Yale College
Center for International and Professional Experience
55 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT
06510   USA

Writing Letters of Recommendation

The information below is general advice pertinent to most major fellowships and certainly applicable to smaller competitions. Of course, not every strong letter may be able to support the applicant in each of these ways, but all strong letters provide a vivid sense of what distinguishes the applicant.

If you are writing for the Rhodes, Marshall, or Fulbright, the student will provide you with specific guidelines pertaining to that competition.

Click on a heading below to get taken directly to that section.


What Helps

What Hurts

When to Say "No"

You can help the student to consider other possible letter writers, but agreeing to write for a student whom you cannot strongly support is good for no one.

Other Considerations


(Some of the items above are responses to an informal survey of Truman Scholarship selection panel members. With thanks to Mary Tolar, Deputy Secretary of the Truman Scholarship Foundation.)