Home > Financial Aid > College Scholarships > Scholarship Application Strategies > The Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

The Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

Without a doubt, I think the most important factor when acquiring a letter of recommendation is asking the appropriate person for this potentially valuable document. Apparently this is a primary issue, not only to me but to other scholarship providers as well, as a recent conversation with a fellow scholarship provider confirmed. It’s pretty simple to those of us in the field: "Don’t ask someone to recommend you for something about which they know nothing”. Essentially, when scholarship providers ask you for a letter of recommendation, they are asking for a written backing of your "self-nomination" and usually it is just one other opinion they seek, so don’t have Uncle Freddy the electrician vouch for you, OK? Below are some pointers that could help any student in need of a letter of recommendation.

Ask the Most Appropriate Person Available

Don’t ask your cousin or your parents’ dog walker for a recommendation. Ask someone relevant to the scholarship for which you are applying. For example, if volunteer work is among the scholarship’s criteria, ask your supervisor from the organization where you volunteered.

Be Punctual & Considerate

Don’t wait until the last minute and give the person helping you out a day or two to complete the letter. As soon as you know you are going to apply for a scholarship that requires a letter of recommendation, start putting the necessary documents together then select and ask your ideal author/supplier of this letter if they would be willing to help you out.

All But Write it For Them...OK, Write it For Them

Give your recommender enough material so that it will be quick and easy for them to oblige. Alternatively, as a colleague recently suggested to me, you can just write it for them and ask them to sign their name to it. If you take this approach, just remember that they are not likely to sign anything they don’t want to be associated with, so speak well of yourself but keep it realistic.

Request the Letter is Printed on Your Recommender's Letterhead

Just to give your letter the authenticity the scholarship provider is likely to desire, have your recommender put the letter on their letterhead.

Bring Materials - and That Includes Stamps

Whatever you do, don’t make the person writing this letter for you hunt for stamps or an oversized envelope (much less buy them!). Be appreciative of their time and effort and show it by being as prepared and gracious as possible.

Mind Your Manners

In addition to giving your recommender ample time to provide you with a good letter of recommendation, be sure to say thank you and realize this is a big favor and one that could save you from a lot of debt when you graduate college.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Should White Boys Be Heard? Dickenson Student Says No

February 19, 2019

by Susan Dutca

A Dickinson College senior did not foresee her essay in the student paper titled "Should White Boys Still Be Allowed to Talk?" going viral online or appearing on national organizations' websites. In her guest editorial, Leda Fisher argues that white, male students are taking over discussions of feminism, LGBTQ and race that she "feels are better voiced by women and minority students." [...]

Insta Influencers Involved with Student FAFSA?

February 12, 2019

by Susan Dutca

Despite the possibility of earning free money for college, some current and prospective college students do not complete the FAFSA - perhaps because the form is "confusing and lengthy." Instagram influencers and college bloggers are stepping in and have teamed up with the U.S. Department of Education to encourage more students to fill out their FAFSA with the hashtag #ButFirstFAFSA. [...]

Fall in Love with February 2019 Scholarships

February 7, 2019

by Susan Dutca

Scholarships.com has the scholarships your heart (and wallet) desire this month and we are sharing the love, beginning with this list of featured February 2019 college scholarships. Focus on scholarship love and worry less about how you’ll pay for college this upcoming semester. [...]