely that they recommend you in the concluding portion of the recommendation letter, as well as highlight your potential contributions to the curriculum and university. To finish this section of the letter, you can provide your recommender with further information about the university and why you applied for the specific course. This essential information may also be combined with the faculty's own university research to correctly explain your compatibility.

Provide Contact Information

The recommender must offer to supply any extra information the recipient may need and provide their contact information after the academic recommendation letter. This provides the recommender with the chance to be an even stronger ally for you and helps the reader or the admissions committee understand the student more thoroughly.

Tips on How to Write Faculty LOR

As significant as an academic or faculty letter of recommendation is in gaining admission to a top university for a bachelor's or master's degree programme, the culture of writing letters of recommendation is growing in India. This places a significant deal of responsibility on the shoulders of the students, as well as the faculty and professors who write the letters of recommendation. While an academic or faculty LOR would be tailored to each student, effective LORs share key characteristics that set them apart. Let us look at some crucial pointers to help you understand how to write faculty LOR:

Tip 1: Pick Your Recommender Wisely

Even before you know how to write a powerful faculty LOR, you should pick who will write your recommendation letter. The best recommendation letters are personable and informative, revealing your unique personality. And someone who knows you only casually would be unable to write about you. As a result, it is critical that you approach someone who knows you well to endorse you.

Aside from knowing you well, the recommender's credentials are also important. A letter of reference from the Head of the Department (HOD) or one of the senior professors has more weight than a letter from a junior professor if you are a student. If you are currently employed, a LOR from the head of your section or department strengthens your candidacy.

So, if you are a final-year student or have recently graduated, you can get your academic or faculty LOR from:

  • Professors with whom you have collaborated on projects.

  • Professors whose classes you excelled in.

  • If you have internship experience, you can be a mentor.

Tip 2: Take Time to Get Your Faculty LOR Compiled and Written

Writing an excellent academic or faculty LOR takes effort since it presents a multifaceted view of the applicant. One of the most common errors is waiting until the last minute to arrange your recommendation letters. It is critical that you approach the recommender with all of the relevant details three to four months before the application date. It will be simpler for the person to create a personalised narrative of successes and achievements.

Tip 3: Emphasize Important Themes

It is also vital to remember that institutes do not want to know about every characteristic of the student that makes him exceptional. A recommendation letter focusing on a certain field demonstrates the applicant's dedication and devotion to that field. It also reflects their long-term focus and future potential. An outstanding faculty LOR, therefore, does not need to boast about every ability you have but rather highlight a few key ones that are relevant to the programme you have applied for. Some letters, for example, may highlight the applicant's academic accomplishments if he or she is exceptionally bright academically. In other cases, letters may focus on the applicant's teamwork or leadership abilities.

Tip 4: Make Use of Anecdotes

A great faculty LOR does not simply repeat information from the resume. It provides a comprehensive review of the applicant's academic credentials, personal talents, and prospects for future success. Great letters use tales and narratives to teach the reader about you as a person and what motivates you in this way. Stories are an excellent method to express not only what you have accomplished, but also how you achieved it. They highlight your personal attributes and leave an impression on the readers.

Tip 5: Make use of the CAR Framework

Most recommenders employ the CAR structure while writing an impressive recommendation letter that includes stories, anecdotes, or narratives. CAR stands for Challenge, Action, and Results and is a framework that highlights the applicant's successes in the face of a challenge as well as actions made by him or her.

Tip 6: Use Strong Language and a Powerful Tone

Great recommendation letters employ compelling language in addition to using narratives with the CAR framework in mind. Using clich words and phrases (such as hard worker and perfectionist) makes a letter impersonal and generic. Letters with impactful language demonstrate that your recommendation letter was produced with thought and effort. Consider the following two examples:

Example 1: Amaira is an excellent student. She is incredibly diligent and devoted, and she always goes above and beyond to attain her objectives.

