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    What exactly makes a reference good in the eyes of admissions? Are they looking for anything in particular or do they just want to read something positive about you from someone who knows you?
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    What are you applying for? They want to hear you have all the qualities that are necessary for successful completion of your course - intelligence, commitment, intellectual curiosity, organisational skills, etc. It is also an opportunity to mention anything you didn't have space to include on the application form - special personal circumstances, specific grade highlights, etc.

    Most of the time they just want to see a positive reference. The best references will quantify you somehow "XXX is the best student I have ever taught in 10 years at XXX" or "this student is easily in the top 5 I have ever tutored", etc.

    I'd recommend selecting someone with an enthusiastic personality who has a positive impression of you as they're more likely to write an exuberant reference. I would also provide them with highlights of your undergraduate career (high scoring modules, prizes, extracurricular achievements, etc) to make their task easier but also to help guide a positive reference.
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    Any academic you ask to write a reference will know very well what is required. That's the point.
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    (Original post by returnmigrant)
    Any academic you ask to write a reference will know very well what is required. That's the point.
    Also, some universities will have guidance on their how to apply page or online application etc. explaining what they want the reference to address.
 
 
 
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