A letter of recommendation from captains of industries or academics speaks volumes about international students to admission officers. They highlight the academic and professional capabilities of applicants so admission officers take these recommendations seriously. In fact, they can go as far as putting a phone call through to referees. International students choosing referees should be careful who they decide upon as the reference letter goes a long way in determining the success of their applications. So here’s what international students should avoid while choosing a referee.

1. Choosing the wrong Referee

Sometimes international students choosing referees believe that having a highly placed referee recommend them guarantees an offer of admission. The implication of this is that the referee will only make general statements about the applicant whereas detailed information and insight about him/her are needed. 

2. Choosing an unobjective Referee

Admission officers are experts who read through the lines and can detect a recommendation void of objectivity. Being objective here refers to being factual, honest and realistic rather than being dishonest or making exaggerations.

3. Giving your referee short Notice

Bear in mind that most referees are busy people working on tight schedules sometimes. This is why it is advisable to give your referee ample notice. This will give them sufficient time to write you a recommendation letter before the deadline for submission. It’s ok to remind him/her occasionally but don’t burden them.

4. Using old Recommendations

International Students choosing referees should avoid using old recommendations as it could undermine their credibility. This is because recommendations are expected to have details of the recent performance of the applicant. As such, it goes to test the integrity of the candidate.

5. Writing your recommendation Yourself

This violates the requirement of the school and given the expertise of admission officers, they can tell the difference. This will come to the fore when admission officers juxtapose your essays and recommendations.

Sometimes, referees request that applicants write the recommendations themselves. If this is your case, suggest ideas to your recommender from which he can write the recommendation in his/her own words.

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