Letters of recommendation can make or break your scholarship and professional work applications. Scholarship and professional organizations receive thousands of applications each year. Obtaining a strong letter of support is key to putting your application at the top of the pile. Here are some tips to how you can request (and obtain) the strongest letter possible.
- Scholarships: Answer the scholarship essay questions before asking for recommendation letters.
- Include your essay response in your request for a letter of support, this is especially important for letter writers that may not know you as personally.
- Resume (or List of Extracurricular & Volunteer Activities): Make sure this list is perfect! Use your peers and or teachers for review and submit to your recommender.
- Chose your letter writer wisely: The strongest letters come from people who know you and your work! These can include teachers, community leaders, advisers, coaches, or organization leaders.
- Be professional! When using e-mail it is easy to revert to casual language, but college is training ground for the real world, so be professional with your e-mail.
- Address the person by their title, (i.e. Dr. Jones or Professor Jones).
- Remind them how they know you if you haven’t been in regular contact
- i.e., “I was a student in your Politics 200 course Spring quarter and received an A in your class”
- Include a description of the scholarship or job application (or attach the application to the e-mail).
- Include the scholarship/job deadline and deadline for the letter.
- Be sure to state you need a “strong” letter of support!
- Lastly, thank them for their time and consideration!