A scholarship letter of recommendation is a critical part of a scholarship application. So, why is this essential, especially after filling in a gruelling scholarship application, including that nerve-racking scholarship essay?
The reason is simple – an excellent scholarship letter of recommendation paints a strong picture of you as a person overall. When the scholarship letter of recommendation gives a strong endorsement of why you are a good fit for your dream university – through skills, character or other forms of contributions, you are more likely to be considered for the scholarship.
The million-dollar question is: how do you go about obtaining a scholarship letter of recommendation?
Here are four tips that could help you:
Scholarship letter of recommendation tip 1: Identify who should write this letter
Your best choice is someone who knows you well – this could be a teacher, an employer or even mentor. The most ideal recommender is your teacher because you are applying for a scholarship to study in a university, and universities usually want to know what you are like in school.
Besides your academic performance, your teachers are likely to be in a better position to share details about your contributions or involvement with the school (i.e. your extracurricular activities). If you are applying for a masters programme, your teacher or lecturer could write about your research skills and comment about your suitability to take on higher education studies.
Your employer or mentor can talk about your contributions to the company or organisation, especially if you have taken on a leadership role.
If they do not know you well enough, they may decline to write you a recommendation letter, so it is best to prepare a list of potential recommenders just in case. Some scholarship applications may even require more than one letter of recommendation, so it would be best to have some backups.
Scholarship letter of recommendation tip 2: Plan for this early
A common mistake is to leave this letter till the last minute. When it is time to submit the application and you do not have this letter in hand by the stipulated deadline, you may not be able to land the scholarship of your dreams.
It would be best to contact your recommender at least four weeks before the scholarship letter of recommendation submission deadline that gives them sufficient time to write a powerful letter.
Be sure to ask about their schedules well ahead of the submission deadline to ensure that they can meet it.
Scholarship letter of recommendation tip 3: Give useful details
Once you have locked in a recommender, you will want to provide them with sufficient details such as, who — and how — to send the letter to, the deadline, and so on.
Even better is if you can explain to them what is needed in the scholarship letter of recommendation – for example, your academic suitability, your research skills or even your achievements.
It would also be helpful to send your recommender a copy of your CV and academic transcript; that will help them write a more convincing letter to support your scholarship application.
Scholarship letter of recommendation tip 4: Thank them
Everyone loves a “thank you” – that makes them feel valued and happy to contribute in whatever way possible. After your recommender has taken the time to craft and submit that important letter, remember to thank them for their help and time in writing your scholarship letter of recommendation.
This will let them know you appreciate them, and they will be more willing to write another letter in the future. If you have been selected for an interview, or have won the scholarship, inform them too – as the saying goes: happiness shared is doubled.
We hope these tips will help you achieve your dream scholarship. All the best!