How to ask for a letter of recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a great supplement to any scholarship application. They contextualize your accomplishments and allow scholarship committees to understand the way you learn, your work ethic, and other unique qualities that may not be reflected in your application.

Be sure to ask an adult (teacher, coach, mentor, etc.) who

  • Understands your strengths
  • Has worked with you relatively recently
  • Is willing to advocate on your behalf

If possible, try to ask for your letter face-to-face with these tips. If you need to ask via email, we’ve got you covered with the email template below!

Tips for asking in person

Timing is everything.

Don’t ask before class when they are in a time-crunch. Go up to them after class / practice to get their undivided attention.

Explain what you’re applying for.

Say something along the lines of “Hey, I’m applying for a scholarship award that requires a letter of recommendation.”

Elaborate on why you’re asking them

instead of another adult. Why is this person well-suited to write you a letter? How are they well-equipped to advocate on your behalf?

Tell them the deadline

so they can assess whether or not they will be able to complete it within the necessary timeframe.

Follow up with an email

(if they say yes) saying thank you, and attaching your resume, your relevant accomplishments, and the qualities / attributes you are most proud of, and wish to highlight.

Letter Template for asking via email

Subject: Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

Hi Mr. / Ms. / Dr. / Professor / Coach ________ !


I hope you are well. I wanted to reach out because I am applying for a scholarship opportunity that requires a letter of recommendation, and I was wondering if you would be willing to write one for me? I think a letter from you would be particularly impactful because [ELABORATE ON THE BOND BETWEEN YOU AND THIS PERSON.]

This scholarship opportunity would help me continue my education, and my application would greatly benefit from your advocacy. I have compiled some anecdotes / takeaways from our time together, that I believe would be of aid in writing the letter:

  1. [How did you contribute to the learning environment? What is/was your role in the class?]
  2. [Which lesson(s) in the classroom intrigued you the most? Why?]
  3. [What accomplishment have you earned in this classroom / on the field that you are most proud of?]

The deadline for submission would be [DEADLINE OF SCHOLARSHIP]. Let me know if there is any additional information you would like from me.

I look forward to hearing your answer.

Thank you!