Requesting Letters

Most scholarship applications required at least one letter of recommendation, so it is important to know how to approach professors, advisors, bosses, and others to write a letter.

Choosing Your Letter Writers

If you have developed significant relationships with several individuals, you will need to decide who to ask for letters. Knowing how to ask for them in a professional manner will increase your chances of receiving a carefully considered letter.

  • Carefully read your application materials to determine the preferred letter writers-e.g. professor, advisor, etc.
  • Choose individuals familiar with you and your work-academic or volunteer. You may be tempted to choose someone with a more prestigious title or position, who does not know you as well, but this will be evident to the scholarship committees.
  • Choose someone familiar with your recent activities (2-3 years).
  • Avoid asking family, friends, ministers or high school teachers.

When Requesting Letters Always:

  • Give your writers plenty of time. (If possible, submit your requests at least three weeks before the deadline.)
  • Provide a draft of your scholarship essays-especially the personal statement.
  • Be polite, but always check with your writers well ahead of the deadline.
  • In addition to your verbal request, provide a written request that clearly indicates:

       - Full name of the scholarship

       - How the award fits your academic and personal goals

       - Deadline for submission

       - Destination address

       - Details about the scholarship:

             - Selection criteria

             - Scholarship goals

             - Structure and amount of the award