Strong recommendations for scholarship applications
Active participation in clubs and groups assists students to receive strong recommendation letters. Strong recommendations improve the content of scholarship applications.
One component that many scholarship applications ask for are letters of recommendations or people who can serve as references. A typical scholarship application asks students to provide information like their name, address, telephone number(s), high school attended, grade point average and a SAT or ACT score. They will also ask questions for students to answer on different topics such as their ability, career goals and current affairs in their community, nation or world. Many scholarship applications will require a high school transcript and an essay. All of these components are important however, recommendation letters add something different to the equation of the scholarship application. Recommendation letters or references require a dependence on other people to help fulfill the requirements to complete a good scholarship application.
Other than excelling in the classroom, students participating in extra-curricular activities (like sports, band, computer, math, science and English clubs, volunteering organizations and 4-H) throughout high school will help put them in position to receive good recommendations from adults. The important thing is not only to join these groups or participate in these activities, but to take an active role in these activities so the positive caring adults leading these groups know the student.
Janine Fugate of Scholarship America gives five qualities to look for in people who can write a student recommendation letter in the U.S. News and World Report – Education. Here are some questions relating to the five qualities that Michigan State University Extension supports:
- How well does this person know me?
- How is this person relevant to this scholarship application? For example, if the application is related to dogs, who can I, as a member in the 4-H dog project, seek for a recommendation letter? Can I get one from my 4-H Leaders in the dog project to write the letter?
- Who do I know well that can write well?
- Who is a caring adult that is enthusiastic?
- Other than a family member, who can write a good letter about me?
These questions become easier to answer as a student participates in extra-curricular activities and takes an active role in clubs and groups like Michigan 4-H Youth Development. The goal of a student or youth who is active in clubs and groups is to receive letters of recommendation from adults that state how he or she made positive contributions in the past and had positive impacts on other people and the program he or she was in.
As a summary, to receive a good recommendation letter for a scholarship, encourage youth during their middle school and high school years to participate, be active, and make positive contributions and impacts in whatever activity they participate in.