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What common mistakes should be avoided in LOR?

Strong recommendation letters can significantly boost your application’s credibility. However, some pitfalls can weaken their impact. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Lack of Specificity: Generic praise holds little weight. Encourage recommenders to provide concrete examples that illustrate your achievements and skills. Quantify results whenever possible!

Unrealistic Portrayal: While positivity is necessary, a letter that paints an overly rosy picture can appear inauthentic. A balanced perspective that acknowledges areas for improvement shows self-awareness.

Grammar and Formatting Errors: Typos and formatting inconsistencies create a negative impression. Ensure the letter is well-proofread and adheres to any specific formatting guidelines.

Focus on Irrelevant Information: The letter should highlight achievements and qualities relevant to the program or position you’re applying for. Avoid irrelevant personal details or tangents.

Lack of Objectivity: Objectivity can be compromised when recommenders are close friends or family. Choose someone who can provide a professional assessment of your skills.

Rushing the Process: Give your recommender ample time to write a thoughtful letter. Rushing them can lead to a generic or incomplete document.

Not Proofreading (on Your End): While you can’t write the letter, politely ask your recommender if you can proofread the final draft for typos or grammatical errors before submission.

~ By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure your recommendation letters effectively showcase your strengths and increase your chances of success.

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