Jul 29

To whom it may concern: Tips on submitting letters of recommendation for grad school

Who do I ask?

A common question we get about the application process is, “Who should write my three letters of recommendation?”

Short answer: Everyone is different! It depends!
Long answer: Well, here you go…

There are a lot of options when it comes to your letters of recommendation. Start by thinking about people who can speak to your professional skills. Who could that include?

  1. Current supervisor: As someone who works with you on a daily basis, this is a great person to ask, especially if you have worked with this person for some time. It doesn’t matter if you worked for this person part-time or full time.
  2. Former supervisor: Have you recently changed positions? A former supervisor may be a better person to highlight your skills and share how you developed over your time working with them.
  3. Faculty Member: For those applying to graduate school directly from an undergraduate program (or anyone still connected to a faculty member from a few years back), a faculty member can speak to many of the areas important to our admissions committee. A faculty member can focus on who you are in the classroom and your ability to engage in a classroom setting.
  4. Student group advisor: Were you heavily involved as a student leader on campus? Your advisor can speak to your leadership skills, creativity, motivation, ability to take initiative, and a host of other traits we’re looking for!
  5. Volunteer supervisor: Are you heavily involved in a local non-profit? Maybe you’ve even served in a board or chair position? A leader in this organization may be a great person to ask!
  6. Current or former client: Many prospective students we speak to own their own business, and therefore have no real boss. A client can be a great person to speak to your business skills. We encourage entrepreneurship and want to hear what others who have worked with you think!

Let’s briefly touch on who you should not ask to write a letter. While we know your mom, dad, grandparents, BFF, church pastor, rabbi, etc. think you’re an awesome person, this is not what we are looking for. Think about who could speak to your professional life (not a character reference).

A common question we get about the application process is, “Who should write my three letters of recommendation?”

In your application, you will notice a tab on the left side of your screen that says Recommendations. Once you click to this section of the application, it will ask you to enter their name, title, and contact information. Once completed, you can then click Send to Recommender. Note: Be sure that you have requested the recommendation from them first!

Your recommender will receive an automated email from UNCG with a link to complete the recommendation. It will request certain information, but we also encourage them to upload a letter at the bottom to give us more information on you as a professional.

Here are a few key points to include:

  • How well do you know the candidate and what is the nature of your relationship?
  • An honest evaluation of this person’s skills and character. Specifically, highlight the value they have added to your organization or classroom.
  • Why would you recommend this person for a Bryan School graduate program? How will their education benefit your organization (if applicable)?

Once your recommender submits his or her letter, it will be highlighted in your application. Remember, our programs require three letters of recommendation and they must all be submitted before the review process can begin.

Best of luck with your graduate school application!

If you have questions regarding Bryan School graduate programs, please feel free to reach out to our graduate recruitment team at bryangrad@uncg.edu. We are here to help!

You can click here to learn how you can earn an application fee waiver and here to sign up for an upcoming webinar.