How to Write Scholarship Recommendation Letter (Tips, Examples)

In the realm of international study programs and scholarship opportunities, the weight of academic and professional letters of recommendation cannot be overstated. These letters often serve as the tipping point in admission decisions and scholarship awards. As someone who has navigated this process successfully, both personally and with clients, I’m eager to share the insights that have proven invaluable in securing scholarships abroad.

What is a letter of recommendation for Scholarship?

What exactly are recommendation letters in the context of scholarships? These documents, also known as references, provide a third-party perspective on your character, abilities, and suitability for a particular study program or scholarship. They offer institutions and scholarship providers a deeper insight into your qualifications, serving as a validation of the information presented in your CV and Motivation Letter.

Who Should Write Your Recommendation Letters?

Contrary to popular belief, recommendation letters don’t necessarily need to come from high-profile individuals like deans or CEOs. What holds more weight is the direct experience and familiarity the writer has with you. Opting for professors, thesis supervisors, employers, or colleagues who can attest to your character and performance firsthand is typically more effective.

However, it’s essential to recognize that not everyone may be adept at drafting recommendation letters. Some may require guidance or even a draft provided by you, which they can then personalize and sign. To facilitate this process, consider the following tips:

  1. Provide Clear Guidance: Outline the key points you’d like the letter to address, such as your academic achievements, relevant skills, and personal attributes. Offering specific examples can further enrich the letter.
  2. Offer Templates or Examples: If your recommenders are unsure where to start, provide them with sample recommendation letters or templates. These can serve as a helpful framework for structuring their thoughts.
  3. Be Respectful of Their Time: Recognize that your recommenders may have busy schedules. Approach them well in advance and provide ample time for them to craft a thoughtful letter.
  4. Offer to Draft the Letter: In some cases, it may be more efficient for you to draft the recommendation letter yourself, which your recommender can then review, edit, and sign. Ensure that the content aligns with their sentiments and experiences.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can streamline the process of securing compelling recommendation letters that enhance your scholarship applications. Remember, these letters are not just endorsements; they’re powerful testimonials that can significantly influence your academic and professional trajectory.

Also read 15 Tips for Parents For Their Teen Post College Acceptance

Header Tips for Recommendation Letter

When it comes to recommendation letters, one size does not fit all. In the competitive landscape of program admissions and scholarship applications, personalized and targeted recommendation letters can make all the difference. To ensure your recommendation letters stand out for the right reasons, here are some essential tips to consider:

  1. Avoid Generic Letters: While it may be tempting to reuse recommendation letters from previous applications, resist the urge to submit generic letters. Admissions committees and scholarship providers can quickly discern generic content, which may detract from your application’s credibility.
  2. Clearly State the Intended Recipients: Ensure that the recommendation letter explicitly addresses the individuals or committee members responsible for evaluating your application. Avoid generic salutations such as “To whom it may concern.” Instead, personalize the greeting to demonstrate your attention to detail and respect for the recipient. For example:
    • “Colleagues of the Faculty of Economic Sciences…”
    • “Members of the admissions committee…”
    • “University of [Name]…”
  1. Tailor the Content to the Program or Scholarship: Customize the recommendation letter to align with the specific requirements and values of the program or scholarship you’re applying for. Highlight relevant experiences, skills, and qualities that showcase your suitability for the opportunity.
  2. Provide Context and Specific Examples: Encourage your recommender to include specific anecdotes, achievements, or observations that illustrate your strengths and contributions. Concrete examples can add depth and credibility to the recommendation letter, providing valuable insights for the evaluators.
  3. Emphasize Your Fit for the Opportunity: Ensure that the recommendation letter emphasizes your alignment with the goals, values, and objectives of the program or scholarship. Highlight how your background, aspirations, and achievements make you an ideal candidate for the opportunity.

Content Tips for Recommendation Letter

When it comes to recommendation letters, the content is key. Each element plays a crucial role in presenting you as the ideal candidate for your desired program or position. Here’s a breakdown of what your recommendation letter should include:

Reason for Recommendation:Clearly state the purpose of the letter by explaining why the recommender is endorsing you and explicitly mention the program or position you’re applying for.

Introduction – Who and How:Introduce the recommender by stating their position and affiliation, providing context for their relationship with you. For example:

  • “As a teacher of the course of International Relations at the National University…”
  • “David was my student for the class of…”

Description of Program or Work:Provide a brief overview of the program or the nature of the work you’ve been involved in, emphasizing its significance. For example:

  • “The Mechanical Engineering program entails approximately 20 hours of study…”
  • “Teamwork is integral to the successful completion of these activities…”
  • “It’s a position with substantial responsibility since…”

Reasons for Recommendation:Highlight your qualities, skills, and achievements that make you an exceptional candidate for the opportunity. For example:

  • “Pepe demonstrated excellent leadership skills and a strong grasp of…”
  • “During Juana’s tenure with me, she excelled in…”
  • “I commend Pepe for his integrity and dedication…”

Recommendation Reinforcement:Reinforce your suitability for the program or position by expressing confidence in your abilities. For example:

  • “I am confident that Pepe will bring tremendous value to the program at University X.”
  • “I wholeheartedly believe that Juana…”
  • “He also possesses…”

Availability for Further Inquiries:Demonstrate willingness to provide additional information or answer any questions the selection committee may have. For example:

  • “For further questions, please feel free to contact me.”
  • “I am readily available to address any inquiries you may have.”

