Recommendation letters

Students who wish to continue their studies in a master programme are (very often) required to provide recommendations letters.

Even if providing a recommendation letter is not mandatory, it is a very good practice that may make a difference in getting you accepted in the programme or not.

This post gives you some advise about how to get a “good” recommendation letter that fulfils its purpose.

  • A recommendation letter must be written by someone who knows you. That means that is an instructor who is (or used to be) your teacher in a course. Wait, any instructor? It’s better to ask an instructors who teaches something that is very close to the topics/subjects of the master programme you target.
  • BSP’s tutors are the “best” candidates to provide a recommendation letter as they have had the chance to work very closely with you. This allows the tutor to get you known much more than an instructor.
  • Don’t ask a recommendation letter to someone who does not know you. This person will write a generic recommendation letter (oftern based on your current grade average and general performance on the courses you have followed). A letter like that might be more a drawback than a pro: it’ll prove you have failed to find a representative person to write a personalised letter for you.
  • When you ask for a recommendation letter, provide (i) information about the master programme you want to apply, (ii) indicate a deadline to provide the recommendation letter, and (iii) be very precise about how the letter has to be provided (in serious applications procedures the letter is directly sent to the institution that runs the master programme: i.e. you won’t read the letter).
  • Ask for the recommendation letter enough in advance, and don’t be afraid to send a reminder after 2/3 weeks if you haven’t got any news about its submission.
  • Unless explicitly indicated, try to get at least 3 recommendation letters.

Trust it helps, and all the best with your application!

Alfredo Capozucca

Vice study programme director.