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5 Best Samples of Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

A Recommendation Letter for Graduate School is a third-party endorsement of a prospective candidate for graduate school that is submitted together with their graduate school application.

A recommendation letter for graduate school is an important part of a graduate school application. It highlights the candidate’s personal qualities, experiences, and accomplishments.

An individual eligible to write a recommendation letter for graduate school is an academic or professional contact of the applicant. As a recommender, you should be able to provide reliable and correct information about the candidate. Furthermore, you should be able to discuss their competencies in a brief letter.

Here are some of the significances of a recommendation letter for graduate school:

  • A recommendation letter offers an effective and efficient assessment of an applicant’s potential and personal qualities. Since most graduate schools require more than just grades and test evaluation, a recommendation letter guarantees insights into the aspiring student’s personality.
  • A recommendation letter helps to reinforce the aspiring student’s application and resume. It offers affirmation of the applicant’s details since it contains examples and in-depth information from their referee or recommender.
  • A recommendation letter implies professionalism for the applicant. It suggests that the applicant is respected and recognized by professionals. With this in mind, the letter will increase the chances of the applicant getting selected.
  • A recommendation letter highlights an applicant’s educational and career intentions. The letter provides details of the applicant’s educational plans and career goals if they get selected to that particular Graduate School for the program they applied for.

Essential Components of the Letter

As a recommender, you might be tempted to write lots of praises regarding the graduate school candidate. Although this is part of an effective recommendation letter for graduate school that you must focus on recommending the applicant. There are probably many aspiring students applying for the same program in the same graduate school as your aspiring student. 

Therefore, the letter of recommendation for graduate school must include several details that will make it effective. The details will also increase the aspiring student’s chances of being accepted into the program they have chosen in that particular graduate school.

Here is what should primarily be included: 

Relation with the student

As the recommender, you will be required to highlight the relationship you have with the student. You will need to offer an explanation of how you relate and know the student. Your relationship will help strengthen the validity of the contents of the graduate letter for graduate school.

Established credibility

Ensure you provide your title or status, as the recommender, when writing a recommendation letter for graduate school. Whether you are an academic contact or a professional, mentioning your title or status in the letter helps to improve the aspiring student’s credibility. Your title will also be the reason why the Graduate School Faculty will listen to you. 

The student’s qualities

As a referee, you should also praise the aspiring student while writing a recommendation letter for graduate school. You can highlight their qualities, characteristics, and traits that you believe make them special. However, ensure you avoid overpraising the student, as this may negatively affect the student.

A case for why the student is fit for graduate studies

The letter of recommendation for graduate school presents an argument as to why the aspiring student is fit for the particular program they are applying for. Furthermore, make a case of why you think the particular applicant will succeed in their graduate studies. Finally, you can include their abilities and traits as well as courses and interests that make them suitable for that graduate school.

Specific examples

Remember to mention specific examples about the applicant that portrays their readiness for graduate school. These can include both their accomplishments in the field and habits in class. Using specific examples will go a long way in improving the aspiring student’s chances of getting into graduate school.

Requirements from the Student

When requested to write a recommendation letter for graduate school for a particular student, you will require specific information and time to compose the letter. Therefore, the aspiring student who has requested your services as a referee should provide precise details that you can use to reinforce their letter.

The requirements include;

Classes the applicant has had with the recommender

You will need information about the classes the applicant has had with you as the recommender. In such a case, you could be their professor, and this information will help you provide factual information about their habits and participation in class.


Also, you will need details about their experiences. Having details of the experiences you have shared with the applicant will help you when highlighting their abilities and interests better. This may be applicable for both an academic contact and a professional such as their employer.

Transcripts and resume/cover letter

Another piece of information you will require is transcripts and résumé/cover letter. Such information will boost your recommendation letter for graduate school when it comes to their academic background and character description. It will also help when giving details about their education capabilities and why they will succeed in the graduate studies once selected for the program they have applied for.

Research experience and internships

The applicant’s research experience and internships will also be essential information that you will require as you write the recommendation letter for graduate school. Such details will help you to establish the aspiring student’s professional and academic success.

Applicant’s awards and achievements

As the referee, information on the applicant’s awards and achievements will go a long way in providing examples of the applicant’s praises.

Academic and career goals

As the recommender, you will require information on the applicant’s academic and career goals. This way, as you vouch for the candidate’s educational intentions, you have the necessary information to do so.

Professional experience

Finally, you will need details of the relevant professional experience of the aspiring student. This information will allow you to argue why the applicant is suitable for the program they have applied for at that particular graduate school.

Writing a Recommendation Letter For Graduate School

When asked to write a recommendation letter for graduate school, here is a format you can use to craft that one to two-page document. 


When it comes to structuring your recommendation letter for graduate school, you should know the details you require to write the letterhead. This will contain your information and should be written at the top on the left side of the page. 

The details to be included in this section include the date, your full name, title, graduate school name, address, and preferred contact (email or phone number). The last detail is optional.


