A Scholarship recommendation letter provides information regarding the character, qualities, community services and achievements of a candidate which fulfill the basic criteria of a chosen scholarship. The author (usually a teacher, manager, police officer, JP, MP or counselor) will need to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the scholarship’s requirements in order to match the letter more precisely to the terms of reference of the award.
Before writing their letter, the author should also interview the student regarding any relevant extra-curricular activities (including volunteer activities) the candidate is involved in or any awards they may have received that the may be relevant.
Most (Jamaican) scholarships are awarded to students with specific commitments, achievements, and goals. They are usually tailored to students pursuing a specific field of study, such as engineering, math, biology, or literary studies. However, a scholarship may instead be based upon athletic performance or the need for financial aid.
By being aware of the guidelines and expectations of the scholarship, the author will be able to better validate their student’s qualifications to receive it.
Who to Select?
Most often, this Scholarship recommendation letter will be written by a teacher, a professor, Justice of the Peace/Notary Public, church leader, police officer, community leaders or a counsellor. However, depending on the scholarship criteria, an employer or athletic coach may also be an appropriate, or required, choice.
What is most important is that the author understands the scholarship requirements and will be able to use their personal relationship to the candidate in order to justify their personal recommendation with specific examples.
How to Write a Scholarship Recommendation Letter
A scholarship recommendation letter should fill an entire page (approximately 300 – 500 words) and contain a letterhead, an introduction, 2 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
At the top left-hand corner of the page, the author should include the following information:
- Date of Writing
- Full Name
- School Name
- Street Address
- City, State, Zip Code
- Preferred Contact (optional)
The introductory paragraph of the scholarship reference/recommendation letter will briefly introduce the candidate, state the scholarship for which they are recommending the candidate for, and describe the nature and length of the author’s relationship with said candidate. Specific details of the candidate’s suitability will be described in the body paragraphs, so the introduction only needs to be 2 or 3 sentences in length.
Dear Admissions Committee,
I wish to recommend Sandra Brown for the NMJI scholarship program. As a Guidance Counsellor at Seaforth High School, I have worked closely with her for the past four (4) years and have developed a great deal of respect for this remarkable young woman during that time. Despite having financial hardships to overcome, she has excelled in all academic fields.
In this sample Scholarship Reference Letter, has a Guidance Counsellor writing on behalf of a student who has special financial needs. The author has clearly illustrated which scholarship they are recommending the student for and the length and nature of their relationship. In the third sentence, the Guidance Counsellor introduces the candidate’s financial needs, while also stating that the student has not allowed their difficulties to hinder their education. By making this statement they are implying that financial aid would only enable the student to excel further and that they are a worthy candidate.
To the NCB Foundation Scholarship Committee,
I am writing this recommendation letter on behalf of my student Steve Brown to recommend him for the NCB Foundation Scholarship. I have become very familiar with him during the past two years as his Biology teacher at Calabar High School.
In this example, the author (a teacher) simply states who they are recommending for which scholarship and the nature and length of their relationship with the candidate.
In the first body paragraph of the letter, the author will describe the ways in which the candidate fulfills the criteria for the scholarship, including their community services and financial hardship. Here, the author can use quantitative examples such as the candidate’s grades and academic performance to demonstrate that the candidate is a stand-out student. By demonstrating that they understand what sort of candidate the scholarship committee is looking for, the author will make their recommendation worthier of consideration. This paragraph should be approximately 3 to 5 sentences in length.
I personally feel that the NCB Foundation scholarship should go to someone who possesses strong leadership qualities and a genuine concern for their community through active volunteer services. Steve fits these guidelines perfectly. Last year, he acted as Student Body President, and this year he took on the primary responsibility of organizing the school’s annual talent show and community outreach events.
In this sample (written by a teacher) the author clearly states their understanding of the scholarship guidelines, lists examples of how the student fulfills these criteria, and expresses their qualitative assessment of the student as being a high academic performer. All of their examples would need to be expanded upon in the next paragraph in order to make them more convincing.
