PR – LOR Advice

June 30, 2015
Contact: Shiela Locatelli Wallace, Executive Director
(831) 464-4892 or

Advice for Recommenders – Applicant Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation (LOR) can be one of the most fraught parts of the application process. A session during a recent Association of International Graduate Admission Consultants (AIGAC) conference, where members and schools discussed LORs, confirmed the challenging nature of the process. Indeed, if the application represents a puzzle that tells the story of a compelling applicant, the LOR can be toughest piece to navigate.

Candidates want their recommenders to praise them, while also wanting a letter that showcases their distinct strengths. Recommenders are happy to write the letter, but they don’t always have the time or “bandwidth”, so they ask candidates to write it up for them to sign. However, the schools insist that a candidates’ letter be written by their recommender only. Then there are the language and cultural issues. Not every manager speaks English, nor even understands what an LOR is.

It’s a minefield. AIGAC’s new initiative is intended to help.

During the AIGAC 2015 MBA Applicant Survey we asked applicants whether their recommenders asked them to draft or write their own letters of recommendation; over 30% of participants reported that at least one of their recommenders asked them. While a slight decrease over previous years, it is still concerning.

In 2015, AIGAC took on an initiative to develop a guide to help recommenders with the process of writing LORs. Applicants can now provide this document directly to their recommenders. It explains the process, discusses what the schools hope to read, and offers tips on how a client can guide a recommender in a way that is consistent with what schools have advised on their own websites.

Currently the AIGAC Advice to Recommenders has been translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Hindi and Chinese. We will continue to have the document translated into additional languages to make it easier for recommenders around the world to support applicants.

Review and download the Advice to Recommenders letter



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