The introductory paragraph should only be about two to four sentences long. Here, you introduce yourself as the recommender and the aspiring student for whom you are writing the recommendation letter for graduate school. You could be the applicant’s professor or employer. Whatever the case, introduce yourself clearly, as shown below.


To Whom It May Concern: I am writing this recommendation letter to show my support for {Applicant’s Name} choice to apply for {Name of Program} at {Name of Graduate School}. As his professor, I fully believe that {Applicant’s Name} is qualified to partake in {Name of Program} studies. He is a remarkable and promising student who I can comfortably go out of my way to write him this recommendation letter.


As you write the body of the letter of recommendation for graduate school, it might include up to four paragraphs of detailed information about the applicant. The two most important details in the body paragraphs include your relationship with the applicant and the applicant’s qualities.

The other details that you should include in the body part include evidence of the mentioned attributes and vouching for the candidate:

Relationship with the applicant: This information should be written in about three to six sentences in the recommendation letter for graduate school. Mention how you know the aspiring student and how long you have known them. Defining the length and nature of your relationship with the applicant will help reinforce the aspiring student’s personal and academic attributes.


I have known {Applicant’s Name} for five years when he first joined my class. I can clearly recall his great participation and attentiveness in class. His timeliness in all his schoolwork made his educational intentions clear. {Applicant’s Name} choice to pick extra courses apart from those assigned to him helped to ensure excellence in his education and the creation of opportunities for scholarships. Such choices have helped to better his educational performance and personal life for the period I have known him.

Vouching for the candidate: This will be highlighted in the following paragraphs after establishing your relationship with the applicant. You could write the candidate’s attributes in one to three paragraphs of a recommendation letter for graduate school. You should include positive descriptions of the aspiring student’s qualities and competencies.


With his great passion for the subject, {Applicant’s Name} has been very helpful at school. His volunteer work as he balanced his school work personally amazed and inspired me. {Applicant’s Name} would offer to gather materials and coordinate classwork while still juggling his personal studies effectively. Such efforts portrayed his responsible nature. Also, this young man is zealous and focused which guarantees fast and proper completion of any task assigned to him. {Applicant’s Name} is also a team player and a great leader. His coordination of class groups at school was so effective that it attracted not only me but also my colleagues to work closely with him.

Evidence of mentioned traits: As the recommender, you need to provide evidence of the attributes that you have mentioned in the graduate school letter of recommendation. Evidence of the mentioned traits will help to make the recommendation letter for graduate school more trustworthy.


{Applicant’s Name} has great teamwork skills. She has been able to organize and lead her fellow colleagues in accomplishing various projects successfully here at the company. Her work is always timely since she knows how to coordinate her team and still achieve her objectives. {Applicant’s Name} communicates effectively to her colleagues and offers them support. Her teamwork skills make her an outstanding employee.

Clear recommendation: After stating the candidate’s qualities and providing evidence, you should add a paragraph where you recommend the aspiring student for the program they have applied for at the graduate school. You can mention why they are fit for the program by stating what makes them qualified. However, avoid sounding too demanding in the recommendation letter for graduate school as it might reduce the chances of the candidate getting selected.


I highly recommend {Applicant’s Name} for the {Name of the Program} at the {Name of Graduate School}. He is zealous, hardworking, and has the desire to further his education further. This makes him fit for the {Name of Program}.


For this part of the graduate school letter of recommendation, you should politely request the recipient of the letter to contact you if needed.


Please feel free to contact me for further questions and clarifications with regard to {Applicant’s Name} background and details.


Sign off the graduate school letter of recommendation with your name as the recommender. You should also sign after printing the hard copy letter.


Signature (On hard copy letter)
{Your Name}

Graduate School Letter of Recommendation Samples

Following are some samples for you to get a better understanding of the sentence structure and tone of the letter:

Sample 1


{Recommender’s Full name}


{Graduate School Name}

{Recommender’s Address}

{Preferred Contact (email or phone number) [Optional]}

To the Admission’s Committee:

On behalf of {Applicant’s Name}, I am writing to you this recommendation letter as his six years professor here at {Name of Current University}. In my many years as a professor, I have not come across such a promising and bright student whose work has made him outstanding. I commend his choice to apply for {Name of Program} at {Name of Graduate School} for his Masters. His acceptance into {Name of Graduate School} would be beneficial to not only him but also to you.

With such a pool of students, being able to notice {Applicant’s Name} and work closely with him would only suggest that he is a great student. I have taught him for four years and interacted with him as a volunteer in our department for the other two years. His class participation never fails to highlight his efforts to study and learn more. His passion for this subject has seen {Applicant’s Name} tests and graded remain excellent even as he juggled through university life. Our interaction ad relationship built as he worked as a volunteer in our department where he harnessed his skills.

{Applicant’s Name} ability to stand out even in the face of challenges makes him suitable for the chance to join {Name of Graduate School}. His research experience in the four years of writing great papers and his volunteer work for two years also says a lot about his educational plans. His focus is admirable for such a young man.

I am honored to recommend {Applicant’s Name} for the {Name of Program} at the {Name of Graduate School}. I believe his qualities and educational intentions make him suitable for the program. Please contact me for more details about this particular student.


