Tips for getting the best reference letter ~ university application.

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am! Today I am just going to jump right in to write about getting a reference letter for your university application. Some call it a letter of recommendation but I prefer to stick to “reference letter”.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is a teacher reference letter? A reference letter is a letter written by one or two of your teachers that taught you at high school or a lecturer from university or a supervisor at your work place. This letter highlights yours character, skills, academic abilities, strengths, goals and accomplishments. It is an important letter because it helps you stand out among other applicants.

There are two major types of reference letters, an academic one and a professional one. For an undergraduate application, in most cases, only an academic reference letter is required which is mostly referred to as a teacher reference because a teacher who has taught you previously should be the one to write it for you. Some universities require just one while some prefer two reference letters.

At postgraduate level however, they require two letters from applicants who have had a chance to work after their Bachelor’s degree. In this case, they prefer to receive an academic reference and a professional one. The academic one, much like the teacher reference should be written by a lecturer who taught you whilst at university. The professional one on the other hand should be written by a senior colleague where you work.

There can be slight changes for instance, if your lecturer or research supervisor relocates, s/he can still write you a reference letter. That has happened to me before when my supervisor relocated to the US to work at another university. Such letter would still be accepted because he once taught me and supervised my research.

So here are my tips below for getting a perfect reference letter.

  1. Be awesome at school, university or work! Let your character speak for you
  2. Keep in constant touch with your favorite teacher, lecturer, professor, senior colleague, supervisor or boss.
  3. Approach someone who would happily write you a reference and write great things about you and sing your praise🥳
  4. Thank them once it’s been done, you might need to approach them again for another letter of reference.

Universities request for reference letters in different ways one by asking for an already written letter with the company letter and stamp; whilst some just require contact details of your references especially where they work, position, email address and phone number.

with these tips, you should get a perfect letter of reference to support your university application. Here is wishing you all the best! Don’t relent, don’t give up. Keep trying. You will make it. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you next time. Please like and share to anyone who might need to read this. Keep well, bye for now👋

How to write a personal statement- university application

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well and staying indoors as much as possible. This post will be about how to write a personal statement. I have found that students keep asking me the same questions over and over and I find myself explaining over and over again. I also find that “please ma’am, how do I write a personal statement?” and “how many pages do I need to write?” are the top two questions that they ask so I will address those two questions with this post.

What is a personal statement? A personal statement is a statement that is personal to you. Jokes. Well, not entirely a joke because a personal statement is an essay or a write up about you describing yourself to a potential employer or an admissions officer at a university. In this case, I will write about writing a personal statement to support your university application. A personal statement gives more information about you, what you have achieved so far in your academic life and how the achievements fit into the program you are applying for. It is an opportunity to give the admissions team more insight about you, your plans and explain your choice of program, university and country to them.

There are different types of personal statements and specific ones specific to a particular program such as for Law degree or Medicine, one might need to go more in depth especially at a postgraduate level where the student would need to share more about their work experience and all. However, generally, a personal statement shouldn’t be more than one page. Ideally, one page is fine. I have had some undergraduate applicants come to me with up to three pages or four pages as their personal statement. From experience, I personally don’t have the patience to read that many pages and I don’t have to go through thousands of them so I imagine that admission officers definitely won’t have that time either. So I always suggest to them to keep it short and simple! All their points should be summarised into one page with just five paragraphs. The paragraphs should answer the following questions.

Paragraph 1: Who are you?

Here, it is expected that you introduce yourself however you feel is best but in a way that allows the reader have a clear picture of who you are. After a brief introduction of yourself, you also need to share your academic achievements and highest qualification. Write about your awards and everything you can brag about. If you were a prefect, write about it, best student in your set, put in there in a well articulated format. Have you done any volunteer jobs during/after high school? Write about it. The tip is to introduce yourself and then write about the best things about your education so far and all other academic achievements and experience you have had so far.

Paragraph 2: What are you applying to study?

What are you applying to study? How does it fit into what you have previously done before? Did you volunteer at your uncle’s company and that got you interested in studying business administration or you are very good at numbers and would like to study accounting or statistics? Do you find that you enjoy taking care of people and are interested in studying nursing for that reason? Try to explain clearly why you have decided to study what you have decided to study and what you hope to achieve by getting that knowledge.

Paragraph 3: Why the particular country?

Okay, so at this point, I’m going to have to say that I’m not a geography expert but thanks to Google, I know that there are 197 countries in the world. So why are you choosing this particular country? Is it because of their education system or because they are believed to be more friendly towards international students? Do your research about your country of choice and write your findings in this paragraph. For you to want to leave your country of origin/residence to another country, you must surely know why, right?

Paragraph 4: Why the particular university?

Again, Google is my friend and it lets me know that there are about 25000 universities all around the world so again, why are you choosing this university? Just like the previous paragraph, do your research about the institution. Read about their rankings, their awards, reviews about them and make the university feel good that you have chosen them. Let them know how their course content matches exactly what you want to learn, let them know that you like their sports facility and consider it as a plus for you while making your choice, just do your research about the university/college and match the points to your study needs.

Paragraph 5: What are your plans after your study?

What do you plan to do after your studies? Do you plan to go back home after your studies and use your knowledge to develop your father’s company? Did you receive a scholarship where you need go give back to the company that sponsored your education by working there? Do you plan to apply for your postgraduate degree immediately after your undergraduate degree? Whatever your plans are, write them here. Let them see how the knowledge you plan to gain will be used once you are done with your studies. Do not forget to read over and proofread over and over again so as not to leave any errors in your write up.

With this format to guide you, I believe you will find it easier to write your personal statement and make it as perfect as possible and speak clearly to the admission officer. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you would like me to have a look at your personal statement. My email address is contact@oluseungsc.biz and I will be happy to go through it for you. Thank you for stopping by. Be safe. Be happy. Until next time, bye for now 👋