The Art of Writing Recommendation Letters: Your Ticket to Graduate Admissions in the US

Graduate admissions in the United States are highly competitive, with top universities receiving thousands of applications each year. A well-crafted recommendation letter can be your secret weapon to stand out in this fierce competition. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of recommendation letters and provide tips on securing strong ones for your graduate admissions journey.

What is a recommendation letter?

In the context of higher education in the United States, recommendation letters are critical documents that vouch for your qualities, background, and achievements as a candidate for doctoral or master’s programs. Virtually every university requires applicants to submit a minimum of three recommendation letters along with their application. The purpose of these letters is to provide a comprehensive view of the applicant and assess their suitability for the academic program.

Who Should Write Your Recommendation Letters?

  • If you are a student, your recommendation letters should ideally come from teachers who have substantially interacted with you. This could include those who have taught you important subjects or supervised research projects, seminars, or papers. The best choices are professors who can speak highly of your academic work and compare you favorably with your peers.
  • If you are a working professional and your work experience is relevant to your intended field of study, a letter from your immediate supervisor is valuable. In cases where you have significant work experience from different organizations, obtaining letters from multiple relevant supervisors is acceptable.

Qualities of Effective Recommenders

Your recommenders should possess the following qualities:

  • They should know you well and be able to provide specific insights into your academic abilities and personal qualities.
  • They should be able to write persuasively and effectively.
  • It’s also beneficial if your recommenders have good credentials and a clear understanding of your educational goals.

What Recommendation Letters Should Include

An effective recommendation letter should encompass the following points:

  • The recommender’s relationship with you specifying how long they’ve known you and in what capacity.
  • An assessment of your academic performance, including your relative ranking and intellectual capabilities.
  • Special achievements, especially in projects or research papers.
  • An evaluation of your communication skills, particularly how well you can present seminars or projects.
  • Insights into your social skills, such as your ability to work well with others and your leadership qualities.
  • Some background information about the recommender, particularly if their work is not widely recognized outside India.

What Elevates a Recommendation Letter

A truly excellent recommendation letter goes beyond summarizing your performance and qualities. It substantiates its claims with real-life examples of your initiative, creativity, perseverance, intelligence, leadership, or other admirable qualities in various contexts, such as project work or seminars. These specific incidents add credibility to the recommender’s assertions. A letter that conveys genuine enthusiasm and endorsement can leave a lasting impression on graduate admissions committees. More importantly, recommendation letters should be well-structured, error-free, and easy to read.

Practical Considerations

  • It’s crucial to maintain a positive and respectful relationship with your recommenders, as writing recommendation letters is a time-consuming task.
  • If you’re submitting the letter in a physical format, the recommender must seal and sign it. Many universities now prefer online submission.

In essence, a well-crafted recommendation letter is an essential component of your application to American universities. It offers a holistic view of your qualifications and character and can significantly influence your admission prospects. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right recommenders and assist them in providing a persuasive, detailed, and unique letter. Remember, a well-written recommendation letter is not just a piece of paper; it’s your advocate in the admissions process.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we understand the significance of this journey. Thus, we offer comprehensive GRE coaching in Pune, both online and classroom, to support you in this crucial aspect of your academic journey. Further, our admission counseling services can guide you through the entire process from Shortlisting Universities to Visa Counseling. With our expertise, we have successfully sent 32,000 students to various prestigious American universities like MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. To enroll in our comprehensive services, book a free consultation or call us at 91-020-67444222.

We offer GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and Canada.  

Dilip Oak’s Academy – Roommate Finder for the Spring 2015 Semester

So, you’ve got the admission news you were waiting for: your coveted admission for an ‘MS in US’ is confirmed. You’re scheduled to join your American university in the spring 2015 semester – and now it’s time to book airline tickets and start thinking about travel plans and accommodation.

One problem, however, is contacting senior students who are already in your desired US university, so you can arrange for a pickup and drop from the airport and some temporary accommodation. Another is finding other students who are heading to your US university, so you can choose room-mates and make joint travel plans.

So, here’s one more thing that Dilip Oak’s Academy is doing to make finding travel and room companions easier for you through Dilip Oaks Academy Online. We call it our Roommate Finder and it will help you locate and coordinate with other students joining the same university.

Here’s how it works: if you are a signed up member of Dilip Oak’s Academy Online, all it requires is that you update your application status. Once you’ve done that, the names of other students going to the same university as you are will automatically be updated on your Roommate Finder page. Then, just hit the contact button.


If you’re not a member then, joining up is free and easy – it just takes a minute or two – and then you will be able to find roommates as explained above, AND explore all the other cool features that Dilip Oak’s Academy Online has to offer!

  • US University Information and Document Checklists
  • Question & Answer Forum
  • University Applications Tracker
  • Full-length Online GRE Practice Tests

Remember, Dilip Oaks Academy Online is free to join! So, tell all your friends who are applying for an ‘MS in US’ to join and update their admission updates. The more people join, the more everybody benefits! But, even now there are enough folks like you signed up with us to make this feature a big help to you!

P.S. we love your feedback, so let us know how we are doing at:

American Universities and Colleges on Social Media: What Information is Out There?

Social media platforms are proliferating. Free and increasingly sophisticated technological tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter offer easy access to information about colleges and universities in America – and both colleges and students are trying to take advantage of the trend.

One of the more positive things that graduate schools do in the social media space is to post content about faculty research and what their students are doing. Facebook is responding to this trend with the launch of “Groups for Schools” which will allow only those students (current and prospective), faculty and staff members with a valid “.edu” email address from their schools to sign up and join the group. Using these groups admissions departments can reach and attract prospective students by posting admission information, answers to frequently asked questions, and relevant articles.

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Life at ‘University of Maryland’, College Park

By Aditya Kulkarni, ENTS Major, Class of 2014

Aditya, an alumnus of Dilip Oak’s Academy shares his insights on the University of Maryland:

University of Maryland: An Overview

The University of Maryland (UMD), located at College Park, just north of Washington DC is a Public University and is the state’s flagship educational institution. Its suburban campus is spread over 1,250 acres (5.1 sq. km.) and has roughly 38,000 students (2012-13 stats), with a teacher-student ratio of nearly 1: 10.

UMD is well known for its state of the art M-Square research park, a new performing arts center and a quantum science lab among other things. The University houses 13 colleges offering courses in Arts and Humanities, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Music, Behavioral and Social Science, Computers, Math, Natural Science, Engineering, Education, Information Studies, Journalism, Business, Planning and Preservation, Public Health & Public Policy. Admissions are ‘very selective’ with an acceptance rate of about 40%. GPA averages for bachelor’s students range from 3.8 to 4 and for master’s level students from 3.5 to 4.

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