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Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School Scholarship

Choosing your recommenders

These letters are extremely important. Choose your recommenders carefully. Think of the letters as an integral part of a package that will present an accurate and complete picture of you and your qualifications. Because the Regents' Scholarship considers not only academic achievement, but leadership ability and community service as well. While maybe one letter of recommendation should be from an academic source, at least one should address your leadership abilities and commitment to the community.

The ideal letter of recommendation

Your letters of recommendations should come from teachers or academic advisors who are familiar not only with your academic abilities, but with your personal interests and background and how those relate to your ability to carry out the program of study you wish to pursue. If the teacher or academic advisor is familiar with your extracurricular activities and leadership abilities, s/he should also incorporate that into the letter.

The letters should address the qualifications sought. Recommenders should address only those elements of your application on which they can comment confidently.

How to ask for a letter of recommendation

Start early. Discuss your plans with your recommenders now, before the application is even available. Let them know what you would like to study and why you want to apply for Regents' scholarship. These discussions can help you clarify your goals and plans as well.

As soon as you have the application forms (available at your high school counselor's office, the office of Outreach Services and the Scholarship Office around November), schedule a meeting with your recommender. Give your recommender a written description of the scholarship and a copy of your personal statement and proposed academic program. You may also want to provide a copy of your transcript and an autobiography or resume highlighting activities and honors. You should also give your recommenders appropriately addressed envelopes with postage, if necessary. Be sure to also give them plenty of time to write the letter, do not wait until the last minute.


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