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How Can I Help My Graduate School Reference Writers?

You know you need great recommendation letters for your grad school applications, but what can you do to get the ball rolling? Check out our expert advice!

Vivian KerrVivian Kerr
Test Prep Tutor & Writer
Even if you have a bad GRE or GMAT score, a few strong recommendation letters can tip the scales back in your favor as long as the rest of your grad school application is strong. Here are four ways to help your writers craft excellent graduate school recommendations and get one step closer to your master’s degree!

  • Give them all the info they need: Don’t write their letter for them, but do give your recommenders your personal statement as well as recent résumés/transcripts and describe for them your “story.” They should know how you want the admission committee to perceive you and why you’ve chosen them specifically to write your letter.
  • Give clear deadlines: Give your recommenders a clear “due date” and check in with them a week beforehand. Be polite, but make sure they finish on time. There’s nothing wrong with calling to ask if there’s anything else they need or to keep them updated on your application process.
  • Have extra transcripts, résumés, and essays on hand: Your recommenders may lose or misplace the information you’ve given them and may need replacements. You’ll be busy completing your applications and studying for the GRE while they're focused on the recommendation, so it’s better to be more prepared than you think you’ll need to be.
  • Include a pre-addressed stamped envelope: Some recommenders prefer not to let you read their letter and would like to mail it themselves. Give them the option by including envelopes that are stamped and already correctly addressed. This is just one more way to make the process as simple as possible for your letter writer. Remember, they are doing you a favor, so don’t forget to write them a thank-you letter once they’re done!

Find more ways to simplify the grad school application procress with the articles and advice in our Graduate School section. 

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