Letters of Recommendation - Please Help

JP99's picture
Rank: Chimp | 6

Hello WSO.

Wanted to ask on here what the consensus is for letters of recommendation. Specifically have questions listed below, but if anyone has any additional insight that would be helpful please feel free to comment.

  • How well should your recommenders know you?
  • What is the process or best way to ask them to write it?
  • How big of a time commitment is it for them?
  • How soon before they are due should you ask?
  • How important is this to your overall application?
  • How recently should you have worked with them? - ex. if you are applying 3 years out of college, can you ask a professor or supervisor from an internship?

Comments (4)

Dec 21, 2018

To add to the above, can the lecturer be a current professor (i.e. with the overall unit mark yet to be calculated) or does it have to be a professor who has taught you in the past?

Most Helpful
Dec 21, 2018

Is your question related to letters of recommendation for MBA applications?

If yes, check out 4 Steps to a 5 Star MBA Recommendation

Any recommendation should be RECENT and RELEVANT. See answers to your specific questions below:
How well should your recommenders know you?
- Very well. These individuals should have supervised your work and be able to speak to the contributions and impact you have made in your role.
What is the process or best way to ask them to write it?
- Nurture the relationship in the months/years leading up to the 'ask.' Float a 'trial balloon' by letting them know your intention of applying and ask if they would be willing to write a great recommendation. Best to do this in person so you can assess their reaction and possibly opt for another person if they seem uncommitted.
How big of a time commitment is it for them?
- If you prepare the appropriate materials for them it should be 2-3 hours to write the first recommendation then 15-45 minutes to tweak for subsequent recs.
How soon before they are due should you ask?
- You should make the formal ask 4-6 weeks before the deadline. If you are applying in R2 for MBA (deadlines in the first weeks of the new year) you may want to ask more like 6-8 weeks from the deadline.
How important is this to your overall application?
- Very important. This is the one component for which adcom is getting someone else's candid assessment of you.
How recently should you have worked with them? - ex. if you are applying 3 years out of college, can you ask a professor or supervisor from an internship?
- College professors are RARELY the best people to write a recommendation. A supervisor from an internship from 3+ years ago that you did for 10 weeks is neither RECENT nor RELEVANT.

    • 2
Dec 22, 2018

Thank you for your comment, very helpful. Would any of your responses change for deferred admission programs?

Dec 22, 2018
Comment