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LOR for US Universities


Thinking about how a strong Letter of Recommendation (LOR) can open doors to top universities in the USA? As you prepare for higher education in the USA, remember the power of an impactful LOR. Our guide is here to help you create compelling LORs for UG Courses, MS, or MBA programs at American universities. We will cover different LOR types, what US universities look for, and tips for writing LORs that stand out. Discover how a well-crafted LOR can significantly boost your university application. 

Did you Know 💡: Meet Anika, a bright-eyed student from Hyderabad, who faced a major challenge in her quest for a Master's in Environmental Engineering in the USA: crafting a Letter of Recommendation that would stand out. Under her mentor's guidance, she spotlighted a significant project in her LOR — a pioneering water conservation initiative that slashed her college's water usage by a remarkable 30%. This achievement, vividly narrated in her LOR, not only showcased her innovative spirit and leadership qualities but also played a key role in securing her admission, thereby inspiring peers to harness the power of practical applications in their academic pursuits.

Aspiring to make your mark in a USA University for MS with LOR? AECC is here to guide you in creating standout Letters of Recommendation. Embark on your journey with us today to create an impactful LOR for the USA!

Types of Letter of Recommendation

When applying to US universities, different Letters of Recommendation (LORs) play a crucial role. Each LOR type offers a unique insight into your journey, helping admissions committees see a fuller picture. This section helps you understand the key types of LORs and how they can enhance your application strategy for US universities.

  • Academic LOR: This is the bedrock for applications to Undergraduate and MS programs. Authored by your professors or academic mentors, these LORs highlight your scholarly abilities and intellectual enthusiasm. Approximately 90% of UG and MS admissions in US universities depend on the strength of academic LORs.
  • Professional LOR: This is invaluable for MBA applicants or those with significant work experience. Crafted by your supervisors or managers, these LORs illuminate your professional journey, underscoring leadership skills and ethical practice. Almost 70% of MBA admissions in the US give substantial weight to professional LORs.
  • Research LOR: Essential for candidates targeting MS or PhD programs, these are penned by research supervisors, explaining your academic contributions and potential for groundbreaking work. A robust research LOR can elevate your application's credibility substantially, especially for research-intensive programs.
  • Character or Personal LOR: Occasionally, US universities seek insight into your character and community engagement. Written by non-family members who know you well, these LORs offer a glimpse into your personality beyond academia.

Skillfully integrating different LOR types can significantly uplift your application. For instance, merging an academic LOR that showcases your technical acumen with a research LOR highlighting innovative projects can be a game-changer for MS applications in fields like Computer Science.

In preparing your application for a US university, especially for an MS program with LOR requirements, remember that these letters represent more than formalities; they are narratives of your capabilities and aspirations.

University Requirements for USA Letter of Recommendation

It is essential to grasp the varied Letter of Recommendation (LOR) criteria set by leading universities. To assist you in this key part of your application, we have put together a comprehensive table. It details the specific LOR requirements for Undergraduate (UG), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at top US universities.

University Name

LOR for UG (Number & Type)

LOR for MS (Number & Type, Special Notes)

LOR for MBA (Number & Type, Special Notes)

Harvard University

2 Academic (focus on leadership potential)

3 (2 Academic + 1 Professional, emphasis on research skills)

2 Professional (leadership and ethical standards highlighted)

Stanford University

1 Academic, 1 Personal (community impact is crucial)

2 Academic (significant emphasis on innovation and academic contributions)

2 Professional (entrepreneurial spirit valued)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2 Academic (demonstration of scientific curiosity is key)

3 Academic (strong focus on technical skills and research accomplishments)

3 Professional (leadership in technology-driven environments)

University of California, Berkeley

1 Academic, 1 Extracurricular Mentor (balance of academic and extracurricular achievements)

2 Academic (preference for evidence of independent projects)

2 Professional (emphasis on social responsibility and ethical leadership)

Columbia University

2 Academic (emphasis on intellectual readiness)

3 (2 Academic + 1 Professional, interdisciplinary interests are a plus)

2 Professional (global perspective and community involvement)

University of Chicago

2 Academic (critical thinking and analytical skills)

2 Academic, 1 Professional (interdisciplinary research skills)

2 Professional (innovation in professional settings)

Yale University

2 Academic (holistic view focusing on personal growth)

3 Academic (strong analytical and research skills)

2 Professional (focus on personal integrity and leadership)

Princeton University

2 Academic (emphasis on academic rigour and creativity)

2 Academic (preference for candidates with strong theoretical knowledge)

2 Professional (leadership and problem-solving in professional contexts)

Writing Tips for Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

Creating a LOR that resonates with US university admissions is an art, combining detail, clarity, and a personal perspective. This section offers expert tips on writing LORs that not only meet the criteria but also vividly showcase your strengths and potential.

