What Should Be Included in a Letter of Recommendation for a Scholarship Application?

scholarship-recommendation-letterWhile personal statements, high school transcripts, and resumes are all fairly essential parts of the scholarship selection process, some organizations report that the letter of recommendation for the scholarship application is the single most important factor in choosing recipients.

Letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, employers, supervisors, coaches, or administrators are excellent objective factors that can add significant weight to a scholarship application. Since recommendation letters are written from another person’s point of view, they provide the opportunity for the selection committee to get a real glimpse at an applicant’s strengths, abilities, and accomplishments.

If you are seeking additional tuition assistance through a scholarship, read on to learn more about the dos and don’ts for obtaining an impressive letter of recommendation.

Helpful Components in a Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

First of all, although it may be tempting to run to a friend or family member when you need a letter of recommendation, the majority of scholarship providers prefer that candidates submit at least one letter from someone who can write more objectively about your qualifications. Whether the scholarship is focused on academics, employment, or community service involvement, it is recommended that you ask the person who knows you the best in this area of your life. To be more credible, you should receive a recommendation letter from someone who can discuss events or actions that are unique to your professional relationship from personal knowledge.

Since the application already includes information about grade point average, class standing, and other academic statistics, it is important that the letter of recommendation goes beyond the numbers to show what is truly unique about the student. The best recommendation letters offer a brief biological sketch of the student from the perspective of the letter writer to bring to light prominent facts about their personality or moral character. Whenever possible, recommendation letter writers should also incorporate helpful quotations from other professionals, cite specific experiences, and integrate quantified data in support of a general point.

Qualities That May Weaken a Letter of Recommendation

Due to the fact that the letter is only supposed to help the reader interpret the student’s academic record or involvement in activities, recommendation letters that provide extensive amounts of irrelevant content will often be overlooked. Letters of recommendation should never only discuss grades given in a particular course or general platitudes without appropriately citing more significant support. A letter that is nothing but a summary of the information already included within the application or transcript will be frowned upon because it gives the committee the sense that the writer really does not know the candidate well. Instead of stating the obvious, letters of recommendation hold more weight when they provide examples of challenges you have overcome, significant contributions you have made, and initiatives you have taken.

Overall, many scholarship providers require the submission of at least one letter of recommendation in order to obtain an honest outside perspective about the applicant from an objective viewpoint. Once you select an individual who knows you well, a letter of recommendation can be the most effective way to demonstrate your talents, abilities, and achievements to a scholarship selection committee. Therefore, be sure to review these tips on what to include within a letter of recommendation for the scholarship application to have the best chances at convincing an organization that you are a worthy recipient of their funding.