Sample Scholarship Letter of Recommendation: Free & Effective

With extensive experience in writing scholarship letters of recommendation, I offer a comprehensive guide that blends personal insights with professional advice, providing templates and tips to help educators and professionals craft standout letters.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Purpose: Grasp the importance of a scholarship letter and its impact on a student’s application.
  • Personalize Your Letter: Tailor your recommendation to reflect the student’s unique qualities and achievements.
  • Use a Standard Format: Follow a professional structure to ensure clarity and coherence.
  • Provide Specific Examples: Illustrate the student’s abilities and qualities with real-life instances.
  • Keep it Concise: Aim for a letter that is impactful yet succinct.
  • Proofread and Edit: Ensure your letter is free from errors and accurately conveys your endorsement.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Gather Information

Before you start writing, collect all necessary information about the scholarship, the student, and their achievements. Understanding the scholarship’s criteria and the student’s aspirations can help you tailor your letter effectively.

  • Student’s Resume: Academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal interests.
  • Scholarship Details: Criteria, mission, and values of the scholarship program.
  • Personal Interaction: Instances that showcase the student’s character and capabilities.

2. Start with a Formal Greeting

Address the letter to the specific committee or person if you know their name. If not, a general greeting such as “Dear Scholarship Selection Committee” is appropriate.

3. Introduce Yourself and Your Relationship with the Student

Begin by stating your name, position, and how you know the student. Be specific about the duration and capacity of your relationship.

4. Highlight the Student’s Qualifications

Discuss the student’s academic and personal qualities that make them a perfect candidate for the scholarship. Use specific examples to illustrate their strengths.

  • Academic Excellence: Mention their GPA, awards, or any academic recognitions.
  • Leadership and Initiative: Examples of leadership roles or initiatives they’ve taken.
  • Community Involvement: Their contributions to community service or extracurricular activities.

5. Provide Specific Examples

Use anecdotes or specific instances that showcase the student’s abilities and character. This personal touch can make the letter more compelling.

6. Explain Why the Student Deserves the Scholarship

Link the student’s aspirations, qualities, and achievements to the scholarship’s goals. Make a clear case for why they are an ideal candidate.

7. Conclude with a Strong Endorsement

Reiterate your support for the student and express your belief in their potential. Offer to provide further information if needed.

8. Sign Off Professionally

End with a formal closure such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your name, title, and contact information.

Template for a Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

[Your Name]
[Your Position]
[Your Institution/Organization]
[Your Contact Information]

[Scholarship Committee’s Address]

Dear Scholarship Selection Committee,

I am [Your Name], a [Your Position] at [Your Institution/Organization], and I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend [Student’s Name] for the [Name of Scholarship] scholarship. 

Having known [Student’s Name] for [duration] as [your relationship with the student], I have been consistently impressed by their dedication, intelligence, and character.

[Body Paragraphs with examples and qualifications]

In conclusion, [Student’s Name] is a remarkable student and individual who has shown exceptional [qualities relevant to the scholarship]. 

I am confident that [he/she/they] will continue to excel and positively impact those around [him/her/them]. 

I strongly endorse [his/her/their] application for the [Name of Scholarship] and welcome any further questions regarding [his/her/their] candidacy.


[Your Name]


A professional office setting with a young student sitting at a desk, writing a reconsideration letter for a scholarship.

What do Colleges Look for in letters of Recommendation?

Colleges look for several key elements in letters of recommendation:

1. Relevance: The letter should be relevant to the student’s academic or extracurricular pursuits and demonstrate how they align with the college’s mission and values.

2. Personalization: The letter should be personalized to the student, highlighting their unique qualities, strengths, and achievements.

3. Specificity: The letter should provide specific examples of the student’s abilities, skills, and achievements. These examples should be relevant to the college’s program and demonstrate the student’s potential for success.

4. Honesty: The letter should be honest and provide an accurate representation of the student’s abilities and potential.

5. Positive Endorsement: The letter should end with a positive endorsement of the student and express the writer’s confidence in their ability to succeed in college.

6. Writing quality: The letter should be well-written and free of errors. It should be clear and concise and easy to read.

7. Timeliness: The letter should be submitted in a timely manner, as per the college’s requirement.

8. Relationship: The letter should be written by someone who knows the student well, such as a teacher, counselor, or mentor, and has a good relationship with them.

Note: It’s important to keep in mind that letters of recommendation are just one of many factors that colleges consider when making admissions decisions. They are used to supplement the student’s academic record and other application materials, providing additional insight into the student’s character, achievements, and potential for success.

What Should You Avoid in a Letter of Recommendation?

There are several things that should be avoided in a letter of recommendation:

1. Generalizations: Avoid making general statements without providing specific examples or evidence to support them.

2. Negative comments: Avoid making negative comments about the student or their abilities. If the writer is unable to write positively about the student, they should decline to write the letter.

3. Confidential information: Avoid sharing any confidential or sensitive information about the student that they have not authorized to be disclosed.

4. Inappropriate language: Avoid using any offensive or inappropriate language in the letter.

5. Plagiarism: Avoid plagiarism, the letter should be original and written by the writer themselves, not copied from any other sources.

6. Exaggeration: Avoid exaggerating the student’s abilities or achievements. The letter should provide an accurate representation of the student’s abilities and potential.

7. Spelling and grammar errors: Avoid any spelling and grammar errors in the letter. It should be well-written and free of errors.

8. Lack of detail: Avoid being too brief or generic in the letter, providing enough detail and specificity to give a clear picture of the student’s abilities, achievements, and potential.

9. Late submission: Avoid submitting the letter after the college’s deadline, it might not be considered.

Note: It’s important to keep in mind that a letter of recommendation is a professional document, and should be written with care and attention to detail. The letter should provide a clear and accurate representation of the student’s abilities and potential, and should be written in a way that is appropriate, honest and respectful.


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