Letters of recommendation are an extremely important aspect of the admission process. This is not just, because they are demanded by the university, but also because it helps the admission panel understand a little about you from a third person’s perspective, which is like a breath of fresh air and also provides substantiation for all the claims that you make in all your other elements of application. For that reason, it is important that you know clearly what to present in your letter of recommendation. Therefore, here are some things that you should keep in mind while drafting a letter of recommendation for your engineering course.
Identifying the Relevant Specialisation and Professor:
You must have identified which specialisation you would be applying for your studies for which you need a letter of recommendation. Now it is important that that letter of recommendation be given by a professor who has dealt in that field. It does not make sense for that professor to even have had only a minor amount of experience in the field. If he is not known in the engineering community for the specialisation or the course you are applying for, your letter of recommendation might not carry much weight. Therefore, it is important that you choose your professors with care. If, however, you are changing your specialisation for some reason, then it is best you do your groundwork and ask your native course’s professor to put in a word to the professor of the relevant department.
Identifying the Script:
No professor wants to have their head on the line of their reputation tarnished- the one that probably took years to build. Therefore, they are going to be very cautious while doling out a recommendation. This does not apply to just a professor. This applies to your immediate manager under whom you have worked for any amount of time either. For that reason, when your specialisation does not match the work that you have contributed to or your degree, the other professors are going to be extra cautious about it. It is best, therefore, to sit and have a talk with them about the script that they are going to include in the letter of recommendation. It should strong enough to carry you through the process, but not too risky enough to put their reputation on the line either. While the latter is not really your consideration because the script is going to be ultimately decided by them, it helps to have a conversation keeping their inhibitions and limitations in mind too
A thank you note in this case serves another purpose beyond the obvious one of expressing gratitude- it serves them to remind to send the letter well before the deadline. Since they have taken their time out to draft the script, a thank you note offers your regards, and if they have not done it, serves to remind them that they should. In case they ask you to draft the script, this note serves to remind to forward the letter to whomever the letter should be forwarded to.