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Social Work Letter of Recommendation

Writing Guide 2023

Are you planning to undertake higher education in social work? Do you need help with writing reference letters for the same?

Yes, you heard us right! We are here to furnish you with tips, dos and don’ts, and steps to help you write a strong recommendation letter. Our team of writers has also attached an MSW recommendation letter sample to help you understand the format better. 

Table of Contents

What is an MSW Recommendation Letter? Why is it important?

Reference Letter For Social Worker - Sample

Write your LOR in 6 Steps


What is an MSW Recommendation Letter? Why is it important?

Social work is gaining prominence as a domain and more students are opting to learn the topic to advance their impact radar. Hence, in order to supplement their application form, most universities demand reference letters from students. These are to corroborate their skills, qualities and achievements. 


By learning about the student from a superior or mentor, the admission officers can validate the student’s potential as a social worker. As most of the skills are practical, the letter of recommendation is a good opportunity for the student to give a greater input to the reviewers about your field experiences. 

Questions You Should Answer Before Writing

You need to address this questionnaire before starting on an MSW reference letter:

What is the purpose of the letter?

Learn about the name of the university and the program that the applicant is applying to. You should be aware of the program requirements, offerings and the university before you start writing a recommendation letter.

What is the academic and professional background of the applicant?

Ask the applicant to share their resume or academic transcripts. You need to match these with their skills and past experiences together with connecting them with the desired program. 

What are the strengths and qualities of the applicant?

Now you need to recall the strengths and skills that make the applicant unique. You can discuss with the applicant and match the skill set which is required by the program in order to prove the eligibility.

Are there any specific writing formats or instructions?

Speak to the applicant and go through the university website in order to learn about any guidelines. Some schools have predetermined formats and guidelines for writing reference letters. Hence, you need to go through the submission deadlines, writing instructions and samples that are available in the university portal. 

What are the unique experiences that portray the applicant’s skills?

In order to increase the authenticity of the letter, you can add anecdotes and circumstances from your relationship with the applicant. These examples can be useful for proving the candidate’s capabilities and eligibility, thus creating an impression in the reviewers’ minds.

What Admission Officers Look For In MSW Recommendation Letters?

Your recommendation to undertake a Masters in Social Work should ideally include the applicant’s:
  • Intellectual curiosity and capabilities 
  • Emotional maturity
  • Leadership and team building quality 
  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility to adapt to new situations
  • Sense of accountability 
  • Concern for well being of others

Reference Letter For Social Worker - Sample

Go through this MSW recommendation letter sample to learn how it goes:

April 3, 2023


To whom it may concern,


I am writing this letter to endorse the emotional maturity and sense of responsibility exhibited by Clay Pinto. I have never met a young volunteer with such energy and commitment to responsibility until Clay joined as a Junior Associate at Healthline Foundation. Over the past two years, the sustained relationship with Clay has been a learning experience for the both of us.


Clay joined as a part-time volunteer while he was still in his final year of his undergraduate studies at ABC Social Science University. I had only heard about him through other teams until he joined my team as a full-time executive. Though his scope was limited to creating content for health camps and capacity building sessions for health workers, his curiosity never lets him sit. Clay joined me for the field execution of his presentations and wanted to learn how he could improve based on the impact created. I was surprised by his innate attitude towards social work and his urge to grow alongside. 


Clay is a smart addition to our team and brings a cheerful vibration to the office. He is very empathetic and is always there to lend a helping hand. Clay has a diverse role in the back-end and front-end teams which no junior of his experience was even ready to take up. Seeing him, my faith in the young generations to alleviate fundamental gaps in society has been cemented.


I am certain that this Master’s degree in Social Work will help Clay realise his potential. GoldAge Social Sciences University is known to incubate innovative thinkers and future leaders. Hence, this learning environment will serve as the perfect platform for Clay to polish his skills and become the impact agent he aims to be.


Please do not hesitate to connect with me in case you have any queries related to Clay’s profile. 




Angela Foley 


Healthline Foundation


[email protected]

Download More LOR Samples PDF

Guidelines for Using Samples

Since you have gone through enough number of MSW recommendation letter samples, you’d have noticed that it includes:
  • Date of writing the letter
  • Salutation addressed to the Admissions Committee. Generally “To whom it may concern” is used.
  • The introduction that elaborates on the relationship of the referee and applicant
  • Body paragraphs that highlight the skills, qualities and success stories of the applicant
  • Conclusion and summary of the skills together with your recommendation
  • Contact information

Write your LOR in 6 Steps

Follow these steps that will help you prepare a strong social work letter of recommendation:

  1. Schedule and meet the applicant. 
  2. Gather all relevant inputs and information regarding both applicant and university
  3. Do go through the university guidelines and plan according to the deadlines
  4. Structure the letter with top skills and examples to back the same
  5. Write and check for grammatical or spelling errors
  6. Submit online or by mail

Who Is Eligible To Write Your MSW Recommendation Letter?

You can request a variety of people who have been close to you during your academic or professional journey. The ideal referee is your university professor whom you have worked with closely. However, you can ask your Volunteer Supervisor, your senior or colleague at a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or even your employer. 

Dos and Don’ts in your MSW Reference Letter



Tips for Writing

  • Do not exceed the specified word limit. If not specified, keep it within a page.
  • Use a professional tone and vivid details 
  • Highlight the characteristics of the applicant that are positive 
  • Be sure to run spell check before submitting 
  • Provide specific examples and anecdotes
  • Submit before deadline


We hope we have been able to throw light on the nuances of writing MSW reference letters. We are sure that by following our tips and guidelines, you will be able to provide great reference letters to endorse aspiring impact agents.

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Mr. Sugathan

Mr. Sugathan is the founder of Professional Writing Services. He is an Army veteran who served the nation for more than two decades. During his tenure, he was involved in a lot of documentation and secretarial works. He has been drafting letters and documents on a daily basis.

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