By incorporating these elements into your recommendation letter, you can ensure that it effectively advocates for your candidacy and leaves a lasting impression on the selection committee. Remember, a well-crafted recommendation letter can significantly bolster your application and increase your chances of success.

Tips to get very good letters of recommendation for scholarship

Request Early:Time is of the essence when it comes to securing recommendation letters. Give your potential recommenders ample notice, ideally at least a month before the application deadline. This allows them sufficient time to craft thoughtful and personalized letters amidst their other commitments.

Share Your CV and Motivation Letter:Provide your recommenders with comprehensive insights into your academic and professional journey, as well as your aspirations for the future. Schedule a meeting to discuss your experiences, goals, and motivations, or share documents such as your curriculum vitae and motivation letter. This ensures that they have a clear understanding of your background and can tailor their letters accordingly.

For Academic Recommendations:If it’s been more than two years since you graduated and you’ve lost touch with your professors, approach the situation with care. Choose referees with whom you had significant interactions or standout moments. Before requesting a recommendation, re-establish contact by reaching out via email, phone, or in-person visit. Update them on your recent endeavors, share your plans for further studies, and seek their opinion. Building this initial rapport can make your request more effective and help them recall your contributions more easily.

Remember, the quality of your recommendation letters can make a profound impact on your scholarship prospects. By following these tips and cultivating strong relationships with your recommenders, you can enhance your application and increase your chances of securing the funding you need for your academic pursuits.

Aslo see College Planning Tips for High School Juniors

How to Write Scholarship Recommendation Letter: Formatting Essentials

When preparing your recommendation letter for scholarship applications, attention to detail is paramount. Ensuring that your letter adheres to specific formatting guidelines can significantly enhance its impact and credibility. Here are essential formatting tips to consider:

Compliance with Application Guidelines:Pay close attention to any specific instructions or requirements outlined by the institution or scholarship provider. This may include prescribed formats, designated writers, or instructions regarding sealed envelopes. Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in disqualification, so ensure strict compliance.

Language Considerations:If the scholarship program is conducted in English, it’s advisable for the recommendation letter to be written in English as well. Additionally, the recommender should be proficient in the language to address any inquiries effectively. However, if necessary, you can provide an official translation alongside the original letter.

Optimal Length and Font:Aim for a concise yet comprehensive recommendation letter, ideally between 1 and 1.5 pages in length. Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, with a font size of 12. Maintain normal spacing and margins to ensure readability and professionalism.

Incorporate Letterhead:Whenever possible, ensure that the recommendation letter is written on the official letterhead of the recommender’s institution or organization. This adds a level of formality and authenticity to the document, instilling confidence in the evaluator.

Include Contact Information:Provide clear and accurate contact information for the recommender, including their telephone number, postal address, and email address. This enables the evaluating institution to verify the authenticity of the recommendation and reach out for further clarification if needed.

By adhering to these formatting guidelines, you can present a polished and professional recommendation letter that strengthens your scholarship application. Remember, attention to detail can make a significant difference in the impression you leave on the selection committee.

Letter of Recommendation Template

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my pleasure to strongly recommend [Applicant Name] for [position with Company Name or acceptance to Institution Name].

I am [Your Name], a [your position] at [Institution or Company]. I have [number] years of experience working in [your industry or academic focus] and have seen many young professionals come and go. [Applicant Name] is one individual I have worked with who uniquely stands out.

During our time together, [Applicant Name] displayed great talents in [skill, trait, experience, class, etc.]. When we first met, I was immediately impressed with [Applicant’s Name], but during the time we worked together, her understanding of [key topic] grew far more than that of her peers.

[Insert personal story elaborating on key skills, trait, experience].

It’s not just her technical skills that impress me, however. [Applicant Name] was a joy to work with because of her amazingly positive attitude and [positive trait]. Her [positive trait] and [positive trait] were also necessary and valued not just by myself, but by her peers, who often relied on her to get the job done.

I am absolutely confident that [Applicant Name] would be a great fit for your [Institution/Company]. Not only will she bring the kind of skills and experiences you’re looking for in an applicant, but she will also quickly become an asset and help your [Institution/Company] grow in any way she can.

If you need more information or specific examples, please do not hesitate to contact me at [contact information]. As a recommendation letter likely only provides a snapshot of her talents and achievements, I would be happy to further elaborate on my time working with her.

[Your Name, Company, and Title]

Recommendation Letter Example

March 17, 2024

College Scholars Program

University of Tennessee
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with much enthusiasm that I recommend Joe Bloom for inclusion in the College Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee.

I was Joe’s instructor for multiple English classes during his four years at Morristown-Hamblen High School, including AP English his junior year. In our classes, Joe displayed a level of creativity, wit, and analytical thought that is quite rare among high school students.

His writing and research skills are truly phenomenal – for his major essay project in AP English, he researched and wrote a remarkable study of visual imagery in the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Joe’s wide-ranging intellect is such that he would be bored by most freshman- and sophomore-level Liberal Arts courses. He is ready to assume and excel in upper division classwork, and possesses the self-motivation to successfully create and execute an independent course of honors study.

Joe’s academic strengths are complemented by his demonstrated leadership skills – he was our band’s drum major for two years and served as Vice President of the Student Council and Editor of our high school yearbook. He is also very active in his church and in the Sierra Student Coalition.

Please let me know if I can provide any more information to strengthen Joe’s candidacy for the College Scholars Program.

He has a very special spark, and I trust he will go far in making our world a better place.


Jane Evans (signature hard copy letter)

Jane Evans