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Scholarship Recommendation Letter Template – with Samples

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A scholarship recommendation letter provides information regarding the character, qualities and achievements of a candidate which fulfill the basic criteria of a chosen scholarship. The author (usually a teacher or counselor) will need to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the scholarship’s requirements in order to match the letter more precisely to the terms of reference of the award. Before writing their letter, the author should also interview the student regarding any relevant extra-curricular activities the candidate is involved in or any awards they may have received that the may be relevant.

Most scholarships are awarded to students with specific commitments, achievements, and goals. They are usually tailored to students pursuing a specific field of study, such as engineering, math, biology, or literary studies. However, a scholarship may instead be based upon athletic performance or the need for financial aid. By being aware of the guidelines and expectations of the scholarship, the author will be able to better validate their student’s qualifications to receive it.

Table of Contents

Who to Select?

Most often, this letter will be written by a teacher, a professor, or a counsellor. However, depending on the scholarship criteria, an employer or athletic coach may also be an appropriate, or required, choice. What is most important is that the author understands the scholarship requirements and will be able to use their personal relationship to the candidate in order to justify their personal recommendation with specific examples.

How to Write (Format)

A scholarship letter of recommendation should fill an entire page (approximately 300 – 500 words) and contain a letterhead, an introduction, 2 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Letterhead

At the top left-hand corner of the page, the author should include the following information:

  1. Date of Writing
  2. Full Name
  3. Title
  4. School Name
  5. Street Address
  6. City, State, Zip Code
  7. Preferred Contact (optional)

Introduction

The introductory paragraph will briefly introduce the candidate, state the scholarship for which they are recommending the candidate for, and describe the nature and length of the author’s relationship with said candidate. Specific details of the candidate’s suitability will be described in the body paragraphs, so the introduction only needs to be 2 or 3 sentences in length.

Example #1

Dear Admissions Committee,

I wish to recommend Angela Bursette for the FNSA scholarship program. As a counsellor at Rosehip High School, I have worked closely with her for the past four years and have developed a great deal of respect for this remarkable young woman during that time. Despite having financial hardships to overcome, she has excelled in all academic fields.

This sample has a counsellor writing on behalf of a student who has special financial needs. The author has clearly illustrated which scholarship they are recommending the student for and the length and nature of their relationship. In the third sentence, the counsellor introduces the candidate’s financial needs, while also stating that the student has not allowed their difficulties to hinder their education. By making this statement they are implying that financial aid would only enable the student to excel further and that they are a worthy candidate.

Example #2

To the Jim Norton Memorial Scholarship Committee,

I am writing this recommendation letter on behalf of my student Joe Nagora to recommend him for the Jim Norton Memorial Scholarship. I have become very familiar with him during the past two years as his Biology teacher at Oak Ridge High School.

In this example, the author (a teacher) simply states who they are recommending for which scholarship and the nature and length of their relationship with the candidate.

Paragraph #1

In the first body paragraph of the letter, the author will describe the ways in which the candidate fulfills the criteria for the scholarship. Here, the author can use quantitative examples such as the candidate’s grades and academic performance to demonstrate that the candidate is a stand-out student. By demonstrating that they understand what sort of candidate the scholarship committee is looking for, the author will make their recommendation worthier of consideration. This paragraph should be approximately 3 to 5 sentences in length.

Example #1

I personally feel that the GNCA scholarship should go to someone who possesses strong leadership qualities and a genuine concern for their community. Fernanda fits these guidelines perfectly. Last year, she acted as Student Body President, and this year she took on the primary responsibility of organizing the school’s annual talent show. 

In this sample (written by a teacher) the author clearly states their understanding of the scholarship guidelines, lists examples of how the student fulfills these criteria, and expresses their qualitative assessment of the student as being a high academic performer. All of their examples would need to be expanded upon in the next paragraph in order to make them more convincing.

Example #2

Jared’s principal duties as a Supervisor/Technician have been managing a team of workers, maintaining equipment, and the overseeing and management of ingoing and outgoing shipments of supplies and merchandise. This is a lot of responsibility for someone so young, and Jared has risen to the occasion with authority and ease. Your scholarship is meant to aid individuals who have the ambition, work ethic, and most importantly, the leadership skills to excel in business. Jared quickly moved up the ladder here at Trafford Publishing by displaying initiative, reliability, organization, and an outstanding ability to manage his team.

