A. Choose your recommenders carefully.
Think of the letters as an integral part of a package that will present an accurate and complete picture of you and your qualifications.
While one letter of recommendation should usually be by an academic, one should address your leadership abilities and commitment to the community if not advised otherwise.
B. Academic references should be from professors with whom you have had contact or in whose class you excelled or from a student instructors who positively graded your work.
Do not demand for recommendation letters from your colleague/classmates
C. Allow for enough time. Be sure to ask your referees several weeks in advance of your deadline to allow them plenty of time to complete the reference
D.Provide your recommenders with complete information on the programme either through a conversation with him/her or in a written statement, namely: the title of the programme which you are applying to; a brief description of that particular programme, your academic
and personal interests in the programme, and what you hope to accomplish while abroad; the date the letter is due. You may also want to provide a copy of your transcript and CV.
This information is important to the recommender because it will help him/her to write a highly personal reference that outlines why the recommender feels you would be a good candidate for the specific programme for which you are applying.
E.Ask that the letters be on letterhead if possible. Also, if you have to send the recommendation letters separate from the rest of the application form (this is often, but not always, the case),
you should provide your recommenders with an addressed envelope, stamped if necessary.
F. What if the letter does not address all of the necessary topics? This is tricky. If you know the letter writer well, you may be able to approach them, point out the problem and ask them to add some content on that topic.
If you are uncomfortable with asking for a revision, you need to seriously think about whether or not the letter is usable. Your decision may depend upon whether or not you have alternative letter writers that you can ask and how much time is left before the application needs to
be submitted. In a pinch, send the letter. It would be far worse to fail to submit the correct number of recommendation letters.
G. What if there is some other problem with the letter? The support is lukewarm or the letter is not well written. Weigh the facts. If the letter is not supportive of you, look for another writer.
If the contents won't win a Pulitzer Prize but the message of your worthiness for the scholarship comes across, it's probably okay.