To facilitate the work of letter writers, whose comments will play a critical role in your selection chances, please keep the following in mind:

  • Cultivate close, ongoing relationships early in your undergraduate career.
  • Ask potential letter writers whether they would be willing to write STRONG recommendations for you; politely ask for their frank assessment and be strategic about how you approach each.
  • Keep in mind some faculty will be on leave in the semester you would need their letter submission; find out in advance whether your potential writers will be accessible when you need them (whether on campus or through e-communication).
  • Give your letter writers plenty of notice (preferably 2-3 months prior to internal deadlines) and gentle reminders (one month, two weeks in advance) as deadlines approach.
  • Send your letter writers specific instructions on letter formatting and submission; make sure to copy their assistant if you know that person will be keeping tabs on letter filing.
  • Send your letter writers selection criteria for each fellowship to which you apply.
  • Fill out the Applicant History Questionnaire and forward it to your letter writers, or send your letter writers materials to support their detailed assessment of your application (your transcripts/course background, resume/list of extracurricular activities, plan or proposed course of study for each particular fellowship, relevant background information for them to paint a fuller picture of who you are).
    • If you think your writers would find letter-writing guidance useful, you can forward them the following message(s): LoR Guide for Faculty; LoR Guide for Organizational Supervisors
    • Download each file after logging in with your UT EID. Attach the file to your email requesting the rec letters, along with the completed Applicant History Questionnaire.
  • Ask your letter writers to address specific traits required of each fellowship (e.g. a leadership letter or a letter attesting to your scholastic abilities regarding a specialized field of study).
  • Indicate where relevant that you are willing to waive your right to see the letters.
  • Make sure you have asked for the appropriate number of letters required of each fellowship.

Should you require more guidance in this process, do not hesitate to contact the Office of Distinguished & Postgraduate Scholarships directly.