Dave’s principal duties as a Senior Clerk have been leading a team of workers, maintaining customer records, and the overseeing and management of ingoing and outgoing shipments of supplies and merchandise. This is a lot of responsibility for someone so young, and Dave has risen to the occasion with authority and ease. Your scholarship is meant to aid individuals who have the ambition, work ethic, and most importantly, the leadership skills to excel in business. Dave quickly moved up the ladder here at ABC Publishing by displaying initiative, reliability, organization, and an outstanding ability to manage his team.
A scholarship recommendation letter written by an employer is sometimes required by a scholarship committee. A candidate’s employer will most likely be unfamiliar with a student’s academic performance, and therefore will have to provide a personal assessment of the student’s character, describe the candidate’s work responsibilities, and provide examples of how the student’s work habits translate to the scholarship guidelines.
Having expressed that the student is a suitable candidate in the previous paragraph, the author should now use concrete examples to support their assessment. For instance, if the first paragraph states that the student meets the academic requirements in a particular field of study (e.g. IT, Biology, Literature), the second paragraph could follow up with examples of the student’s relevant schoolwork (e.g. lab work, essays) or awards. Depending on the number of examples that the author is able to use, this paragraph can run from 3 to 5 sentences in length.
I am familiar with Sandra’s education and career goals, and I know that without financial aid she may not be able to achieve these aspirations. Sandra is a capable student, and more importantly, she is driven by a desire to do good for her community through hers extensive community services. She has volunteered for the school’s special needs program and is a member of her local park’s environmental protection group. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this scholarship and I wholeheartedly support her application.
This example features a positive character assessment of the candidate and expresses their financial needs. Scholarships are often awarded at least partially based on financial need, so it is important to address this point if possible.
The best example of Steve’s leadership skills that comes to mind is the manner in which he has taken charge of the children’s tours of our facilities. In addition to the biological tracking and preservation work that we do here, we also give tours to primary school classes. When I tasked Steve with performing a class tour, I was immediately impressed by his ability to quickly and efficiently prepare himself. Personally, I struggle with public-speaking, so I was all the more amazed by the confidence and precision with which Steve conducted himself while leading the class around our observation facilities.
In the above example, a mentor/supervisor uses one convincing example to illustrate the candidate’s efficiency, initiative, work-ethic, and leadership skills. By expanding upon how the student dealt with one situation, they are able to concretely illustrate how the candidate is able to bring their many positive attributes into play when given a challenge.
A scholarship recommendation letter should end with a concluding paragraph which emphasizes the author’s endorsement of the candidate and leaves an invitation to contact the author by email or telephone (a preferred contact, not necessarily both). The author will also need to sign the letter by hand in order to certify its authenticity. This conclusion should leave the reader with a deep impression of the author’s confidence in the candidate and will generally run from 2 to 4 sentences in length.
It has been a joy to work with Sandra and I am proud to be able to provide this letter of recommendation for the scholarship program you represent. I can be reached at (876) 555-5555 if you have any question’s regarding Sandra’s application.
Here, the author concludes their letter on a positive note and offers a clear invitation for further communication.
Steve is an ideal candidate to receive this scholarship, as I am sure you can agree, and he deserves this opportunity to pursue hir academic goals. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information.
You may reach me at: (876) 444-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Lisa Flow
This author concludes by professing their confidence that their high opinion of the candidate will be shared by the person/committee awarding the scholarship.
Sample 1: Scholarship Recommendation Letter
July 15, 2021
Seaforth High School
52 Main Street
Seaforth P.O., St. Thomas
I write this letter in support of Sandra Brown’s application for the NCB Foundation Scholarship. I had the pleasure of teaching Sandra in her 5th and 6th form Literature class at Seaforth High School. She has always impressed me with her ability to be articulate difficult concepts and understand dense texts. Sandra’s sensitivity to the nuances within the field of Literature, and her passion for reading and writing, set her apart both as a student and as a scientist and writer.
During her senior years, Sandra produced an extraordinary thesis paper on creative identity development, in which she compared works from three different time periods and synthesized cultural and historical perspectives to inform her analysis. When called upon to give her thesis defense in front of her peers, Sandra spoke clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in a thoughtful way. While she shows much promise as a well-rounded liberal arts student, it is poetry which most interests Sandra.
