Regardless of whether you are an honor student, star athlete or a gifted musician, you can find college scholarships uniquely tailored to your talents. For instance, you could win a scholarship by successfully competing in the Stuttgart, Arkansas duck-calling contest. If that’s not your thing, there are many other scholarship opportunities to consider that simply request an application and letters of recommendation and do not require any duck-calling skills.
What is a Recommendation Letter for a Scholarship?
College scholarships are available from schools, corporations, labor unions, software companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations. They are for truly deserving students who meet eligibility requirements, such as good grades and impeccable character. Recommendation letters attest to the applicant's motivation, judgment, reputation and concern for others. Most students look good academically on paper, but scholarship donors like to hear the chosen student is also personable and well-rounded.
How to Get a Recommendation Letter
Ask teachers, bosses, coaches and guidance counselors to write a letter of recommendation for you if they know you well, and you are confident they will speak highly of you. When reaching out to them, explain the scholarship you are seeking, and how it would help you achieve your goals. Share why you chose them specifically to write a letter on your behalf. Because other students will also be requesting letters for college admission and scholarships, approach them a couple months before the scholarship deadline. Ask them to let you know when the letter goes out. Then send a thank you letter for their time and support. And of course, let them know right away if you get the scholarship.
Recommendation Letter for Scholarship Format
Dear Mr. Van der Waals:
I am happy to share that I will be attending State College in the fall and taking pre-nursing classes. To help with the high cost of tuition, I am applying for a prestigious Florence Nightingale scholarship. I know you are very busy, but I am hoping you will agree to write a letter of recommendation in support of my scholarship application. You were the one who helped me believe that I was capable of mastering chemistry and excelling in school beyond my imagination.
Receiving this scholarship would further boost my confidence and allow me to cut back on my hours at the hospice. Neither of my parents attended college, so they are very proud of me but unable to help financially. My goal is to be a nurse in the Peace Corps.
If you wish, you can talk about my ability to overcome obstacles, such as maintaining a 4.0 GPA even though I was hospitalized for two weeks after I was hit by a car while participating in a 10K charity run. I have attached a list of high school activities and awards that you may wish to reference, should you agree to write a recommendation letter. I will follow up with you soon to discuss further.
Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.