Securing Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation, evaluation, or reference are the ‘currency’ of academia and the post-grad world, and without them, nobody moves up to the next level. Strong letters are especially crucial for success in landing an internship, gaining access to graduate school, and - for our purposes -  securing scholarships and fellowships competitions. 

Fellowship selection committees typically look to recommendation letters to help assess a candidate’s fit for the award.  The input from those who know you and your work brings to life the skills and experiences you will include in your application.

What makes a good letter:

  • Strong letters of recommendation make claims for a student’s fit for the scholarship, job, internship by providing concrete supporting evidence.
  • When providing evidence, letter writers use narrative techniques to show the student in action and illustrate your superlative descriptions.
  • Letter writers also need to be able to provide context – they often times need to talk about things like specific programs or opportunities at CSBSJU, specifics about a course, specifics about your research consider or your backgrounds.
  • The person that is writing them can talk about your professionalism and experiences – like having a strong GPA or you have gone above and beyond to master course content…, but should also be able to touch on your personal character traits such as resiliency, leadership, communication, or showing compassion towards others.

To secure the strongest letter possible, complete our “Securing Strong LORs” handout. 

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Elianna Knutson
Temporary Director
Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholars
Experience Hub
CSB Clemens A116