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Asking for Recommendations

Consult with External Scholarships & Fellowships Advisor Jen Green to determine which potential letter writers are most appropriate for a particular competition. For example, if an award is focused on excellence in undergraduate research, it would be inappropriate to solicit a recommendation from a supervisor at your part-time job in a restaurant.

Once you have determined who you plan to approach, do not enter his or her contact information on your application until you have confirmed that this person is willing and able to write a strong recommendation on your behalf.

Give your letter writers plenty of lead time to complete the recommendation and provide them with all of the materials they will need up front:

  • An overview of the award to which you are applying, as well as how you and your project fit its mission.
  • An updated version of your resume or cv tailored for this particular award. If you need assistance, the SBU Career Center is happy to help!
  • Drafts of your application essays. They don’t have to be final drafts, even a rough version with a disclaimer that your document is a work in progress is better than nothing at all.
  • Instructions on exactly how the letter will be submitted. For example, will it be submitted to the External Scholarships & Fellowships Advisor or will the recommender be sent an email prompt to upload it as a PDF?

It is extremely important to clearly communicate deadlines. If you are applying for an award that requires a campus nomination, you must provide recommenders with the Campus Nomination Deadline rather than the national deadline.

For additional guidance, check out this helpful article from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
How to Ask for a Recommendation: And how to supervise the faculty member writing it