letter of recommendation for scholarship : Tips, Template, and ExamplesWhen it comes to international study programs and scholarship applications, well-crafted academic and professional recommendation letters play a pivotal role. Allow me to share my top advice, which has aided both myself and my clients in securing scholarships and pursuing education abroad.
Understanding a Scholarship Recommendation Letter:
Recommendation letters, a crucial component of academic and scholarship applications, are documents where a third party describes their knowledge of you, their relationship with you, and the reasons they endorse your candidacy for a specific study or scholarship program. These letters provide institutions and scholarship providers with an additional perspective to assess your character and abilities, essentially corroborating the information presented in your CV and Motivation Letter.
Choosing the Right Recommender:
Contrary to common belief, recommendation letters need not come from high-ranking individuals like deans or company CEOs. What institutions seek are letters from individuals who have interacted directly with you, possessing firsthand knowledge of your character and performance. Professors, thesis supervisors, bosses, or occasionally, coworkers make suitable recommenders. It's worth noting that some may require guidance or request you to draft the recommendation letter for their review and signature.
Letter Header Tips
1. Use a recent date to avoid generic, previously used letters.
2. Include a clear title, such as "Letter of Recommendation" or "Reference."
3. Address the letter explicitly to the program or scholarship provider, avoiding generic salutations like "To whom it may concern." Use specific identifiers, e.g., "Colleagues of the Faculty of Economic Sciences..." or "Members of the admissions committee at the University of..."
Content Elements for an Effective Recommendation Letter
1. Reason: The recommender should articulate why they are recommending you and specify the program or scholarship they are endorsing.
2. Identity and Relationship: The recommender should introduce themselves, mention their position and institution, and describe their association with you. For instance, "As a teacher of the course of International Relations at the National University..." or "David was my student in the class of..."
3. In the program or work setting it is important to provide context that's relevant, to your application. For example you can mention the expectation of engineering students to dedicate 20 hours to studying or highlight the role of teamwork, in these activities.
4. Reasons for Recommendation: Share the personality traits, academic or professional skills and qualities that make you an exceptional candidate. For example you could say, "Pepe has consistently demonstrated..." or "During Juanas time working with me she excelled in..." or "I personally recognize Pepe as someone who..."
5. Reinforce the Recommendation: Conclude the letter by reaffirming that you are a fit for the program. For instance you could state confidently "I firmly believe that Pepe will bring value to university Xs program...". Based on my observations and experiences, with Juana..."
6. Availability for Questions: Express willingness to answer questions from the selection committee, providing contact details.
Tips for Obtaining Strong Recommendation Letters
1. Request letters well in advance, allowing recommenders ample time (at least a month) to compose them.
2. Share your CV and Motivation Letter with recommenders so they understand your background and goals.
3. For academic references, establish or rekindle relationships with professors if you graduated more than two years ago. Initiate contact to refresh their memory about your achievements and aspirations.
Formatting Considerations for Recommendation Letters
1. Adhere to application-specific guidelines, which may dictate format, authorship, or delivery method.
2. Consider the language: If it's an English program, compose the letter in English, ensuring the recommender can respond in that language.
3. Maintain a concise length of 1 to 1.5 pages, using standard fonts and formatting.
4. Utilize letterhead from the recommender's institution or organization for added formality.
5. Include the recommender's contact information (phone, postal address, email) to facilitate verification.
In summary, crafting effective recommendation letters for scholarship applications requires thoughtful selection of recommenders, clear communication, and adherence to formatting guidelines. These letters provide crucial insights into your candidacy, helping you stand out in the competitive world of scholarships and international study programs.