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Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Although none of what follows is a requirement for letters of recommendation, the advice provided below may be useful for the candidate in preparation for application submittal.

Academic terms generally end in June and professors are often absent during the summer. It is easier to request letters of recommendation and school transcripts while you are residing at the academic institution; plan ahead and consider applying well before finals and the academic term ends.

You may request more than two letters of recommendation; an additional one is permissible, and can mitigate the risk that one of your letter writers may forget to submit a letter. Make sure that you clearly communicate when the letter is due, and that it is to be mailed directly to the Selection Committee. You can always contact the Selection Committee chairpersons to make sure that they have received your letters of recommendation.

Provide your biographical resume to the persons from whom you request letters, so that they get a more complete view of your overall accomplishments and capabilities. Discuss with them your goals. Regard the entire exercise as an opportunity for people to get to know you better. It may serve you well in the future.

Provide them with background information regarding the scholarship award for which you are applying. In particular, it would be useful for them to see the “criteria for selection.”

The committee would prefer to see letters of recommendation on institution letterhead.

Letters of Recommendation should include:

  • A brief background of the letter writer (e.g. Associate Professor of History).
  • Relationship to the applicant  ( e.g. advisor;  taught two classes in which the applicant was enrolled), and how long he/she has known you.
  • How well the writer feels they can judge the academic potential and capabilities of the applicant.
  • Specific examples of work well done.

If a letter writer asks you to write the letter for him/her, find someone else.

Tue, September 17 2019 17 Elul 5779