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How to Write a Recommendation for a College Scholarship

by Jake Shore

Despite the fact that providing letters of recommendation to potential colleges and universities may seem like a formality, a strong letter of recommendation from a reliable source is invaluable. There are a number of factors that contribute to the successful construction of a recommendation letter for a college scholarship.

Format

Each college and university has expectations regarding how a recommendation letter will be formatted. Follow specific length requirements, but know that the vast majority of institutions of higher education expect recommendation letters to be between one to two pages. At West Texas A&M University, it is expected that a letter of recommendation for a scholarship will be written on formal letterhead. This is not uncommon.

Relationship

The body of a recommendation letter for a college scholarship offers ample space for you to describe your relationship with the student being recommended. Inform the college scholarship committee how long you’ve known the candidate and in what capacity. Offering specific encounters and situations that link you to the candidate gives depth to your relationship. For example, if you worked with the recommended student to start a civil engagement group, explain such in your recommendation letter.

Accomplishments

Despite the fact that a college scholarship board will be exposed to the student’s resume and background, offer your own view of what the student has achieved. Highlight and outline specific accomplishments the student has achieved and why you believe they have value. For example, the body of your recommendation letter is a prime place to explain that the student rightfully won a leadership award for environmental awareness.

Honesty

Due to the vast amount of recommendation letters college admissions board members receive, it is not always easy to make one stand out. True honesty is clear, and in order for a college admissions counselor to believe you are being honest about a student and their achievements, its often wise to include adversity the student has overcome. It will be a testament to your honesty and the student’s ability to overcome difficult problems.

About the Author

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.

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