Letters of Recommendation

Different scholarships require different numbers of letters of recommendation—anywhere from 3 to 8.

Selection committees want to see what others have to say about you as a scholar and a person. Your letters of recommendation need to be strong endorsements to make you competitive as a scholarship contender. Whomever you ask to write a letter for you, that person should know you well enough to be able to address your strengths and potential. Therefore, the best approach to strengthen your letters of recommendation is to be proactive, interacting with professors over time so that they can get to know you.

Director David Schug and former colleague Laura Hastings discuss how to meet faculty.

You should provide your references as much information as possible, including the name of the scholarship for which you are applying, its criteria, the date by which the letters are needed, and to whom they should be sent. You should also discuss with your references their thoughts about the scholarship, whether they recommend you apply for it, and if they know you well enough to write a strong letter on your behalf. It's also helpful to provide your references with your personal essay, résumé, and transcripts.

Fulbright Scholars Rosalie Ierardi and Tiffanie Bui share tips for requesting letters of recommendation.

Additional advice on selecting and approaching potential letter of recommendation writers is available online.