The Basics of a Great Letter of Recommendation for a Scholarship
Every student scholarship has its application guidelines you must follow. Besides maintaining good grades or belonging to a specific student group, submitting a scholarship recommendation letter is one of the most common requirements.
If you want to apply for a scholarship but have never had anyone write a reference for you, this article is all you need. Read it and discover the best tips for getting a great letter of recommendation for scholarships and grants you will ever find!
You will learn:
- Why you need a reference letter
- Who can write it for you
- What preparatory steps you should take before asking someone to write a reference letter for you
- What elements this document should contain and how to write it properly
Scholarship selection committees get thousands of applications per year and put a lot of effort into choosing the best candidates for the available awards. To stand out from other applicants, you must show what your unique skills and talents are and why you deserve to get the award more than them.
The best way to provide an objective perspective on your relevant strengths is to ask your previous teachers or educators to describe their experience with you in a cover letter. They leave positive feedback and present you in their own words. By doing so, they emphasize your qualities, ability to interact, and other important aspects of your personality.
There are many other benefits of such recommendations, including:
- Providing more information about your academic success and endorsements
- Showing that you maintain a nice relationship with people who worked with you/educated you before
- Highlighting your commitment to specific subjects and activities relevant for getting the scholarship in question
A well-composed recommendation letter can significantly enhance your chances of getting the desired scholarship, but not everyone can write it for you. Selection committees prefer to hear from your professional contacts rather than personal connections, which means that you should avoid getting a reference from your:
- Family members
- Partner or spouse
- Friends or acquaintances
- Therapists or life coaches who work with you
- Employers with whom you had a bad experience
- People who don’t know you well professionally or don’t have insight into your relevant qualities
Even though most of these people would be happy to help you accomplish your goals, it’s better to turn to more suitable resources, such as:
- Former or current colleagues from work
- Current employers
- Former employers with whom you had a great experience
- Sports coaches you have worked with
- School or college advisors or counselors
- Leaders of the organizations you form part of
- Clergy members—the choice depends on your religion, so these could be:
You should strive to get a reference from a person eloquent enough to convince the committees of your qualities. Even the recommended groups of referees may know little about the relevant skills you possess, so choose someone who has something significant to say.
Before your recommendation letter is created, it’s essential to do some preparations for a better effect:
|Inform your referee what kind of scholarship you are pursuing
|If the person writing your recommendation knows what kind of scholarships you are applying for, they will know what skills of yours they should emphasize in the letter
|Provide your referee with more information
|While composing the letter, your referee may need additional details about your previous education, activities, hobbies, or any other relevant parts of your life. Knowing more about these aspects may help them form a whole picture of you and write a more convincing reference
|Find some letter of recommendation examples for scholarships
|You can search the internet for some recommendation letter samples or fillable templates. They can serve as a writing model for your referee
Depending on the type of scholarship you are pursuing, you may also need to include a personal statement or scholarship essay that may treat the same or similar topics in your application.
Here are the steps of the writing procedure your referee should follow:
- Start with a proper salutation
- Write an introduction in which they will:
- Say who they are recommending
- Explain their relationship with you
- Highlight the qualifications that make them competent for writing a reference for you
- Compose the body of the letter, explaining:
- Reasons why they think you would be a perfect candidate for the scholarship
- Strengths, skills, and personality traits of yours they appreciate
- Relevant academic achievements—if the scholarship is merit-based
- General observations of you
- Examples of specific situations that support their opinion about you
- Summarize all their thoughts in a couple of sentences and emphasize the most powerful qualities they believe you possess
- Provide their contact details in case the selective committee members want to get more information about your qualifications
- Put their signature and stamp on the letter
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