Skip Navigation LinksHome > 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

Multiple Allege Sexual Harassment by Yale Doctor at Clinic

by Suada Kolovic

A former nephrology professor at Yale University's medical school has been accused of sexual harassment while he was medical director of a dialysis clinic where physicians treat patients, according to The New York Times. The professor, Rex L. Mahnensmith, worked at Yale for more than two decades. In January 2014, he was removed from the practice at the university and forced to [...]

Starbucks Expands Free College Tuition Program for Employees

by Suada Kolovic

Last year, we reported that Starbucks and Arizona State University had brewed up a program that would allow its employees to earn online college degrees at a steeply discounted rate. The initiative caused enough of a buzz that Starbucks is now expanding these efforts to provide the path to a full four-year online college degree. Since its launch last year, nearly 2,000 Starbucks [...]

SOTW: Rebecca Kirtman “Becca’s Closet” Memorial Scholarships

by Suada Kolovic

Becca's Closet was created as a legacy to Rebecca Kirtman and the project she created. Becca's Closet donates formal attire to high school girls with financial need who otherwise would not be able to attend their schools' military balls, homecomings and proms. Our mission is to continue her vision and dream of helping others. In Becca's memory, scholarships are awarded to deserving high school [...]

Follow Us:

facebook twitter rss feed