A scholarship recommendation letter written by an employer is sometimes required by a scholarship committee. A candidate’s employer will most likely be unfamiliar with a student’s academic performance, and therefore will have to provide a personal assessment of the student’s character, describe the candidate’s work responsibilities, and provide examples of how the student’s work habits translate to the scholarship guidelines.

Paragraph #2

Having expressed that the student is a suitable candidate in the previous paragraph, the author should now use concrete examples to support their assessment. For instance, if the first paragraph states that the student meets the academic requirements in a particular field of study (e.g. biology, literature), the second paragraph could follow up with examples of the student’s relevant schoolwork (e.g. lab work, essays) or awards. Depending on the number of examples that the author is able to use, this paragraph can run from 3 to 5 sentences in length.

Example #1

I am familiar with Jane’s education and career goals, and I know that without financial aid she may not be able to achieve these aspirations. Jane is capable student, and more importantly, she is driven by a desire to do good for her community. She has volunteered for the school’s special needs program and is a member of her local park’s EcoWatch group. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this scholarship and I wholeheartedly support her application.

This example features a positive character assessment of the candidate and expresses their financial needs. Scholarships are often awarded at least partially based on financial need, so it is important to address this point if possible.

Example #2

The best example of Ivan’s leadership skills that comes to mind is the manner in which he has taken charge of the children’s tours of our facilities. In addition to the biological tracking and preservation work that we do here, we also give tours to elementary and junior school classes. When I tasked Ivan with performing a class tour, I was immediately impressed by his ability to quickly and efficiently prepare himself. Personally, I struggle with public-speaking, so I was all the more amazed by the confidence and precision with which Ivan conducted himself while leading the class around our observation facilities.

In the above example, a mentor/supervisor uses one convincing example to illustrate the candidate’s efficiency, initiative, work-ethic, and leadership skills. By expanding upon how the student dealt with one situation, they are able to concretely illustrate how the candidate is able to bring their many positive attributes into play when given a challenge.

Conclusion

A scholarship letter of recommendation should end with a concluding paragraph which emphasizes the author’s endorsement of the candidate and leaves an invitation to contact the author by email or telephone (a preferred contact, not necessarily both). The author will also need to sign the letter by hand in order to certify its authenticity. This conclusion should leave the reader with a deep impression of the author’s confidence in the candidate and will generally run from 2 to 4 sentences in length.

Example #1

It has been a joy to work with Barbara and I am proud to be able to provide this letter of recommendation for the scholarship program you represent. I can be reached at if you have any question’s regarding Barbara’s application.

Regards,

____________

Frederick McKinsley

Here, the author concludes their letter on a positive note and offers a clear invitation for further communication.

Example #2

Ashley is an ideal candidate to receive this scholarship, as I am sure you can agree, and she deserves this opportunity to pursue her academic goals. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information.

You may reach me at:  or

Sincerely,

____________

Ms. Susan Preston

This author concludes by professing their confidence that their high opinion of the candidate will be shared by the person/committee awarding the scholarship.

Sample 1

April 19, 2017

Frank Jacobs
Literature and English Teacher
Franciscan High School
31 Lewis Street
Bridgetown, CA, 90210

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write this letter in support of Jan Stewart’s application for the Big Sur Poetry Scholarship. I had the pleasure of teaching Jan in her 11th and 12th grade English Literature class at Franciscan High School. She has always impressed me with her ability to be articulate difficult concepts and understand dense texts. Jan’s sensitivity to the nuances within literature, and her passion for reading and writing, set her apart both as a student and as a writer.

During her senior year, Jan produced an extraordinary thesis paper on creative identity development, in which she compared works from three different time periods and synthesized cultural and historical perspectives to inform her analysis. When called upon to give her thesis defence in front of her peers, Jan spoke clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in a thoughtful way. While she shows much promise as a well-rounded liberal arts student, it is poetry which most interests Jan. She publishes her poetry in our school’s literary magazine and has also had her work published in online magazines.

