Most international study programs and numerous scholarship calls require academic or professional letters of recommendation. Because of this, I will give you the best advice that has helped me and my clients study abroad and win scholarships.
What is a letter of recommendation for a Scholarship?
A letter of recommendation or reference is a document in which a third party describes who he is, how he knows you, and why he recommends you for a particular study or scholarship program.
So the institution or scholarship provider can verify your character and performance and get a second opinion on what you propose. Other documents (such as your CV and Motivation Letter ) are used to confirm the information provided in your recommendation letter, and additional information is obtained by examining it.
Who should write Recommendation Letter for a Scholarship?
According to a common misconception, letters of recommendation do not need to come from ‘important people’ such as your dean of the faculty or your general manager at your former workplace.
People who know your personality and performance well want to write letters about you. Therefore, when selecting a reference, you should select professors, thesis supervisors, bosses or in some cases co-workers.
Please note that these people may not know how to write a letter, may want to make sure they give you what you need, and may not have the time to write one. Consequently, you will be asked to give them guidance and in some cases to act as their guide. Make them read and sign the recommendation letter. As a result, you can share and/or consider the following tips:
Header Tips for Recommendation Letter
Avoid delivering letters that you have already requested for other calls and that are generic.
Title or motive: “Letter of Recommendation” or “Referral”
Personalized and targeted to the program/scholarship provider: The letter of recommendation must explicitly state who it is demonstrating personalization and importance for. Therefore, it is important to avoid phrases like “To whom it may concern.” Some examples are:
- “Colleagues from the Faculty of Economic Sciences…”
- The members of the admissions committee….”
- “The University of…”
Content Tips for Recommendation Letter
The following elements should be included in your letter of recommendation:
This is because the person who recommends you explains the reasons why you are going and explicitly mentions the program to which you are going.
The person who recommends you should mention his/her position, the organization he/she works for, as well as the relationship between them. As an example:
- In my capacity as a teacher of the course International Relations at the National University…”
- As a student of mine, David was enrolled in …”
Description of the program or work: It is important that the reference informs the reader about the nature of the program or the work performed by the person he recommends. As a result, it will be given the attention and importance it deserves. As an example:
- “The Mechanical Engineering program takes about 20 hours to complete…”
- To develop these activities, teamwork is essential.
- As a result, it’s a position with a lot of responsibility.
The reason he recommends you: Similarly to the previous one, here the person who recommends you describes your personality, academic and / or professional skills which make you an ideal candidate for the program to which you are applying. As an example:
- „Pepe showed a good handle on… … ”
- Juana stood out for me during the time she worked with me… Y ….”
- Pepe is a person I recognize…. Y …..”
- “Joan managed to…”
Reinforcements: The person who recommended you should emphasize in the final part of the letter that you are the best candidate for the program you are applying for with things like:
- “I’m confident Pepe will bring great value to the program of… and university x.”
- “I strongly believe Juana… “
- “He is also…”
You should ask the person who recommends you whether he or she is open to answering questions by the selection committee at the end of the letter with things like:
- “Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.”
- “I will be willing to solve the questions you may have”
Tips to get very good letters of recommendation for scholarship
Prepare your letter of motivation early: Most likely, the people who are going to write your letter of recommendation will have several responsibilities, so they will need at least a month to complete it. Please keep that time in mind as well as the application deadline so that you can submit all the necessary documents on time.
Your CV and motivation letter should be shared with these people: Ideally, the person who will write your letter of recommendation should know what you have done and why you want to be a part of the program. It is therefore highly recommended that you meet with them to discuss your experience and plans, or to share documents such as your curriculum vitae and motivation letter.
If you graduated more than two years ago and have not kept in touch with your professors, be very careful in whom you ask to serve as a reference and the manner in which you ask him for it.
You can think about teachers with whom you had the most contact or stood out so that when you contact them and tell them it is you, they will remember you more readily.
It would be wise for you to make some initial contacts before asking anything to reestablish the relationship. You can accomplish this by sending an email, making a phone call, or even going to see the person in person to inform them of what you have done over the past few months, what you plan to do moving forward, and ask their opinion.
Formatting Tips for Scholarship Recommendation Letter
This letter complies with the guidelines required by the institution: For example, in some cases, the institution may require that the letter be in a specific format, written by specific individuals, and/or enclosed in a sealed envelope. If you do, follow those instructions because they are application requirements that, if not met, could result in your disqualification.
The document should be written in the language of the English program, and the person serving as a reference should be able to answer questions in that language. The letter of recommendation does not have to be handled in this manner, since you can attach an official translation to it.
The recommendation letter should be between 1 and 1.5 pages in length. Times New Roman , Arial or Calibri. With normal spacing and margins, size 12. In this way, you will ensure it is both concrete and descriptive enough.
Letterhead: Ideally, the letter should be written on the letterhead of the institution where the teacher works or the organization where your boss works. By doing so, the document gains more formality and, therefore, more confidence.
The letter must include the telephone number, postal address, and email address of the person who recommends you. By doing so, the evaluating institution can contact the person who recommended you to verify the information.
I am sure these tips will be of great assistance, and I look forward to your comments.