Tips for Writing and Asking for a Letter of Recommendation for Scholarships
So you found a scholarship you really like. You’ve got all your required documents except one—a letter of recommendation. What is a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, and how do you go about asking for one?
A scholarship recommendation letter is a letter from a credible adult (usually a teacher, supervisor, or mentor) that explains to the scholarship sponsor why they believe you should be chosen to receive the award. For some scholarships, this is the most vital part of the application.
How to Ask for a Scholarship Recommendation Letter
- Choose who you want to ask. Many students ask past teachers, counselors, or coaches they’ve had. Some ask their work supervisors or any other adults (except relatives) that know them and can vouch for their work ethic, or involvement in extracurricular activities or community service.
- Ask the person face-to-face. It’s always a good idea to ask someone for a letter of recommendation in person. If the person you want to write the letter for you is out of town or lives in another city, you can always send them a formal e-mail asking them if they would write the letter for you.
- Set up a meeting with them. At least a month before the scholarship deadline, set aside some time to discuss the scholarship information, the letter of recommendation guidelines, and what your goals are. This will help them write a better letter for you.
TIP: Don’t forget to thank them. Writing such a personal and strong letter of recommendation involves a lot of work. Don’t forget to show your gratitude to the person writing the letter. Sending a thank you note is always a nice gesture.
How to Write a Scholarship Recommendation Letter
If you’ve been asked to write a recommendation letter for a student, here are some tips:
- Make sure you know the student well. This helps make your letter seem more sincere and genuine.
- Set up a meeting with the student. Allow them to discuss the scholarship information and guidelines with you. If you understand what is being asked, you’ll be able to write a better letter. This also gives you a chance to ask the student any questions you may have—such as their future goals and plans—so that you can tailor the letter.
- Decide what you’re going to write about. Gather as much information about the student and the scholarship as possible, then decide what exactly you’re going to focus on. Is it their passion for what they’re studying? Their strong work ethic? How they’ve overcome an obstacle in their life? Let that guide the tone of the letter of recommendation.
- Leave your contact information. Leaving your contact information allows the scholarship committee to contact you if they have any other questions about the contents of your letter or other questions about the student.
- Let them know you’ve completed the letter. Whether you submit the letter to the scholarship provider yourself or you’ve sent it to the student, it’s always nice to let them know it’s done. Asking for letters of recommendations can be nerve-wracking. A notification will definitely help relieve some of their stress.