The letter of recommendation is weighed heavily in the evaluation and review process. It gives reviewers some insight into the applicant that goes beyond grades or rankings. It not only corroborates the content of the submitted application materials but also provides important testimony regarding the student’s character, diligence, dedication, and academic and leadership potential. Here are some ways you can assist your recommender with writing a good recommendation
- Choose a professional who is familiar with you and your work. You can select a principal, guidance counselor, teacher, or community leader. Be sure to ask the person you believe will write the best letter for you.
- Although you may choose the same recommender as the one who wrote your recommendation for admission to UW-Madison, please keep in mind that these are two entirely different processes and that an admissions letter is not necessarily optimal for this scholarships application. In either case, your recommender will need to submit this scholarships recommendation letter separately.
- Contact the recommender at least three weeks ahead of time. Ask the question, “Can you write me a strong letter of reference for …?” Please choose a recommender who can positively answer this question. If the person cannot write a strong positive letter go on to the next person on your list.
- Make sure you give the recommender a copy of your resume and high school academic record. If you have information regarding the application process and what types of scholarships you are applying for, please pass that information on as well. This will allow the recommender to write a tailored letter. Schedule a conversation about your qualifications.
- Give the recommender a summary of the accomplishments you would like her/him to highlight in the letter. This may sound bold, but it can be enormously helpful to a busy academic who writes hundreds of letters a year.
- You may also want to give the recommender an example of your marked and graded work, such as a research paper, writing sample, or piece from your portfolio.
- Provide your recommender with your up-to-date contact information. Include a note stating when the letter is due and how it will be delivered (to our on-line application software).
- As the deadline approaches, be sure to remain in contact with your recommender regarding the need for the letter to be submitted. It is your responsibility to be sure you have a recommendation by the deadline. Failure to do so will result in an incomplete application and thus disqualify you from a scholarship award.
- Let your recommender know the outcome of the process for which he/she wrote the letter. Send a thank you note as a common courtesy. This makes a positive impression.