{Name of Recommender}

Sample 2


{Recommender’s Full name}


{Graduate School Name}

{Recommender’s Address}

{Preferred Contact (email or phone number) [Optional]}

To the Review Committee:

When {Applicant’s Name} asked me to write a recommendation letter, I accepted wholeheartedly. As an intern at {Company’s Name} for three years, {Applicant’s Name} has become an important part of the team. He has been under my mentorship during this period and all I can say is {Applicant’s Name} bears positive energy that makes him inspirational to many.

After applying for the internship, {Applicant’s Name} qualified for the position as he was top of his class and had excellent grades. His projects and creative designs made him to stand out among other interns and I chose to become his mentor to nurture him more. {Applicant’s Name} was never belittled by other employers’ skills or any challenging task he was presented with. He always found a way to accomplish any task successfully and also helped his fellow interns to do the same. Such traits make it pleasurable to work with {Applicant’s Name}.

{Applicant’s Name} has a willing spirit when it comes to learning new things and being corrected. He is highly innovative and goal-oriented which is beneficial to any organization. During his first year as an intern here at {Company’s Name}, {Applicant’s Name} managed to secure us a new client due to his innovation. His eagerness and ability to learn fast makes him stand out and assures you of success in any project you give to him.

I highly recommend him and ask that you consider him for the {Name of Program} at {Name of Graduate School}. I believe that he will be instrumental in bringing positive change and effectively grow himself and those around him. Accepting him into {Name of Graduate School} will help to satisfy his educational thirst and shape his career.


{Recommender’s Name}

Sample 3


{Recommender’s Full name}


{Graduate School Name}

{Recommender’s Address}

{Preferred Contact (email or phone number) [Optional]}

To Whom It May Concern:

I am pleased to write to you this recommendation letter on behalf of {Applicant’s Name}. He has been working with us at {Organization’s Name} for six years now. His dream to pursue further education in {Name of Program} at {Name of Graduate School} could not have come at a better time. {Applicant’s Name} desire to increase knowledge makes me confident that he will be suitable for your institution.

I have interacted with {Applicant’s Name} on various occasions as he is my employee. I have observed his interpersonal and communication skills that have made him outstanding as he interacts with fellow employees and colleagues. His social skills also make him more approachable and relatable. {Applicant’s Name} is also an eager and committed learner when it comes to discovering new things. His ability to grasp knowledge fast and still maintain great relations with others makes him special. I highly recommend him for the {Name of Program} at the {Name of Graduate School}.

As an employee, he has started and completed various projects that have been beneficial not only to his growth but also to our organization. {Applicant’s Name} is a great team player and organizer. He has coordinated teams to ensure fast and proper completion of work. He is a committed individual who is always ready and willing to put in extra time and effort into any tasks assigned to him. Furthermore, {Applicant’s Name} has proved to be enthusiastic and positive in the work environment. His attendance is admirable as it shows that he can balance both his work and personal life.

I highly recommend {Applicant’s Name} for the {Name of Program} at {Name of Graduate School}. As an organization, we will be saddened by his departure but we wish him well as he aims to pursue and achieve his educational and career goals. If you accept him into the program, you will surely help this brilliant young man to achieve his dreams. You can contact me at any time for any questions and further clarifications of {Applicant’s Name} attributes and qualifications.


{Recommender’s Name}

Free Templates

Download free graduate school recommendation letter templates here.






    Tone to Use in a Recommendation Letter

    A recommendation letter for graduate school falls under an informal piece of a document rather than an academic one. Although this is the case, some standards have been put in place and are expected when writing a recommendation letter for graduate school. 

    By observing the following standards as you write a graduate school recommendation letter, your education level and qualifications, as a recommender, will be reflected positively. 

    The essential elements in writing a recommendation letter for graduate school include;

    • Personal Tone: As the referee, use a language that presents a more personal tone than the one used in research writing. Writing a recommendation letter includes gathering information and deducing what is useful for the letter. However, you are expected to maintain a more personal tone.  
    • Use of Active Voice: You are required to maintain an active voice as you write the letter. Furthermore, write the letter with the first-person point of view to help highlight the relationship you share with the applicant and authenticate your endorsement.
    • The Details: Write the recommendation letter in a chronological manner, ensure you start with important traits and then move on to the actions and achievements of the applicant.
    • Use Lots of Details: The recommendation letter should have detailed information that includes course names, scores, and specific student achievements.
    • Edit: Ensure you edit your recommendation letter before submitting it to the graduate admissions faculty. Grammatical and spelling mistakes may make the admissions faculty doubt your authenticity. 


    When aspiring student applies to graduate school, they also need to submit a well-written Recommendation Letter for Graduate School. This is a letter where you, as the third party, endorse a possible candidate for graduate school. Such a student may ask you to be their recommender or referee. The task does not have to be as challenging as it sounds.

    From our article, you will learn what you need to include in the recommendation letter for graduate school. You can also learn about the information you will require from this applicant for you to craft an appropriate recommendation letter. Furthermore, we can guide you on how to write one and still provide samples that you can use.

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