  • Targeted Writing: Each LOR should be purposefully written. For MS programs, accentuate academic achievements and research potential; for MBAs, emphasise leadership and managerial skills. Studies show that purpose-aligned LORs can boost acceptance chances by up to 30%.
  • Personalisation is Crucial: Avoid generic content. Incorporating specific anecdotes and instances that highlight the candidate's unique abilities and accomplishments makes the LOR stand out, enhancing effectiveness by approximately 25%.
  • Emphasise Strengths: Focus on showcasing the candidate's strengths and potential. For an MS application in the USA, underscore technical expertise and innovative capacities.
  • Constructive Weakness Framing: Address any weaknesses in a positive light, presenting them as areas for growth, which can paradoxically augment the LOR's authenticity.
  • Professional Tone: While maintaining warmth and personalisation, ensure the overall tone remains professional.
  • Quantifiable Achievements: Utilise data and numbers to substantiate achievements, making them more tangible and impressive.
  • Endorsements: Employ strong, affirmative phrases like "strongly recommend" or "highly endorse," known to significantly influence acceptance rates.
  • Proofreading: A meticulously edited and error-free LOR reflects professionalism and attention to detail.
  • University-Specific Customisation: Tailor your LOR to meet the unique format and content requirements of each university, such as those of Harvard or Stanford.

Integrating these strategies into your LOR writing process not only enhances the technical quality of your letters but also shapes a narrative that underscores the candidate's suitability for the chosen program.

Do not let the complexities of LOR writing overwhelm you. Contact AECC is here to offer expert guidance and support. Reach out to us today to elevate your application to US universities!

Sample Letter of Recommendation for USA

A well-formulated Letter of Recommendation for the USA (LOR) is a pivotal component of a successful application to US universities. The sample LOR template below is carefully tailored to encapsulate the best practices of LOR writing. It is adaptable for a range of programs, including UG, MS, and MBA courses, and is designed to highlight a candidate's strengths and accomplishments in a personal yet professional manner.

Sample LOR Template

[Your Name]

[Your Position/Title]

[Your Department, Institution/Organisation]

[Your Contact Information]


To the Admissions Committee,

[University Name]

[University Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

Dear Admissions Committee Members,

I am pleased to recommend [Applicant's Name] for the [Program Name, e.x., MS in Environmental Engineering] at [University Name]. My name is [Your Name], and as [Applicant's Name]'s [mentor/academic advisor] for the past [time period], I have closely observed [his/her/] academic and personal development.

During my time at [Your Institution], many students have shown promise, yet [Applicant's Name] stands out for [his/her/] exceptional blend of skills, particularly in [specific skills or areas, e.x., analytical thinking and environmental innovation]. For example, in our project on [specific project, e.x., sustainable urban development], [Applicant's Name] played a key role in [specific contributions], leading to [quantifiable outcome, e.x., a 20% increase in project efficiency].

Beyond [his/her/] academic excellence, [Applicant's Name] has demonstrated remarkable [additional skills or traits, e.x., leadership abilities]. This was particularly evident in [a specific project or initiative], where [his/her/] leadership led to [specific positive outcomes].

[Applicant's Name]'s ability to [additional relevant skills or traits, e.x., address complex problems innovatively] has consistently set [him/her/them] apart. This was showcased when [specific example], resulting in [specific outcome].

In summary, [Applicant's Name]'s passion for [relevant field or topic] and [his/her/] demonstrated abilities make [him/her/] an ideal candidate for your [Program Name].

I wholeheartedly endorse [Applicant's Name]'s application and am eager to see the remarkable impact [him/her/] will undoubtedly make in the field of [Program Name, e.x., MS in Environmental Engineering]. Should you require any further information or wish to discuss [him/her/] accomplishments in more detail, please feel free to contact me.


[Your Name]

[Your Position/Title]

[Your Contact Information]

In conclusion, mastering the intricacies of crafting an impactful Letter of Recommendation for the USA is a crucial step on your path to academic success in the United States. Whether you are aspiring to join an Undergraduate program, a specialised MS course, or an MBA at a prestigious university, a well-composed LOR can significantly elevate your application.

AECC is committed to guiding you through this essential aspect of your study abroad journey. Our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you at every stage, from course selection to the development of persuasive LORs. We understand the nuances of what top US universities are looking for and are here to ensure your LOR not only meets but exceeds these expectations.


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