Reference letters and statement of purpose
Reference letters or letters of recommendation from employers, supervisors and professors and statements of purpose (sometimes also referred to as letter of motivation), which each candidate must write, are important parts of all application processes.
If you need to write reference letters or statements of purpose in English or German, we strongly advise against downloading and using sample reference letters or recommendation letters from the internet. Many candidates want to save time and use examples of statements of purpose, which can be found in forums, internet advisory pages and commercial agencies. The consequence is that the addressees of applications can recognize patterns and repetitions. For example: a total of 19 cover letters for the same bachelor’s degree program in the same year began with the following introduction: “My interest in economic issues awoke in middle school and was supported in the family home, but also by my excellent teachers. After it became clear that economic issues and challenges would characterize my career, I drew the consequences … “
Admission officers read up to 3,500 applications per year. If they realize that your application is a multi-used example, it does not have the best chance of success. Some even warn off publicly as did for example, a Stanford admission officer, who repeatedly read the same story. In addition, it is generally difficult to answer specific questions for a reference letter or a letter of motivation with a sample text.
Conclusion: Although it is more convenient and easier to look for ideas on the internet, you should definitely take the time to write individual cover letters or letters of reference if you value your application.
Below you will find ideas and inspirations:
Actually, a reference letter should have a strictly confidential nature. But in our experience most referees leave the job to the candidate, after which they sign the letters of reference and submit them mostly having only made minor changes. On the one hand this means that the applicant must write letters of reference (if necessary in English); on the other hand it allows the applicant to write the content and the message to their advantage. Thus, it is entirely the applicant’s responsibility to submit an essay and cover letter which coherently describe their character.
Usually two letters of reference and letters of recommendation from supervisors or employers are required for most applications. If you are applying for an MBA program, most business schools require two, some even three, letters of reference. In this case, one of them should be of an academic nature. When two letters of reference are required they should ideally come from two different people, for example, two different employers. Candidates who submitted reference letters from their own customers have had positive experiences. If you wish to apply for an international MBA, appropriate forms will need to be completed. These types of letters of reference require certain questions to be answered and specific information to be given, therefore, the search for example reference letter usually yields no useful results. In this case it only helps to develop a concept in German or English and have this checked and if necessary translated by specialists. Numerous reference letters contain tables which allow the referee to evaluate a candidate graphically.
Although admission officers know that most letters of reference (about 94%) were written or designed by the candidates themselves, one should – as in the essays – put modesty aside and describe oneself in very positive manner, especially if you are interested in studying in the United States.