How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship Applications (With Sample Letter 2022)
Learn how to write an impactful recommendation letter for college scholarships, top tips for recommenders, the standard format, and more.
A recommendation letter for scholarship applications can often make or break your chance at the funds. The letter should describe your character, skills, personality, and everything positive that would make a college desire you as a student.
But how do you start writing a scholarship recommendation letter — what’s the format, what should you include, and who do you ask to write it? Don’t worry; we’ll help you prepare for obtaining a recommendation letter for scholarship applications and share exactly what you should include in it to heighten your chances of success! Plus, we’ll add a sample letter of recommendation for scholarships that you can copy directly, to make it easier for your reference.
Let’s start with the basics: what should you include in your letter of recommendation?
What to Include in Your Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship Applications
Any letter of recommendation for student scholarship applications should include the following:
- Overview: A brief summary about how the recommender knows the candidate, the nature of their relationship, and how long they’ve known each other.
- Competency and Criteria: An explanation about how the applicant meets all the criteria necessary to obtain the scholarship
- Academics: Any information about the candidate’s academic achievements or habits. If the recommender’s relationship with the candidate is outside of the classroom, they could mention the candidate’s voiced passion or affinity for schooling.
- Stand-out Skills: Information about the candidate’s best qualities and skills, not necessarily subject-related skills. For example, a recommender may discuss the candidate’s leadership and interpersonal skills from their perspective as the candidate’s volunteer leader or basketball coach.
- Growth and Potential: Any evidence that the candidate has improved their skills and knowledge over time, and foreshadowing their potential to do so in other fields as well.
- Contact Details: Phone number and email address for the college or organization to reach the recommender.
The ideal recommender should have some exposure to all of the above throughout their relationship with you. But how do we put all of the above information together into a letter? Let’s take a look at structure in the next section.
Structure for Sample Letter of Recommendation for Scholarships
Here’s a sample structure for a letter of recommendation for scholarships:
- Header: Address, Date, Subject
- Address the Scholarship Provider: Address whoever will receive the letter.
- Intro: Brief history of your relationship with the candidate.
- Body Paragraph #1: Describe the scholarship criteria and directly explain how the candidate meets the criteria.
- Body Paragraph #2: Go into more detail about the candidate’s experiences and stand-out skills, including academics, extracurriculars, personal character, and more.
- Body Paragraph #3: Add a third paragraph if you need to elaborate more.
- Conclusion: Summarize letter highlights and invite the reader to get in touch with any questions.
- Contact: Sign the letter and add contact information.
Who Can Write a Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship Applications?
Your first thought for the ideal writer might be a high school teacher or professor. But there are others who may be great options for your letter:
- Sports coach
- Volunteer leader
- School principal or dean
- Director or head of a certain academic department
Depending on the nature of the scholarship, there may be more options for the writer. For example, if the scholarship is for students that have overcome significant obstacles in their childhood, a relative or social worker could be a good writer for the recommendation.
Before you ask someone to write your letter, check out our article on how to ask for a letter of recommendation.
Quick Tips for Letters of Recommendation for Scholarships
Almost there - now we just need to add some final polishing touches to the letter. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you review:
- Don’t over-explain or write too much content. You want to entice the reader, not bore them.
- Edit and have someone else proofread your letter if you can.
- Don’t use cliches.
- Don’t plagiarize.
If you’re writing a letter of recommendation for a student, we know it’s easy to get stumped even with all the information above. That’s why we put together a recommendation letter sample for scholarship applications for you to copy and paste and replace names and information as necessary.
Recommendation Letter for Scholarship Example
Here’s a letter of recommendation for college scholarship sample for you to consider:
El Dorado High School
Department of Music
El Dorado High School
California - 95667
Dr. Henry Miller
Director: Davidson Fellow Scholar
Nevada - 89102
Dear Dr. Miller.
I write this letter in reference to your Davidson Fellow Scholarship that recognizes high-achieving students in the fields of science, engineering, technology, mathematics, music, and literature. It gives me great pleasure to recommend my student Natasha Ferris for your scholarship program. She has been my mentee for the last three years, with an exemplary track record.
Natasha is very passionate about her music. She is an epitome of dedication, diligence, and punctuality. I am delighted to inform you that Natasha is the reigning champion of the HAL Leonard Vocal Competition, and she has been winning this contract for two consecutive years.
Always the one to lead a musical event at school, Natasha is a team-player. She selflessly extends her hand to offer help and is a favorite among students and staff. She is a source of inspiration for her entire school.
It is quite astonishing to realize that despite her substantial financial crisis, Natasha has grown so much mentally and academically. This certifies her extraordinary character, and her desire to move forward in all circumstances.
As a proud mentor, I would be proudly obliged if you’d kindly consider her application for your scholarship, for she is a visionary who should hoist your institution to great pinnacles.
Make the above letter a recommendation letter for scholarship PDF version by either copying and pasting the text into a Word doc then converting it,
Here’s another sample letter of recommendation for scholarships that you can copy and paste, and adjust with different specifics.
From: Mrs. Smith
XX, Department of X
State, Zip Code
To: Mr. X
X of X Organization
Name of Scholarship
Dear Mr. X.,
I’m Mrs. Smith and I am writing this letter to recommend my student, Charlie, to your organization’s scholarship program.
I’ve known Charlie for four years, and watched him excel from a timid grade-9 student to a confident, senior with a particular talent for mathematics and chemistry. Charlie is passionate about math and his level of dedication to expanding his knowledge is on par with your scholarship’s criteria. I think he will be an incredible asset for your program not only because of his academic achievements (though they’re quite impressive, with a 3.9 GPA), but also for his determination, work ethic, and personable character.
Your scholarship criteria describe the perfect candidate as someone who has grown into a leadership role over the years, and I see that in Charlie through his commitment to his academics, which are so impressive that he even tutors the other students for free.
I can only continue to see more growth from Charlie, as his college career is sure to continue his great few years in high school. I can’t recommend him enough for this scholarship.
Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions.
A letter of recommendation for scholarship applications is an integral component of any student’s scholarship plans. Try your best to secure a writer ASAP and give them ideas of what you think is best to include.
Feel free to check out the samples above for some ideas, and to continue your scholarship planning by reading our article about how to ask for a letter of recommendation.