Tips on Asking for a Recommendation Letter for a Scholarship

by Jeannine Lowe
Scholarship recommendation letters can be crucial in earning the financial-aid awards.

Students planning to attend college often seek assistance to gain entrance into a program of study or finance their education. One way to help you meet your goal is to send recommendation letters for scholarships. Compelling recommendation letters can make all the difference in whether you are granted a scholarship award. Scholarship letters are important in the application process because they give award committees insight about the personal, intellectual and professional qualities that make you unique. By understanding and following some important tips in asking for a recommendation letter for a scholarship, you will have greater success in receiving an award.

Ask the Right People

Asking the right people for a recommendation letter is very important. Avoid asking relatives for a recommendation letter because they will be regarded as biased. Instead, choose teachers or mentors who can verify your academic, ethical, extracurricular and personal strengths. Other appropriate people to ask include employers, coaches, or pastors. Choosing people that you have formed a positive relationship with and that you have confidence will speak favorably of you will go a long way in having your letter reviewed and considered for an award.

Provide Relevant Materials

Provide necessary materials to the person who will write your scholarship recommendation letter. Supply a resume, grade transcript, written description of the nature of the scholarship, a short summary of the reason you are applying for the scholarship and the scholarship deadline. Stress your major accomplishments on the materials you give to the letter writer using a highlighter. In addition, provide any necessary forms that accompany the scholarship. Providing relevant information to your writers will guarantee that they have the most pertinent information to include in your recommendation letters.

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Plan Early

Avoid waiting until the last minute to ask for a scholarship recommendation letter. If you want a solid and well-written letter to showcase your unique qualities and accomplishments, give your recommender ample preparation time to review materials and compose your letter. The writers probably have other obligations in addition to writing your letter. The University of Maryland recommends that you ask your recommender to write your scholarship recommendation letter four to six weeks before it is due.

Follow Up

Follow up on the status of your recommendation letter. Send an email, make a phone call or stop by in person to remind your writers of the deadline for the letter. Remember to use a positive tone in your communication with the recommender. After he has confirmed sending your letter, follow up with a thank-you note or card. It is considered good etiquette to take the time to hand write a short message. Because your writer invested time and thought into your recommendation letter, you should graciously craft a handwritten note expressing your appreciation.

About the Author

Jeannine Lowe is a business technology teacher at McKenzie High School in Tennessee. She has been writing on business and marketing topics since 2007. Lowe obtained her Master of Science in education through Walden University, specializing in integrating technology into the classroom.

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