LOR Overview, Types, Structure And Faqs

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Hello Everyone,

This post will discuss in detail about the Letter Of Recommendation (LOR) that Universities ask along with the other details while you apply to the Universities for your MS or PhD or MBA. This post will completely focus on the types of LOR that Universities ask you, Structure of LOR and common faqs related to LOR. So let’s discuss for better understanding.

What Is LOR?

I suppose many Students might be knowing what a Letter Of Recommendation (LOR) is but to give you a general idea, LOR provides information from a former Professors or  Employers who have been personally involved with the candidate. This outside source provides a valuable record of the candidate’s previous experience and can testify to his or her skills and abilities.

Types Of LOR: –

There are generally two types of LOR a University can ask you.

  • Online LOR (Like a Feedback Form about the Student)
  • Hard Copy LOR (which is in writing from your Professor/Employer).

Online LOR’s: – 

Online LOR’s are nowadays most popular among various Universities in the US. To give you an idea about Online LOR, it is like a Feedback Form that you fill after you have received a service from anyone. It’s similar to that. You need to provide the email id’s of the people who will be recommending you while filling the online form for the University. The University will send a form which the Recommenders will fill up. They need not write anything but just rate you for different qualities.

Questions that are generally asked to the Recommenders about you are: –

  • Your Qualities like Punctuality, Leaderships etc.
  • Communication Skills.
  • Regarding your Passion towards Subjects.
  • Your Analytical Ability during Classes and Practicals.
  • Overall Review.
  • Additional Points that Recommenders can add.

This is just a overall view that I have given regarding the Questions that the Recommenders get. In all the Questions the Recommenders have to rate you. The Scale can be Out of 10 or 5. After Recommenders have rated you, they get a Space where they can add additional points (This differs from one to another Universities. Some Universities provide while others don’t).

So this is an Overview with respect to Online LOR’s.

Hard Copy LOR: – 

These are the traditional LOR where the Recommenders have to write about the Student they are referring to. The length of the Recommendation should ideally be one Microsoft Word Page. So let’s talk about the ideal points that should be included in the LOR, so that it gives an overall view to the University regarding you.

Points to be included in the LOR: –

  • Sincerity.
  • Punctuality.
  • Leadership Qualities.
  • Liking Towards the Subjects.
  • Analytical Abilities or The Way you Tackle the Problems.
  • Communication Skills.
  • Knowledge Level.
  • Extra Circular Activities.

So these are the points and there may be some more, but these are the main points that the LOR should have it. As you can see the points mentioned above provides a complete detail regarding the Student, from his/her liking towards the Subjects to Communication Skills to Leadership Qualities.

You may have seen some standard formats in various Website with respect to the LOR, but ideally there is no Standard Format. Just Remember LOR should include the above mentioned points.

Faqs Related To LOR’s: – 

1. How many LOR’s are Required?

A minimum of 3 LOR’s are required nowadays in all the Universities in the USA.

2. Which Professors to Choose for the LOR?

Choose two Professors that teach you a Particular Subject. For example if you are a CS student, you can choose two Professors who teach, lets say Data Structures and Computer Graphics. Choose One Professor whose has been a guide for you in the Final Year Project. This is the ideal way to choose the Professors.

3. I am Working, How Can I Choose the Recommenders?

If you are Working then you can get a one LOR from your peer in your Workplace. A Peer can be your Manager, Team Lead etc. The Renaming two LOR’s have to be from Professors who have taught you. In special cases as in IF you opting for MS in MIS or Masters in Engineering Management, you can get two LOR’s from your Company and one from your Professor.

4. How to know whether University Requires Online/ Hard Copy LOR’s? 

It differs from one to another University. Some require both while other just require Online LOR. SO you need to check that in the University Website for more Information.

5. Will I be knowing whether Recommenders have Received Online LOR to fill up?

Yes, University will send you a mail stating that they have mailed the Online LOR form to your Recommenders. After filling that form and after your Recommenders have submitted it you will again receive a mail stating that Recommenders have submitted the Online LOR Form.

If you have any other Queries that you may want me to add please suggest in the comment box below. I hope this post was useful.

34 thoughts on “LOR Overview, Types, Structure And Faqs

  1. How do i resend a request to my professors since it’s quite possible that they miss out the first time or that the online form sent to them gets deleted accidently or something…thanx in advance.

    • yes, It’s a Valid point…. When the form is sent via mail from the University to your Professors, you will too get a mail regarding this… So you can inform the Professors accordingly… Generally form has to be filled in a link… The link will also be given to you…. If Professor delete that mail then too you can resend that link to the Professor… I hope I was able to clear your Doubts

  2. I have a doubt regarding the email id of the professors that we provide to the universities while applying. Is it necessary that the email id of the professors have to be the college email id? Example: sample@college_email.com ?or the regular email ids like gmail, yahoo will do?

