A Letter of Recommendation or a LOR is usually written in running format. Some universities also have a question-and-answer format, but this is less common. A LOR usually consists of 400-500 words and fits on one page. It is divided into 4-5 paragraphs: an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs and a conclusion. Though the Academic and Professional LOR may vary in content, the structure/ format is also differentiable.
Let us now look at the structure of Academic LORs:
Introduction - The first paragraph provides the following details (of the recommender) - designation, department, college name, and university name. Also write the capacity in which the recommender has been associated with you, along with the number of years/duration of your association with him/her. In addition, mention the subjects the recommender taught you along with the semesters. In the case of the project guide, write the name of the project undertaken under his guidance and the semester when it was undertaken.
Body Paragraph 1 – In this paragraph, please discuss one key quality of the applicant, like academic prowess or research aptitude, and provide a substantial and impressive example of when the recommender observed that quality. Ask the recommender to explicitly mention what about these impressed him/her. If the recommender is your project guide, he must write about the project he guided you on and about your role in the project that he finds worth mentioning and why.
Body Paragraph 2 – Now discuss another skill or quality, for example - an innovative thinking approach or the ability to take initiative. Quote 1-2 instances from the classroom/campus, where the recommender observed these skills in you. In fact, you can provide details of just about any activity pertaining to academics that you participated in, which the recommender may have personally seen and wishes to share with the Admission Committee.
Body Paragraph 3 – Now, yet again, discuss some other qualities like leadership ability, organizational ability, team skills, work ethics, entrepreneurial skills and/or maturity. Remember to provide strong examples to support your claims.
Conclusion – At the end, please summarise your strengths discussed in the letter and strongly endorse the candidate. Do not introduce any new qualities/points in the concluding paragraph.
Conclude your LOR with details of the recommender like - Full name, designation, department name, name of the institution/organisation, City, Contact no. and his/her Email ID.
Note: Each and every detail that has been asked for in the format holds immense importance for the LOR. Thus, please keep in mind all the points while drafting the letter. Also, make sure that all three LORs are unique in terms of content. Following the above-mentioned points will add much value to your LORs.