Definition: All graduate programs require that applicants include several recommendation letters (typically 3) with their application. A recommendation letter is written by someone who knows you well, within a professional context. The purpose is to provide the admissions committee with a professional assessment of your abilities, competence, and potential for graduate study. Most recommendation letters are written by professors who have supervised you in classroom and out-of-class activities (like research). The best recommendation letters are written by faculty who know you well and can provide examples to back up their statements. Some letters might be written by professionals who have supervised applicants in applied settings, such as internships and jobs.