    • Hello, It is preferred that you provide Professors official University Email Id’s for Online LOR to rate you and in Some Universities it is must that Professor’s official email id must be given

    • Yes you will be notified: –
      1. When University send the Online LOR to the Professors.
      2. When University Receives Online LOR from your Professors.
      3. When your Professors have not yet rated you in Online LOR. (The notification generally comes after 2 or 3 days.)

  3. hi sir…can an ex-professor …who has handled us.. but currently working at some other college give the LOR…? And also what does a strong LOR mean…? is it getting from the ones in the higher post like the HOD or a Principal…?

    • and also…if we are planning to switch departments.. like from ECE to CS… is it advisable to get an LOR from a CS dept professor who has handled us on a particular Computer related subject… If so can he recommend on the student’s interest in CS…?

      • Hi Dheeraj, Yes you can get a LOR from an ex-professor who has taught you and now currently working in some other college…. A Strong LOR is not related to the Post that the Person referring you is in… It’s just a Professor who has taught you and knows you well…. Yes when switching it’s good to get a LOR from a CS Professor who has taught you a particular CS Subject in your Under Graduation in ECE… Professor can recommend or state how much interested a Student is on Pursuing MS in CS

  4. Is it necessary that all the 3 LOR’s should be different in perspective of writing ? Can we use the same format for all the 3 LOR’s just replacing with the name and subject like that.

  5. If I have to apply to say 4 universities, so is it necessary to get LORs from my professors 4 times or the same LOR can be reused for all the universities?
    Also when is LOR supposed to be submitted i.e. after to send your GRE score to a university or before that??
    Thnx.

    • If you are sending the LOR to the University, then you have to obtain separate LOR for each University from each Professor. If your University follows the Online LOR System, then the Professor has to fill up the LOR and submit the LOR Doc separately for each University.

      LOR can be filled/sent before/after you send your GRE Scores. But firstly you have to apply and fill out the basic information online by clicking on ‘Apply Now’ option in your University website

  6. Hi,

    I am in a dilemma. I studied ata college which was earlier affiliated to RTU, Kota. I got my B.Tech degree int ECE from RTU, Kota itself. Now I am planning to go for an MS in CS. I will be getting an LOR from two of my professors over there.

    The problem is that my college has now become/come under a deemed university and thus the official email ids of my professors have now changed to the new university’s domain instead of the college domain (the college is now affiliated to the new university name). If I get an LOR (online/offline) from them:
    1. Though I will have to use their new official email ids, do they need to mention that my college was earlier affiliated to RTU, Kota and now it is affiliated to a deemed university?
    2. Do they even need to show that my college is now affiliated to another university? Can the professor not just write the new university’s name in the signature (name “\n” Department Head ECE “\n” New University name)?
    3. If I have to get hard copy lors, which letterhead should they use, new University or the College?

    I really need help with this. Please answer!

    I also want to say that this is a great blog and it’s great that someone is out there for helping us. There were many questions in my mind that were answered by your posts with utmost clarity.

  7. Will I be able to take a LOR from a proff who has left my college ? In that case which college letter pad he has to use to write a LOR for me ? also, should he mention this in the LOR >?

  8. Two of my recommenders spelled my name as CHAANTREMI SULLAI. It should be CHAANTREMI SHULLAI( the “h” is missing from my surname). Will this have an impact on my application?

  9. Hello,
    Its been 2 months I have applied for universities and lors are sent everything is fine but my professors are not responding to those mails.I am poking them to respond but they r not. Is this will be a problem to get an admit and one more doubt will all the 3 persons receive mails from universitiesor only one or two because mail from one university received by my mam but another professor didn’t :/

  10. I did by undergrad n ece but planning to tak masters in CS.will it be OK if I get LOR frm my dept and not frm cs dept as I don’t know any1 frm cs dept?

  11. Hello,

    My former professors who are currently working in different institutions/field have submitted LOR for me. Will this be a problem as i have mentioned their current institution’s name on the online referee’s information form of universities as they would think it to be fake?

  12. Hello,
    IS it necessary that the recommendation from the Employer needs to be on the company letter head??
    As my company is not issuing Letter head for LOR

  13. Hi,

    When I take LOR from employer like team lead, do I need to get sign + stamp on the covering letter also ?Or just sign on the paper would suffice?

  14. Will an experience letter from employer be acceptable in place of a letter of recommendation? If the experience letter is uploaded by my manager on to the university site. Will it do?

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