Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation should be used to supplement your application. Think of them as a way to tell the scholarship committee something about yourself that they might not learn from your resume or essay/media submission.
With this in mind, ask people that you know who have an actual idea about your character or something you have worked on. Be sure to ask MORE people than the minimum requirement. If you need two letters, then ask 4-6 people to write one. After reading the letters, select the ones that supplement your essay and resume to paint a full picture of YOU, then submit the number of letters that were requested by the committee. Do not submit more letters than requested.
If someone asks you to write your own, DON’T! Decline and ask them again. If they refuse, then move on to someone else. Yes, people are busy. However, a letter of recommendation is supposed to be words someone else wrote about you. This is only a disservice to you. I cannot tell you how many times I have reviewed letters of recommendation as a coach or as part of an interview or scholarship committee and it becomes painfully obvious that the candidate wrote their own letters of recommendation. Believe me, it is more noticeable than you think. Committee members notice things like common phrases, writing styles and other tell-tale signs. Additionally, if you are going to write your own for other people to sign, DO NOT write the same letter twice and have your recommendations sign them and then submit both. Yes, I have seen this, too. It is almost automatically disqualifying because it seems dishonest and shows a lack of caring or downright laziness.
The purpose of Letters of Recommendation are to showcase your skills and show how well-rounded you are as a candidate. Please do not sell yourself short or cheat yourself out of these easy points. And don’t miss a great opportunity to sell yourself to the scholarship committee or interview team!
- Having the letter of recommendation only talk about your flying ability.
- Not reading the letter before submission.
- Submitting either too many, or not enough, letters of recommendation.
- Writing your own.
- Repeat information.
- EVERY applicant has someone submit a letter of recommendation commending their flying ability. This is great, but it doesn’t make you unique. Instead, find someone who can write about your character and work ethic. Are you someone who goes out of their way to help others? Or works two jobs to pay for flight training? Do you have a talent or some other story that makes you stand out? If so, make sure that is included! Letters of recommendation should help create a clear picture of WHO you are as a person- more so than what you can do.
- Read the letters. Choose the ones that represent you the best.
- Follow the directions. If the application asks for two, submit two. An extra letter WILL NOT earn you extra points. Instead, points will be deducted due to failure to follow instructions.
- DO NOT WRITE YOUR OWN LOR.
- Make sure your letters of recommendation are unique and provide information that can’t be found on your resume, essay, media submission, etc.