How to Write a Request for a Letter of Reference

Some scholarships require letters of reference, which means you will have to reach out to some people in your life who know about your work ethic and personal achievements. If you’ve never done this before then it can be a daunting task.


Identify influential professionals in your life that challenge and inspire you.
Ask them if they would be willing to write you a letter of reference for your scholarship application. (See example email message below. Use this reference request draft to reach out to them.) These people may be high school counselors, mentors, academic advisors, coaches, teachers or college professors, leaders in a faith community or staff in a community or volunteer organization. These people should NOT be family members or personal friends of yours.
If the scholarship you are applying for has specific requirements, ask your reference to highlight how you meet those requirements. Remember, the people writing your letter want you to succeed, and would love nothing more than to rave about your accomplishments.
Take a deep breath, and let’s write an email. It’s not scary, we promise.

Email Subject: A request for a letter of recommendation
Email Body:
Dear [Name],
I am applying for the [scholarship name] scholarship and I am contacting you to request a letter of recommendation in support of my application.
I have included an updated resume that will give you a better idea of the classes and activities that I have been involved with.
I am hoping that you could focus on different aspects of my background, character, academics, and activities so the scholarship committee will get a broad sense of my life, skills and achievements.
Thank you for considering my request for a letter of recommendation. Please let me know if I can provide you with any other information about my recent activities or this request. Your support means a lot!
This letter is due on [date]
[Tell them how to submit the reference letter]
Thank you again!
[Your name]

Don’t forget to attach your resume! Including your resume allows your reference to write specifically about you and how great a fit you would be for the scholarship. There is no such thing as too much detail.




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