- You have a strong reference, i.e. your professor personally knows the professor abroad.
- You have an exceptional profile.
Let’s Talk About References First
- One is a formal reference which is provided by almost every professor to their student. This reference letter is considered as a formality (just a piece of paper) in academia. The purpose of such letters is to fulfill requirements.
- The second is called a personal reference. This reference works like a miracle. Letting down a professor’s personal reference is considered rude in academia. This is the exact reason that professors are super reluctant to provide such references. In this situation, their reputation is at stake.
- If a professor is providing a personal reference that means that they are sure that you won’t ruin their reputation by: 1) Leaving the program after admission/in between your degree 2) Not meeting your new supervisor’s expectations or 3) Tainting the professor back home’s reputation in such a way that they won’t be able to recommend anyone anymore.
So, basically you can earn a personal recommendation only if you follow the golden learning rules of Imam Ghazali.
That is completely submitting yourself to a capable professor for an year or two (a very common practice abroad). Help them in their research and publish a few articles with them. This will help your professor grow confidence in you. Greater confidence, better the recommendation.
Unfortunately, spending one or two years is a very common practice after graduation all over the world. But in Pakistan, except LUMS, this idea is considered to be a joke. Believe me, it works! This is the only way you can get a proper reference. IT’S NOT A WASTE OF TIME!
Let’s Talk About Building The Profile
Completing a final year project and your thesis is the bare minimum. A good GPA without reference can’t help you sometimes as well. As a solution, Publish! In academia, it’s a famous saying, “Publish or perish”.
To be completely honest, this quote goes as much for students as much as it is for the professors. If your thesis and final year project were amazing. Internationally, it has no worth until and unless its peer-reviewed.
Work with your professor, after graduation, to publish your work in an acceptable International standard journal or conference. If your professor doesn’t have the capability to publish in high impact factor journals or ranked conferences. You can publish a lot of work at local conferences.
Note: Please make sure you don’t publish in predatory journals. If you have even a single publication in a predatory journal, your international academic career (without any exaggeration) is over. Here is a list of predatory journals: https://predatoryjournals.com/journals/
Please search up what ranked conferences mean. A ranked conference has so much worth that a single publication in a C-ranked conference could be enough to score a Masters/Ph.D. Look at where the big-guns in your area published. Go to the famous professor’s profiles at google scholar and search up the venues they are recently publishing at. Publishing at any such venue can be a breakthrough for your starting career.
If you’re doing research in a fast-paced field like computer science. Conference publication(s) will be sufficient. But for more dry areas like economics, statistics and so. You have to have a journal publication(s). I hope all of this informations helps.