Scholarship letters of recommendation

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edited October 1 in Grants & Scholarships

Will your organization or has your organization eliminated letters of recommendation from your scholarship applications? (Unless it's part of the scholarship fund agreement, of course).

I'd be interested to know your organization's thoughts about that.

Thank you!

Lee O'Neil


Community Foundation of Fayette County, PA

[email protected]



  • Hi, Lee -

    We're really moving away from letters of rec as it relates to new/future funds, unless the letter of rec would serve some very specific and relevant purpose. Many of our "old" funds are broad in that there's really no distinct measure to help distinguish candidates so a letter of rec is, at times, helpful.

    Overall, we're not fans of the letter of rec and have plenty of examples (like others, I'm sure!) that demonstrate the whole exercise is a burden - template from a recommender that you see over and over, the wrong student or opportunity name referenced, etc. It's our position any letters that are not specific in nature serve a broad purpose and are just considered as a resource to help evaluators rather than a item that is specifically evaluated.

    Happy to discuss!

    Jess Puglisi-Sanders 

    Program Officer 

    Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley 

    1226 Chapline Street 

    Wheeling, WV 26003 

    Phone: 304-242-3144 

    Direct: 304-230-1443

  • edited October 18

    @LeeONeil We have a couple scholarships that require a specific letter of recommendation from a specific individual (eg coach). For those scholarships that have the requirement in the agreement we do still require letters of recommendation; however, we have generally moved to having a space for the student to include an optional letter of recommendation if they would like. In addition to the points mentioned above (wrong student/opportunity, same generic letter for multiple opportunities) most letters we received were very positive. We felt that the letters were not really providing evaluators with any additional information about the applicant and placing an extra burden on the applicant and those individuals letters were being requested from (often our school counselors).

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