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Sample Letter Of Recommendation For Scholarship

Sample Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship

A Sample Letter of Recommendation for scholarship should be held in the same regards as a Letter of Recommendation. It should be specific to your relationship to the student and include a detailed, honest appraisal of their abilities. According to an admissions officer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, (2014) "a really great recommendation makes the person jump off the page and really come alive. I feel like I know them...If I walked into a room, I could almost pick out this person." To write a strong sample Letter of Recommendation, follow these expert tips.

Know When to Say "No"

Your letter will be the model that the selection committee will use to contrast the student against other applicants. Therefore, it is imperative to write a strong Letter of Recommendation (Tolar & Bauer, 2015). To write a strong letter requires a detailed scholarly and personal background, which will be impossible to achieve if you are not familiar enough with the student beyond just recorded grades.

According to Tolar & Bauer, other factors that may hinder your letter of recommendation include:

You do not have the appropriate time or resources to comprise an effective letter.
The student approaches you
in an unprofessional manner.
You are not emphatically in support of the student.
You simply feel that you are not the best person to write the letter.

If you do not feel you are the best candidate to write the letter, then direct the student to a more befitting reference.

Reflect Before You Write

Reflection is most important act of the process (Admissions officer at Standford Graduate School of Business, 2014).

The application questions will guide your
Recommendation Letter. Once you have a sense of what the questions are, you should sit back and reflect. This is also a good time to assemble information on the student, such as a resume or papers or exams from your course, which will help give you a clear understanding of what makes the student unique, so you can bring the student to life in the minds of the selection committee.

The Contents
of a Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation should be centered around the specific purpose for which it is developed (Verba, Harvard University, 2006). For example, a Letter of Recommendation comprised for a non-academic program should focus on a wide range of experience and qualities, whereas a recommendation written for an academic program, should focus on scholarly details.

Furthermore, Verba suggests the contents of a strong Letter of Recommendation should:

Immediately identify yourself and your knowledge of the student.
Assess the student's academic abilities. Illustrate the student in terms that display their distinctive, strong or individual talents, and be prepared to provide concrete evidence of these qualities.
Offer a comparative viewpoint of the student's ranking. For example, was the student the most clear thinking? Academically curious? Articulate?

Avoid the Use of Superlatives

Avoid the heavy use of generic phrases, which can take away from the strength of your letter. For example, do not use phrases such as "he is a great team leader" or "she is a great team player," etc. Instead, use clear, concrete examples to display the student's abilities.

When comprising your recommendation, do not just include what the student does well, but also include constructive feedback on the qualities you believe they could work on. According to an admissions officer at Standford Graduate School for Business (2014)"If you give the highest rating for every single question...well, that makes it tough for us to get an accurate picture of that individual..."

If you do not have enough information to answer certain questions presented on the application, say only what you are at privilege to say, to preserve the integrity of your recommendation.


The final paragraph of your letter should provide a short synopsis detailing the main reason for your recommendation. In other words, why the student would be a good applicant to satisfy the qualifications of the scholarship program.


Bauer, Mark, Fellowship
at Yale University. Tolar, Mary, Deputy of the Truman Scholarship Foundation (2015). University of Washington. Writing Strong Letters of Recommendation. Retrieved from

Standford Graduate School of Business. (May, 2014). Advice for Recommenders: How to write an effective Letter of Recommendation for applicants to the Standford MBA Program.

Verba, Cynthia. (2002-2006). Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University. GSAS Guide for Teaching Fellows on Writing Letters of Recommendation. Retrieved from

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