Throughout the year Jan was an active participant in our discussions, and she always supported her peers. Her caring nature and personality allow her to work well with others in a team setting, as she always respects others’ opinions even when they differ from her own. Throughout the year, Jan demonstrated this openness to and empathy for the opinions, feelings, and perspectives of others, along with shrewd powers of observation, all qualities that makes her outstanding as a student of literature and aspiring poetess.

I am certain that Jan is going to continue to do great and creative things in her future. Her work, as I am sure you will agree, demonstrates an impressive depth for a young student. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at:

Sincerely,

_____________

Mr. Frank Jacobs

Sample 2

April 19, 2017

Charles Mingus
Mathematics Teacher, Charter High School
333 Rolly Ave
Furtherville, UT, 60210

To The J.D. Smith Memorial Scholarship Committee,

It is with great pleasure that I recommend Prince Hedges, who I taught in my 11th grade math class, for the J.D. Smith Memorial Scholarship. Prince demonstrated tremendous effort and growth throughout the year I taught him and always brought a focused energy to class. He has that combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve that’s rare in a high school student, but so essential to the learning process. I am confident that he will continue to display the same commitment and diligence in everything he does. Your scholarship is intended for students who have had a rough start in life and who need financial assistance to realize their academic dreams. Prince deserves to be able to go to the college of his choosing, and this scholarship will enable him to do so.

Prince would not describe himself as a math person. He’s told me on several occasions that he can’t get his head around a mathematical problem. I always smile when he said this, because he ultimately always found the solution on his own with only a faint hint of which direction he should be thinking in. Where so many others have given up, Joe maintained a high average throughout the year. He stayed after school for extra help, got extra tutoring at the nearby college, and asked questions in and out of class. Prince has truly demonstrated a growth mindset, and he inspired his peers to adopt that valuable perspective, too. Prince helped contribute to our classroom environment to be one where all students can feel supported and able to ask questions.

Prince’s strong belief in his ability to acquire new skills and improve through practice was likely shaped by his years as a hockey player. He’s played all through high school and is one of the team’s most valuable players. In his final project for our class, Prince completed an impressive statistics report on defence versus offence in NHL teams and made a strong case for the defence being the dominate deciding factor of every Stanley Cup winner since the year 2000. While he initially described himself as not being a math person, Prince found a way to make the subject come alive for him in a way that he was personally invested in. As a teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to witness a student make this kind of academic and personal progress.

Prince is an outstanding student and individual who supports others in and out of the classroom. He was a pleasure to have in class, and his positive attitude and belief in himself, even in the face of difficulty, is an immensely admirable asset. I’m confident that he will continue to demonstrate the same diligence, perseverance, and optimism that he showed myself and his peers. I give my highest recommend for Prince to receive the J.D. Smith Memorial Scholarship. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions at

Sincerely,

__________________

Mr. Charles Mingus

Math Teacher

Charter High School

Sample 3

April 19, 2017

Helen Bridgeman
Teacher, Fallow High School
51 Long Street
Fallow, CA, 90210

To The Oakridge Scholarship Committee:

I am writing this letter to recommend Francesca Stevens for the Linda Williams Scholarship. I was her Social Studies and History teacher and have closely followed her academic progress during past three years.

As a student, Francesca demonstrated a love of learning and the level of commitment necessary to succeed in college and beyond. I am happy to be able to provide this recommendation for such a deserving student. As her academic record attests, Ms. Williams has maintained an A grade average across the board during her study here at Fallow High School. I have great respect for Francesca and truly believe that she is a deserving candidate that you will be proud to have representing your college.

Francesca has distinguished herself as an incredible young writer through her work in my classes as well as in her creative and essay writing in English and Literature. This past year she wrote a history paper on the Spanish Renaissance which was one of the most impressive pieces of writing that I have ever encountered in my 23 years of teaching. In addition to having firsthand knowledge of Francesca’s academic commitment and talent, I am also familiar with her educational goals, as well as the challenges she will face when it comes to funding college tuition. I cannot think of anyone more deserving and I wholeheartedly support her application. 

I feel certain that you will be just as impressed with Francesca as I am. As an educator who is committed to helping deserving students succeed, I strongly encourage you to consider her for the Linda Williams Scholarship. Please do not hesitate in contacting me with any questions that you may have, and let me know if I can provide any additional information in support of this deserving student. You may reach me at  or

Regards,

_____________

Helen Bridgeman



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