Recommendations are one of the most important elements of any scholarship application as they can provide important information about your intellectual abilities or give a well-rounded picture of you as a person.
Who Should Write My Recommendation?
Recommendations should come from faculty members or non-academic individuals who can write about significant contributions you are making outside the classroom. Recommendations should not be from a family member or personal friend.
The Foundation and Foundation staff are not able to write letters of recommendation.
Faculty members will be able to comment on your academic contributions to date, future goals, and research experience they have supervised. If you choose to ask a faculty member, it is advisable to select professors who know you the best, particularly those who are from your field of study.
If you select a non-academic individual to complete a recommendation, be sure to select someone who is directly related to your contributions outside the classroom. For example, if you are volunteering with a nonprofit organization, it would be advisable to ask the director of the organization to complete the recommendation, provided that the director can make first-hand comments about your contributions.
Other non-academic individuals who are generally acceptable may include:
- Athletic coaches
- Religious leaders (such as ministers, rabbis and imams)
- Work supervisors
- Others who can speak to your qualification for the scholarship
Here are a few tips for how to get to know individuals who can serve as a recommender:
- Consistently attend office hours
- Get involved in research
- Take more than one class from a faculty member whom you might want to write a recommendation on your behalf
- Keep in contact with your instructor, so he or she stays current with what you are doing
- Attend events and volunteer
- Join clubs and organizations, and take a leadership position
How to Request a Recommendation
When asking someone to submit a recommendation, we advise that you do the following to ensure you get the strongest recommendation possible (both for now, and in the future):
Ideally, contact your recommender 3-4 weeks before recommendations are due. Many individuals have busy schedules, and you want to allow enough time for the recommender to agree to complete and write a strong recommendation. Rushing them might lead to a recommendation that is not as polished or as positive as it could be.
Request recommendations from those who know you, since they will be better equipped to write a compelling recommendation for you.
Ask potential recommenders:
Do you feel you know me well enough to write a scholarship recommendation for me?
This allows a person who feels they don’t know you well enough to decline to write a recommendation and potentially suggest a different individual. This is better than having someone write a generic recommendation.
If possible, meet with your potential recommender(s) in person and provide some information to them. Specifically, provide information about:
- The scholarship and the broad goals of the program
- Why you are applying for the scholarship
- What you hope to accomplish through your education and career
- Your resume
- A copy of your transcript
This is imperative. If your recommender doesn’t have the correct information, it will be difficult or impossible for them to submit their recommendation correctly or on time.
Check in with your recommender at least one week before the recommendation is due, to see if they need any additional information from you.
If you have begun working on your Short Answer Questions, consider sharing with them to get their feedback.
After the deadline, follow up with your recommenders to thank them for their time and willingness to write a recommendation on your behalf. This will let them know that you appreciate their efforts and will increase the likelihood that they will write another recommendation in the future.
We suggest handwritten thank-you notes. They may be rare these days, but they show that you’ve gone the extra mile.
If you are selected as a winner, you will want to make sure to share the good news with your recommenders.
Learn More About BC Foundation Scholarships
We want to make the application process as easy for you as possible. Learn about what happens if your scholarship application is successful, get answers to frequently asked questions, and review the list of important dates to remember.
Last Updated October 20, 2023