You have decided it is time to attend graduate school to earn your masters in Social Work. You have your personal statement written, your transcripts sent and your application filled out. The last things you need to collect are your letters of recommendation. Before asking your top choices for their recommendation, read this over to make sure you made the correct choice and make sure you are able to proofread prior to submitting.
- Choose the correct people to write your letter of recommendation. Make sure they know you. To ask your Dean or head of yurt department in which you have met twice does not know you well enough to write your letter. Choose a former lecturer or your advisor. They know the work you put in and will put the work into your letter of recommendation.
- Do not write it for them and have them sign it. The school will be able to recognize the tone in bot your personal statement that is in your letter of recommendation. If the person is too busy to write it, then they are not worth asking. If you invested in them, then they should invest in you.
- Give plenty of examples. Admissions loves to read antidotes that set you apart from other applicants. Do not just say ‘Bob is a smart student’. Instead, write ‘Bob is at the top of his class and is very dedicated to his studies’. To see that you are top of your class according to your advisor will set you apart from others.
- Do not be vague, do not use plain language. If you are only ‘the student’ then how will you stand out? Make sure they use your name frequently through the reference. Make sure their vocabulary is heightened, but make sure it is used correctly. To have a professional reference use a word incorrectly makes you and they look bad.
- Too many positive words. If it looks as though they opened up a thesaurus and looked up the word ‘great’ and put as many variations in it as possible. You can only be great and stupendous in so many things before the reader becomes bored reading your letter of recommendation.
- Contradicting your applications theme. You said you want to work with the elderly, whole your letter of recommendation states you want to work with children. Well, which is correct? Make sure your advisor knows what population you want to work with prior to writing.
- The use of positive negatives. Do you work too hard? Or perhaps too hard on yourself! They do not want to see that you are stressed prior to starting your master’s degree. If you are unable to handle undergrad, then own do they expect you to keep a level head in graduate school? Make sure to keep the negatives out and only allow positive statements. Stress is not welcome here.