Usually, but not always, a scholarship application requires at least one reference. The scholarship reference is a crucial component of the application, so choose carefully who you will ask to serve as your referee. The reference may decide who receives the award when the scholarship committee is weighing two applications that are both deserving of consideration.
Who is a Referee?
A referee is a person who is prepared to provide written testimony to the abilities or character of someone, particularly a job applicant.
Who then can serve as your referee?
A referee should be someone who is familiar with you and who can talk intelligently about your personality, pursuits, and experiences.
The person ought to have been acquainted with you for at least a year and not too long ago (for example, within the last two years). They should have had ongoing communication with you so they could offer feedback on your moral character, including your sense of accountability, decency, work ethic, and leadership abilities.
Your referral should ideally be able to provide specific instances where you have displayed the abilities and characteristics the scholarship is looking for. Generally speaking, the stronger your reference is, the more detailed they can be.
Only friends or family members are prohibited from serving as referees.
People who can be your Referees
These people can stand as your referees in case you need a scholarship reference.
1. A PROFESSOR OR TEACHER
Both professors and teachers make excellent candidates to compose your scholarship reference. These people are probably well-versed about your academic accomplishments and your capacity to succeed in a degree program. Think about approaching lecturers and professors you enjoy working with and who have experience or expertise in the area of study you want to pursue.
2. SUPERVISOR OR MENTOR
Consider scholarship reference from supervisors or mentors that speak to your work ethic, abilities, and character. You could speak with bosses from your present or past positions or mentors from your internships. The managers and mentors you ask to write your scholarship reference should ideally be knowledgeable in your subject of study or a related field.
3. COWORKER/FELLOW STUDENT
Other excellent candidates to be your scholarship reference include coworkers and classmates. These people might have interacted with you in real life while you were an employee or student. For instance, if you’re applying for a scholarship for a graduate program, ask a classmate from your undergraduate program to write a letter of reference praising your work ethic and professional expertise.
4. PROFESSIONAL IN THE INDUSTRY
You might ask someone with experience in your profession who you know outside of the context of work or school to stand for your scholarship reference. Prior to approaching someone you know personally, try to weigh all of your professional possibilities. Make sure the person has a thorough understanding of your area of study, either through a graduate degree or actual work experience.
Types of References
How do you choose a referee?
On occasion, the application will outline the kind of scholarship reference that is needed. For instance, if an academic reference is needed, a teacher, principal, or possibly a guidance counselor will do. In any case, it’s advisable to consult someone you’ve recently worked with. So, instead of choosing a Grade 9 teacher, choose a Grade 11 instructor.
Aligning your referee with the type of scholarship you’re looking for can also be helpful. Ask a science or math teacher, for instance, if it’s a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) scholarship. Ask a teacher from a leadership-related class, such as Leadership 12, or a teacher who has observed you assume a leadership role in class, such as that of a group leader or spokesman, if the scholarship is for leadership.
Bonus points: if the instructor is familiar with you outside of the classroom, such as if you are the debate club or sports team coach at your school.
You can choose anyone (other than friends and family) who you think would offer you an excellent scholarship reference if the scholarship doesn’t specify who or what kind of position they need to hold. Think about addressing a coach, a direct boss at a job you do for money or for a cause, a youth group leader, a music instructor, a pastor, etc.
What you need to Provide your Referee
Assume your chosen referee accepts your request for a scholarship reference. Be ready to offer them with the materials they’ll need to serve as references. Consider providing the following details with your referee:
- An electronic link to the scholarship application or a copy of it. Tell them how to access the scholarship reference guidelines and when they must submit their references.
- A duplicate of your CV, a mention of your extracurricular activities, and, if appropriate, a cover letter
- Anything else you think would help them obtain a more complete picture of your qualifications and experience. Don’t send them anything and everything, though! Please only enter details relevant to this request.
- If your referee agrees to serve as a reference, be sure to express your gratitude. Inform them that you’ll email them a reminder a few days before the due date. Mark this day in your calendar and send it immediately! This type of reassurance is valued by many referees.
- Tell them you’ll let them know if the outcome is favorable (that is, if you get the scholarship). Do it if you prevail! Referees adore hearing this information. Share your success with them!
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The Importance of Scholarship Reference
1. SUPPORTING YOUR PERSONA
Scholarship reference is a powerful tool for endorsing your character. When organizations fund scholarships for students, they can demand proof that the student receiving the money upholds their own beliefs and ideals. Giving a reference from someone you have a close professional contact with could help establish credibility for your excellent character.
2. SHOWCASING YOUR ABILITIES
A scholarship reference could be useful in showcasing your abilities and expertise in the field. It’s crucial to show that you can excel in the course material for your chosen area when applying for a scholarship. When a scholarship committee reviews your application, they may be impressed by your relevant work experience or success-enhancing abilities. Someone who has personally observed your abilities, skills, and competencies may be able to highlight them in a letter of reference, which could assist your application materials wow scholarship panelists and increase your chances of financing.
3. EXPLICITLY STATING YOUR MOTIVES
It frequently takes drive, self-control, and a passion for your chosen topic of study to succeed in college. It’s important to fully define these attributes in your application because scholarship-granting organizations might check for them in applicants. The scholarship committee may learn that you can apply the same desire to your academic future if, for instance, a previous boss who observed your ambition while you were an employee writes a letter endorsing your objectives.
Frequently Asked Questions on Scholarship References
Can References be made up?
Most scholarship panelists examine references, so that’s the first thing you should know. If you use a bogus reference, your application will be denied right away. It’s not worth the risk, especially if your application has a probability of being accepted based on your real (genuine) qualifications.
Do Scholarship Panelists Contact my References?
Are references checked by scholarships awarders always? Basically, yes. Although the majority of panelists do call your references as part of the scholarship screening process, this is not always the case. Expect your references to be contacted if you’re preparing to start a scholarship application.
Is there any Difference between Reference and Recommendation Letter?
If you need a character evaluation or letter to keep on hand for career, educational, or volunteer opportunities, a letter of reference is useful. Use a letter of recommendation if you require a letter for a specific job or academic position or other exceptional opportunity.
Can I Provide References from my friends?
The person giving the reference has to be knowledgeable about you and capable of supporting any claims made about your character with examples. Although choosing a friend or member of your family to serve as a referee is fine, it is preferable to choose someone who is not related to you because their judgment can be seen as biased.
A scholarship reference is significant in increasing your chances of winning a scholarship. But always make sure not to provide a fake referee or unaccessible referee in case contacts need to be made.
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