Scholarship Letter of Recommendation: The Worst

A scholarship letter of recommendation or two go with every application for free money for college. The trouble is, you may not know what that letter says about you. To win the scholarship or grant, you will want a great recommendation. The letter below suggests what to avoid.



A Scholarship Letter Full of Mistakes

Let’s say you have a teacher or coach you ask to write you a recommendation. Sometimes, you may ask the wrong person – it happens. Take a look at how this letter doesn’t help a fake student I’ll call Candace.

Remember, this is fake, and no scholarships were harmed in writing this letter ;-).


The Worst Scholarship Letter Of Recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

Candice first asked me to write this letter yesterday, after failing a test in my class, Remedial Sociology for Engineering Students 1006, which she has already repeated twice. I would have turned her down, but she begged and said she didn’t have anyone else she could ask, so I said I’d do it.

I have known Candy for about 3 weeks. I just took over this class from the previous grad student, and I am a first year doctoral candidate.

As a student, Candyace does pretty well when she applies herself, unfortunately I haven’t seen that kind of work. The other students seem to work harder then her, but she is a snappy dresser. She usually has something nice to say, if she comes to class.

You can rest assured that her criminal behavior is long behind her, as she is now in a study release program, the victim survived the attack, and she is doing well in her rehab program. You’ll be relieved to know that she has an excellent tutor at the state penitentiary that helps her in most subjects. (Her tutor has served only 18 months of a 10 yrs to life sentence and a degree - 2nd degree - so Candce will have lots of help.) She expects to maintain a 2.0 gpa most of this year.

I can definitely recommend her writing skills as well. Whenver she misses class, Canace will leave me a note at my office as to what illness she has been suffering. So far, she has had 3 tonsillectomies; regrettably, each coincided with a test in class.

While I help relatively few students and this is my first scholarship letter of recommendation, I am happy to help anyone who will believe in their future, show optimism, and work toward a goal. None of these describe Kandace, but she asked for a letter and I didn’t feel I could refuse, since this was the only way she would go out with me.

Yours truly,

Phil L. Obotomy

Interim Substitute Adjunct Teaching Assistant of Animal Husbandry




Candace Needs Help – But Don’t Put That in the Letter!

Okay, not the greatest scholarship letter of recommendation. In fact, if someone writes a letter like this for you, change your name so you can apply again!

Seriously, your problems don’t belong in a letter like this. Everyone has problems! Leave them out of the letter, and ask people to write scholarship letters who will highlight your strong points.

You may want to ask if someone can recommend you in a way that lets them say no if they don't feel they can offer a good letter. For instance, you could ask if they will have time to write a letter supporting you getting a scholarship. You can also ask by way of email.

Then, after you find someone, you can offer suggestions as to what to put in the letter. Sometimes, you can even write the letter for them.

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