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How Students Can Get a Good Letter of Recommendation: Advice for Getting a Presidential Achievement Scholarship

Letters of recommendation for the Presidential Scholarship are a major part of the application.  In order to help professors and others who write for you, follow the guidelines recommended by Dr. Catherine Sutton, Dean of Academic Advising.

1. Select a professor or staff member who knows you well. If the person you ask doesn’t know you beyond the grade you earned in the class, provide that professor with a statement about yourself in which you highlight your interests, achievements, involvements, etc. Give professors assistance in recommending you. Tell them why you are asking them to write on your behalf; if their course is especially important to you, explain why.

2. Ask the professor or staff person personally for a recommendation; don’t rely on email. Your application for the scholarship is worth the time and effort of a five-minute personal exchange. If nothing else, approach the professor after class or during office hours.

3. Give the person you’re asking for a recommendation your Bellarmine ID number written down on a piece of paper.

4. Give the recommender plenty of time to write the recommendation before the due date of 15 April. Take into account that some people may be out of town, may have other commitments which will prevent them from writing the recommendation immediately, so give them a couple of weeks notice.

5. Do whatever you have to do to make the professor’s job writing your letter is easy as possible: give as much information about the scholarship as possible, provide the link he or she needs in a follow up email, send an early thank you (a.k.a a gentle reminder) to the professor about a week before the application is due. All those things will make the prof much more inclined to write you a great (and timely) letter.

6. Don’t forget to thank the person for taking the time to write for you. Most professors devote real time and energy to writing these statements, so thank them for their time and trouble. Remember; one recommendation must be from a Bellarmine professor; the other could be written by a coach, work-study supervisor, or other Bellarmine staff member.

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About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

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