The way to the letter of recommendation for studying abroad
How do I get a letter of recommendation for studying abroad? This is a question that worries many students when preparing for their stay abroad. Ideally, there is an appraiser who knows the applicant well or with whom the student has at least achieved good results. However, the search for a suitable reference person proves to be difficult, especially at larger universities. Anyone who hopes for a letter of recommendation from a professor has bad cards.
But there are various ways that students can deal with this situation and increase their chances of receiving a letter of recommendation.
Increase chances through the choice of experts
Of course, a letter of recommendation issued by a professor for studying abroad is particularly good. If not required otherwise, one is report of a faculty or academic staff with doctorates but also sufficient. It may be worthwhile to talk to the representatives of the student council about the choice of experts. They often know which lecturers have the highest chances of success in receiving a letter of recommendation. Student assistants also have the option of looking for a reference provider at the chair.
Finding a reviewer is usually easier for first-year students. Here it is a good idea to speak to a former teacher of a school subject relevant to the course. He knows the student and is therefore able to assess his performance. Alternatively, it is possible to have a letter of recommendation issued by the rector or vice rector of the school.
Applicants who graduated from school a long time ago can, if necessary, fall back on employers or internship supervisors. It is important that the selected person can assess the professional and personal suitability of the applicant. Family members are usually not allowed to issue letters of recommendation.
Provide important information to the appraiser
It is often easier for students to find a hearing if they offer the desired reviewer their help and ask how they can support him. The following background information and documents can be helpful for the reference provider:
- CV (including contact details)
- Certificates (Abitur, if applicable Bachelor’s certificate, current excerpt from the examination office)
- Attended courses with the reviewer (name and period)
- Reference to completed term papers or seminar papers from the reference provider
- Content requirements for the letter (for example, meeting certain application requirements)
- If applicable, reference to formal criteria or linguistic requirements
- Reference to your own study interests and / or career goals that are relevant for the study program abroad
- If relevant to your studies: Proof of non-professional activities and social commitment
- In the case of an individualized letter of recommendation: addressee
- Type of delivery (post, email, sealed)
Formulate or translate letters of recommendation for studying abroad yourself
In the event that no suitable reference provider can be found, it is still possible to formulate the letter of recommendation yourself. After prior agreement, the appraiser then signs the letter.
If you write your own letter of recommendation, you can name your own strengths without falling into self-praise. Applicants work best through the catalog of requirements of the university or department, if this exists. Alternatively, it is advisable to orientate oneself on course topics, study focuses, seminar papers and the grades achieved so far.
In the event that a reviewer can only issue a letter of recommendation for studying abroad in German, applicants have two options: They have the letter translated into English by a certified translator. The referee then signs the document.
Applicants can also translate the letter of recommendation themselves. However, a professional translation often makes sense, especially when applying for a full degree abroad. Regardless of which path the applicants take, the following applies: a letter of recommendation for studying abroad must always be submitted in the original.