When you begin applying for free money for college, scholarship providers may ask for recommendation letters from your teachers, community leaders, or friends. Recommendation letters are a formal, candid way for scholarship organizations to learn more about your character and leadership skills. This third-party letter can make a huge difference in whether you receive a scholarship. So, don’t take it for granted! Here are a few tips to help you on your recommendation journey.
1. Ask Individuals Who Know You Well
Recommenders should be able to discuss your unique talents and skills. The best recommendations are written by people who know you on a personal or professional level. Teachers and guidance counselors are great sources. You also should consider community leaders, coaches, church members, and past or current supervisors.
2. Give Your Recommender Time & Information
Your recommender is providing you with a great service. Treat him or her with respect and make it easy for the individual. Provide ample time for the letter to be written. Give at least four weeks advance notice. Also, give your recommender information about you. For example, supply the person with a resume, list of extracurricular activities, or chart of your scholastic achievements.
3. Verify That Your Recommender Followed the Scholarship Rules
Ensure that your recommender is giving the scholarship providers what they want. Schedule an appointment to discuss the recommendation letter fully. Talk with the individual about what details should be included in the recommendation (i.e. community service activities or academic accomplishments). Sometimes, the letter will have a page limit. Double-check the page length with the recommender. A meeting with the individual will eliminate careless mistakes in your scholarship application.
4. Thank Your Recommender
Whether you receive or don’t receive the scholarship, you should thank your recommender for his or her time and effort to help you with the scholarship application. You many need to ask this person for additional letters in the future. Send a simple note saying, “Thank You!”
As you start your scholarship search, you will learn that you will need help from others to be successful. Tell us about your experience with recommenders. Was it good or bad? Leave us a comment.
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