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The Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

When seeking letters of recommendation, it's important to find a teacher, employer, or other person you've worked with professionally whose familiar with your talents. Most scholarship committees value letters of recommendation when making admission decisions, especially when applicants are highly qualified. Therefore, it's important to seek recommendations from individuals who know you and can accurately describe your skills, achievements, and personal qualities. When you seek a recommendation from someone, you are requesting they verify to the scholarship committee that you're qualified for an award. If a highly accomplished individual endorses you, it can greatly impress a committee, so it's important to seek recommendations from credentialed professionals. It's not advisable to seek recommendations from friends or family members. The following are helpful tips when seeking letters of recommendation:

Ask the Most Appropriate Person Available

It's inadvisable to seek a letter of recommendation from a family member or friend. Rather, seek a recommendation from someone who can expound upon your unique talents. For example, if you highlight extra-curricular activity participation in an application, seek a recommendation from an advisor, coach, or teacher.

Be Punctual & Considerate

When requesting a letter of recommendation, ask well before deadlines. It's unprofessional to ask for a recommendation without giving the person providing it time to prepare it. Once you learn a scholarship you're applying for must be accompanied with a letter of recommendation, begin collecting the necessary papers and ask the person you're seeking a recommendation from weeks or months in advance of the deadline.

All But Write it For Them...OK, Write it For Them

Provide the person writing your letter of recommendation transcripts and other information demonstrating your abilities. Also, this simplifies and speeds up the writing process for the recommendation provider. Some letter of recommendation providers allow students to write the letter. If this is the case, do not write anything your recommendation provider would not agree with since their credibility is on the line. They will not sign anything they disagree with.

Request the Letter is Printed on Your Recommender's Letterhead

Request that your recommendation provider prepare the letter on their personal letterhead. This is very professional looking, and it authenticates your letter to scholarship committees.

Bring Materials - and That Includes Stamps

Provide your recommendation provider with stamped and appropriate-sized envelopes. This is a professional courtesy, and it demonstrates to the person writing your recommendation that you appreciate their help.

Mind Your Manners

Provide the person writing your letter of recommendation enough time to adequately prepare it, and be sure to express your appreciation by sending a thank you note to the recommendation provider. Teachers and other professionals are typically very busy, so by requesting a letter of recommendation, you're asking them to take time out of their schedule to help you.

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