To convince a scholarship or post-secondary committee that of all of the talented candidates submitting application forms that you have the intelligence, strength and ability to succeed.
Obtaining great letters of reference requires advance planning and hard work, but is well worth the investment. Give this step of the application process the same level of attention as the essay.
Why use a Reference Letter:
A student’s talents, strengths and abilities are not easily measured by grades and test scores. A great letter supplements the data provided about his/her academic and extracurricular history with supporting documentation about his/her performance and potential.
A compelling letter also provides a separate function that many students fail to consider; it provides critical information about personality, ethics and integrity that aren't captured anywhere elsewhere in the application.
Reference letters from credible third-party sources who can objectively evaluate character are paramount in the evaluation process. They often play a key role in whether a student is invited for a post-secondary interview or offered a scholarship.
Most letters we see are short, vague and non-persuasive. They do little to convince a committee a candidate is special enough to earn support.
By not taking the initiative with references, far too many applicants miss the opportunity to sell their strengths. The implications can be devastating.
Who Should Write A Reference Letter:
Your writer should have the following three qualities:
· Knowledgeable about the scholarship process
· Knows the specific candidate well enough to evaluate his/her relevant qualifications
· Provides not only an overall assessment of the applicant, but enough supporting detail to support the application form
Most scholarship/post-secondary committees expect to see letters from the following people:
· Your high school guidance counselor
· A teacher with whom you have worked closely
· The advisor or co-ordinator of your extracurricular activities