LOR for Germany: Sample, Tips, Requirements, Top German Universities
Just like the statement of purpose (SOP) or the personal statement (PS), a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) should tell a story about you. This story should be narrated from the recommender’s perspective highlighting all your attributes and qualities that make you an ideal candidate for the programme and university. As you are unique, thus, each of your LORs should be unique and exclusive. This means that if are submitting more than one LOR, then each LOR should discuss different aspects of your personality and abilities.
German universities may ask for signed LORs in the form of PDFs or ask for your recommender's email address and send a mail with the LOR form or link to a questionnaire or a few direct questions. These questions need to be addressed directly by the recommenders. Thus, you should always check the university requirements before preparing your application documents; as each university may have separate requirements for the LOR. Documents requirements may also differ by course requirements. You should check if the respective department requires the LORs to be in any specific format. Before submitting your LORs to the university, you should also note the word limit, for example - 200 or 400 words or 1 page. Usually, German universities ask for a maximum of two LORs from an academic background. In courses where work or practical experience is required, a professional LOR will be required. Academic LORs should be sourced from your subject teacher, school counsellor, college professor, project guide, or the Principal or Dean of the institution. Professional LORs should be taken from your supervisor, team leader/manager, reporting manager, project manager, department head, and so on. Generally, professional LORs are sourced from firms where you worked more recently carry a higher value.
LOR for Germany: Things to be included in LOR
Once you are well-versed with the university and course requirements, you should write a rough draft of a LOR. If two LORs are required, then first roughly draft a list of qualities that need to be included in both the LORs and strategically divide them among them. Make a note of which recommender can talk about which specific qualities, and then write your first draft. Here are some points which should be covered in your LORs:
- Academic prowess of the applicant
- Applicant’s participation in team exercises
- Applicant’s learning curve
- Difference/impact created by the applicant or his/her ideas
- Applicant’s interest in the subject/field
- Applicant’s reaction to setbacks or criticisms
- Applicant’s ability to face challenges or dire circumstances
- Applicant’s ability to analyse, take quick decisions, or overcome situations
- Involvement in other activities/contribution towards society/social causes
- Applicant’s achievements (professional or academic)
- Innovative and creative ability
- Leadership and/or team skills
- Communication and presentation skills
- Ability to take initiatives
LOR for Germany: Sample LOR
LORs may not be an essential requirement for the application process for all programmes in German universities. However, applicants are encouraged to submit it as it strengthens their profile, especially where practical experience is a must. Universities prefer academic LORs for course-based programmes. Professional LORs are required for programmes for which applicants must have some prerequisite work experience like business courses, and practical and research-based programmes. Let us have a look at a sample LOR for a German university.
ABC brings enthusiasm and commitment to every project that he is assigned or takes up. This is to be expected in any successful member of an entrepreneurial organization, and in this regard, he fits in well. He consistently delivers high-quality software for our organization, such as ________________.
While ABC is a relatively new member at our department, as measured by tenure, he quickly established himself as a go-to person in the ________ domain by helping others. Once such example is when he was approached for a ______________________________ assignment. ABC’s knowledge and expertise came to light during a client meeting for _________________________. He was able to demonstrate skills like ____________ and ____________, and turn the meeting in our favour.
Apart from this, ABC’s broad range of interests speaks well of his potential as a researcher, especially in bringing a wide range of theories to the research at hand. I witnessed this during _______________.
With full confidence in ABC’s abilities, I am sure that he will prove to be an asset to your department just as he has been to our firm. His intelligence, commitment, and diligence, together make him an ideal candidate for this course. Hence, I wholeheartedly recommend ABC for your esteemed institution. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Full name of the recommender
Institution/Company Name, City
You can also check other course-specific samples here:
LOR for Germany: LOR Requirements for Top German Universities
Now that you have a fair idea of how to draft an academic LOR for German universities, let us take a look at some general LOR requirements for Top German Universities:
TU Munich: TU Munich accepts academic LORs from college professors for graduate programmes. LOR submission is optional for undergraduate programmes. It is advisable to submit two or three LORs for master’s programmes. The LOR should be submitted on an A-4 sized document and only one page in length. The LOR needs to be written in English and should include the following points:
- How long has the recommender known the applicant?
- How would the recommender rank the applicant in comparison to other students?
- Is the applicant among the top 5%/10%/20% of his class?
- Other relevant information that can strengthen the applicant’s chances of acceptance
RWTH Aachen University: Applicants need to submit two LORs to most of the programmes at RWTH Aachen University. These can be either academic or professional LORs or a mix of both. LORs can be submitted in English or German language, depending on the course instruction medium. There is no word limit, however, the LOR draft should not exceed two pages in length. The following aspects should be covered in the LORs:
- Relationship between the recommender and the applicant
- Academic or professional background of the applicant
- Applicant’s achievements in the chosen field
- Applicant’s character strengths and weaknesses
- Applicant’s goals and aspirations with respect to the word done and course chosen
ESMT Berlin: As one of the top business schools in Germany, ESMT requires two professional LORs. One academic LOR is accepted if the applicant lacks enough experience. There is no specific format or guidelines given by the school. However, after uploading the LORs, applicants are required to enter the recommender’s information separately. LORs should be written in English and include the following points:
- Best qualities of the applicant
- Unique attributes of the applicant that separates him/her from other applicants
- Character weaknesses and how the applicant overcame them
- Innovative and creative approach
- Does the applicant have the required potential to succeed in the programme?
- Teamwork and leadership skills in the applicant
- Instances where the applicant showcased maturity and a sense of purpose
Note: All LORs should be written on the institution’s letterhead and should have the official seal and stamp of the issuing organization. It should also contain the recommender’s authentic signature or seal/stamp.
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