Throughout the year Sandra was an active participant in our discussions, and she always supported her peers. Her caring nature and personality allow her to work well with others in a team setting, as she always respects others’ opinions even when they differ from her own. Throughout the year, Sandra demonstrated this openness to and empathy for the opinions, feelings, and perspectives of others, along with shrewd powers of observation, all qualities that makes her outstanding as a student of literature and aspiring poetess.
I am certain that Sandra is going to continue to do great and creative things in her future. Her work, as I am sure you will agree, demonstrates an impressive depth for a young student. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at: ChrisJames@gmail.com.
Mr. Chris James
Sample 2: Scholarship Reference Letter
July 15, 2021
Mathematics Teacher, Seaforth High School
52 Main Street
Seaforth P.O., St. Thomas
To The NCB Foundation Scholarship Committee,
I am delighted to recommend Dave Brown for the Carreras Jamaica Scholarship Programme. I have been Dave’s English teacher, community service coordinator and debate team coach at Seaforth High School for the past three (3) years and know that he is exactly the kind of financially challenged student your organization hopes to reward.
Throughout my career, I have met very few students that are as inquisitive and engaged with the local community as Dave. In my English class, he regularly leads class discussions and writes in a way most students only grasp once they have spent several years in college. I can say without a doubt that he is in the top 10% of students I have had the pleasure to work with during my 10 years as a teacher.
Dave is also the debate team captain and makes my job as the coach incredibly easy as he’s always going out of his way to help new members improve. For example, in preparation for a recent debate tournament, he spent several hours working one-on-one with one student who was new to the team and still struggling with stage fright. Although Dave didn’t do as well as he would have liked to in that tournament, he still took immense pride in seeing how much his teammate improved in just a short time.
This willingness to help others is also reflected in Dave’s community service work — something I know the Carreras Jamaica scholarship programme greatly values. Outside of school, Dave is actively involved in tutoring Mathematics at the local York community center. Although I am not present at the center, it’s easy for me to imagine how lucky those students must feel to have a tutor like Dave. His work ethic and dedication to helping people improve are impeccable.
I have full confidence that Dave will continue to do great things next year when he begins studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica. I also am confident that the Carreras Jamaica Scholarship Programme would be hard-pressed to find another student as deserving and representative of your mission to support the future community leaders of Jamaica.
It is for these reasons I have had zero hesitation to write this recommendation for Dave.
Please feel free to contact me at 876-452-8597 or email@example.com if you have any questions. I would be more than happy to provide more information on why Dave is a deserving candidate for the Carerras Jamaica scholarship.
Mr. Chris James
Sample 3: Recommendation Letter with Volunteerism & Financial Need
July 15, 2021
7 Strathairn Ave,
To Grace Scholarship Fund Committee:
I am writing this letter to recommend Melissa Green for the Grace Scholarship Fund’s Community Scholarship. Melisa is a financially challenged student who has been an active ScholarshipJamaica.com (SJ) volunteer for the past three (3) years, while I closely followed her academic progress during this time.
As a SJ volunteer, Melissa demonstrated a love of learning and sharing her knowledge with others with the level of commitment necessary to succeed in college and beyond. I am happy to be able to provide this recommendation for such a deserving student. As her academic record attests, Melissa has maintained an A grade average across the board while volunteering her spear time to assist other needy students during her SJ volunteer internship. I have great respect for Melissa and truly believe that she is a deserving candidate that you will be proud to have representing organization.
Melissa has distinguished herself as an incredible leader, presenter and writer through her work in school as well as in her creative projects as a SJ volunteer. This past year she lead a team of eleven (11) volunteers to train and assist other students within the wider community to successfully research and apply for scholarships. In addition to having firsthand knowledge of Melissa’s community service, academic commitment and talent, I am also familiar with her educational goals, as well as the financial challenges she will face when it comes to funding college tuition. I cannot think of anyone more deserving and I wholeheartedly support her application.
I feel certain that you will be just as impressed with Melissa as I am. As a professional who is committed to helping deserving students succeed, I strongly encourage you to consider her for the Grace Scholarship Fund’s Community Scholarship.
Please do not hesitate in contacting me with any questions that you may have, and let me know if I can provide any additional information in support of this deserving student. You may reach me at CG@ScholashipJamaica.com.
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