There are a number of considerations when applying for scholarships, including who should write your recommendations for scholarship applications. It’s important to choose wisely and to be considerate when asking for this favor. Read on to learn who should write your letter and how to ensure it is written in a timely manner.
Who Should Write Your Letter
Ideally, you’ll want to ask someone who knows you well to write your scholarship recommendation letter. It’s important that this person not be a close friend or family member, as these kinds of references will probably be seen as bias. They could even get thrown out, disqualifying you for the scholarship. Be sure to ask someone of a professional nature such as a teacher, coach, club adviser, work supervisor or clergy member. These people can attest to your strengths and character as they relate to specific situations.
Make It Relevant
One of the reasons for asking someone who has worked with you in a professional or academic manner to help you with recommendations for scholarship applications is that these people will be able to use examples from their interactions with you to provide the particular kind of information scholarship award committees usually desire. For example, your pastor would be an excellent reference for a religious-based scholarship because he can vouch for your dedication to your faith. Your choir teacher would be the logical one to approach for a music scholarship. Take time to inform the person about the kind of scholarship you are applying for and the eligibility requirements.
When to Ask
Be sure to ask as soon as you know you are applying for a scholarship. The first person you approach may not be able to write you a letter or may simply not feel comfortable doing so. In such a case, locating a qualified person could take some time. Also, you want to be considerate and allow the letter writer plenty of time. You may even want to ask mentors or professors, if you’re currently in college, for recommendations ahead of time so that you can keep a file on hand as you need them. This method also ensures the letter is written when you are fresh in the person’s mind. Some colleges will help by keeping letter from professors in a file to be mailed out when requested. This makes for an experience that is sure to be unbiased, as you will not have access to the letter.
Help Them Out
Always keep in mind that you’re asking for a favor. Take care to make things as easy as possible when doing so. Schedule time to talk to the person to ensure things aren’t rushed and that they understand what is being asked of them. Always ask at least three weeks before the due date. Give them everything they need to do the job. Such things include the scholarship application, your full contact information, complete application instructions and reminders of your achievements. Don’t hesitate to give a little nudge if you think your recommender has forgotten. You can simply ask if there is any additional information needed from you.
Always take time to send a thank you note to those who have recommended you. Taking time to follow etiquette surrounding recommendations for scholarship applications will increase your likelihood of securing your prize.