Information for Faculty on Student Referrals and Recommendation Letters
Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships Advising seeks to work with academically talented, leadership-oriented students for major national awards. We realize that faculty are often in the best position to recognize promising candidate for these awards. In fact, some of strongest candidates come from faculty references.
To aid in the process of faculty referrals, here are some suggestions for determining competitive candidates. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a snapshot of the common characteristics among successful applicants for major national awards:
- Clear academic and career goals
- Strong, consistent academic record
- Leadership in and out of the classroom
- Commitment to service beyond course or organizational requirements
- Excellent writing and speaking skills
- Interest in social justice
- Transformative thinking and an active curiosity about the world and global issues facing humanity
Refering a Student
Tips for Writing a Recommendation Letter
First of all, thank you for supporting SLU’s brightest scholars. The stakes are high for these students. They have chosen to apply for an award with only a limited number of scholarships, and your letter could help them stand out from the crowd.
Here are some tips for writing a recommendation letter for a national, merit-based award:
- Research the award: A generic letter might hurt the candidates more than it will help. Be sure to do some preliminary research on the award before you begin writing the letter (find some more detailed tips here).
- Determine the focus: Discuss the appropriate focus for the letter with the candidate.
- Include detail: Give concrete examples of your positive and recent experiences with the candidate.
Here is one common format of recommendation letters:
- How do you know the candidate?
- Past accomplishments of candidate
- Leadership potential of candidate (particularly in career path)
- Discuss candidate’s plan for the scholarship
- Why is this a strong candidate for this award? How do they stand out?