Example 2: Amaira is an excellent analyst and problem solver. She was really interested in marketing and joined our institute's marketing club. She produced an advertising campaign for a national-level advertising competition using her creative skills, and she was named one of the top three original and innovative advertising ideas.

The first example is really general. Although it states that Amaira is hardworking and dedicated, it does not specify the results of her efforts. If you look closely, you'll note that the second employs more specific language to explain her abilities, along with a specific narrative to make the point.

Tip 7: Keep Your Faculty LOR Organized

A great LOR is well-organized and contains all of the information needed to evaluate the candidate. A properly written recommendation letter will include information about how well the recommender knows the student. The introduction begins with an enthusiastic recommendation, followed by a two or three-paragraph appraisal of the candidate. The recommender closes the letter by reaffirming the suggestion and inviting the admission committee to ask any additional questions.

How to Write Academic/Faculty LOR: Sample 1


Vijay is a keen and quick thinker with a great interest in mechanical engineering, robotics, and automobiles. He is compelled to comprehend and interpret how things function, and he is constantly striving to build something new. This is especially visible in his research project, in which he created a gesture-based working robot model, inspired by a desire to reduce home tasks. He was a great leader of the Robotics Society and gladly enjoyed sharing his expertise and experiences with others while also acquiring new skills. Students in the club plan and present lessons to the class.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Vijay is an active and outgoing member of the class with great leadership qualities. This was amply proved when he accepted the challenge of organising our university's first Robotics and AI-driven symposium. He collaborated with his society members, and his leadership and administrative abilities enabled him to get along with everyone and successfully organise the seminar.

Vijay has my highest recommendation for your esteemed university's MS in Robotics Engineering programme. He has consistently exhibited greatness in whatever he has attempted. I am confident that he will achieve great things in the future. Please feel free to contact me at abc@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Sr Prof. Rahul Batra

Department of Mechanical Engineering

ABC Global University of Engineering and Technology

The LOR is a vital document in the application process that should not be overlooked. As a result, it is essential that you establish a solid rapport with your professor so that they can attest to your dedication and hard work. In addition, the LOR should be written by a knowledgeable individual. You cannot have friends or family compose a letter for you. It should be written by someone who is familiar with your academic background, accomplishments, and personality.

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Does LOR have a set format?

Yes, different types of LOR have different types of formats to write the letter. Generally, an academic or faculty LOR that is used by aspirants for seeking admission in a foreign university (especially for master’s) contains the following:

  • 1st paragraph: Introduction
  • 2nd and 3rd paragraphs: Information on the applicant's qualities and talents
  • 4th paragraph: Conclusion

What should a faculty LOR include for an MS programme?

It is fascinating and vital to follow an academic letter of recommendation format for MS programmes at foreign universities. It is critical to emphasise your experience and accomplishments in the letter of recommendation. Consider the following points to mention in a letter of recommendation:

  • The letter's font should be formal and legible.

  • Understanding of leadership abilities

  • The letter should also mention your candidate's interests and strengths.

  • Provide your contact information.

Should faculty LOR be on letterhead?

Sure, of course! If you are getting an academic or faculty letter of recommendation from a university professor, it is best to print it on the university letterhead. It provides the letter of recommendation weight and demonstrates its validity and quality. A standard letter of reference is acceptable in companies for jobs and internships, but one with letterheads has a better probability of garnering an application. 

How do you write a faculty LOR?

A LOR is written by a recommender and can help you acquire a job or enrol in a course. When composing a LOR, bear in mind the candidate's talents, how long they have known them, and their strengths. LORs for various degrees and occupations follow the format that has been outlined in the above article. 

What information should be included in a faculty LOR?

Some of the crucial details that must be mentioned in an academic or professor LOR are:

  • Specifics about your resume (it helps the company to have a quick outlook to your past experiences).

  • The name of your desired university/course/internship.

  • Personal accomplishments and talents of the candidate

  • Characteristics of the individual that you want the institute or firm to be aware of

  • The length of your relationship with the candidate.

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