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Career Planning and Development
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Letters of Recommendation: Tips for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation for a Scholarship

When requesting a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, ask early ― at least three weeks before you need the letter if possible.  When applying for a scholarship, always check the application deadline and review instructions for submitting letters of recommendation.

If you are requesting a recommendation from a faculty member, keep in mind that he or she can decline your request to write a letter of recommendation because of time constraints, or for other reasons, at the faculty member’s discretion. If a faculty member declines your request, the faculty member does not need to provide a reason. 

Include the following in your request to a faculty member:

  • Your program, specialization, and the date you graduated or expect to graduate.
  • The course title(s), section number, year, and term you were in the faculty member’s course(s).

Include the following in your request to all referees:

  • The specific name of the scholarship you are applying for and a link to information about the scholarship. 
  • Clearly ask the referee if he or she would agree to write a letter of recommendation for you.
  • Provide key points that you would like the referee to highlight in the letter:
    • Relationship to the applicant (faculty, supervisor, colleague, etc.)
    • Interpersonal and relational skills and competencies
    • Academic and work experience
    • International experience and development work
  • Logistical information such as:
  • Address the letter to  ______________                               
  • Submit the letter to ______________ or send an email to  ______________       
  • The deadline for receiving the letter is  ______________                          
  • My phone number is   ______________                          
  • Please send a copy of the letter to me at xxx.xxx@waldenu.edu
  • Attach a PDF of your curriculum vitae or resume or provide a link to your e-portfolio which includes these documents. Close with a “thank you.”

After sending the request:

  • If you do not hear back within five days, send a gentle reminder email.
  • After you receive the letter or notification that the letter was sent, immediately send a “thank you.”
  • Keep the referee informed on the progress of your application and thank him or her again for their support.
  • Visit OptimalResume’s Letter Builder to view sample requests for a letter of recommendation.