What we look for in scholarship recommendation letters

Lauren Jeong Community 0 Comments

The Community Foundation’s 2018-2019 scholarship deadline is February 15, 2018. With the scholarship deadline quickly approaching, we wanted to quickly share some advice on what our review committees look for in scholarship recommendation letters. So here are some tips for scholarship applicants and their recommenders:

  1. Students should choose the right recommender. Students should select someone who knows the applicant well and can speak to his/her strengths. Students should give their recommenders a record of the student’s accomplishments, such as a resume, and a copy of the scholarship information with the eligibility criteria and preferences. Acceptable recommenders include teachers, guidance counselors, school administrators, employers, pastors and supervisors of extracurricular activities. Recommendations from relatives will not be accepted and will result in disqualification from the scholarship.

    Remember that teachers and counselors have a LOT of recommendations to write. You have a better chance of getting a well-thought recommendation by asking someone who really knows the student and who will have the time to write a good letter.

  2. Write about the student’s accomplishments, skills and ambitions. The Foundation’s scholarship recommendations are open-ended, allowing recommenders to focus on all aspects of a student’s potential and success. What impresses you most about the student? Is it how he or she sets goals and stays organized? Is it the student’s interpersonal skills? Is the student a strong team player? Does he or she have a unique story that led him or her to a specific academic or career track? Did the student overcome obstacles to get where he or she is now? What makes the student unique or stand out from other students?
  1. Be specific. We receive lots of letters that tell us what a great student someone is, but these endorsements aren’t always backed with support. What makes this student great? Is it grades or something more? Is the student detail-oriented? Is he or she particularly attentive in class? Does the student support the learning of other students?
  1. Provide an example or two. We also receive a lot of letters telling us how sweet a student is. What makes you appreciate their kind demeanor? Give us an example. Did the student help set up or cleanup for an event or project? Did the student tutor someone? Does he or she always stop by asking about your day? Did the student rally other students to participate in a community service activity?

Interested in learning more about scholarships?
Most of the Community Foundation’s scholarships for the 2018-2019 school year have a February 15th deadline. Learn more about the Foundation’s scholarship opportunities here.

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