Texas Tech University

Tips to Help you Get a Scholarship

It usually helps if you can visualize what goes on behind the scenes. The English Department Scholarship Committee has access to the Scholarship database that pulls information from many sources. They cannot see your FAFSA application, but can see some of the data drawn from it on the Scholarship database. Your Scholarship Application is available via this database as well as your letters of recommendation. Some information is also drawn from Raiderlink. So decisions are made based on

  • Your application.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Financial information from the Scholarship Database that is drawn from certain portions of the FAFSA.
  • What the committee members already know about you.

So, what can you do to present yourself well?

Your Application

  • Follow the directions! It's amazing how many do not. Those that do, stand out.
  • Proofread your entries. Especially for English majors, grammatical and spelling mistakes put you in a poor light. The occasional error won't prejudice you all that much, but if the mistakes are noticeable, they may create the impression that you did not treat the application very seriously.
  • For the questions that require thoughtful answers try to put yourself into the shoes of a faculty member trying to make the best use of departmental scholarship funds. What do they need to know about you to help them make a good decision? Be as concise as possible, but also be up-front about your situation.
  • Eligibility. Although all graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at TTU are encouraged to apply, please be aware that awards normally cannot be granted during the semester in which you are graduating. They can be awarded prior to the start of that final semester, but not during it. For this reason, students in their last semester attending TTU should NOT apply.

Letters of Recommendation

  1. You should request letters of recommendation from someone who is familiar with you as well as your work. This person should usually be an English teacher who is aware of your abilities as an English major as well as some information about your personal life. Teachers are the ones who will have knowledge of your enthusiasm for the discipline, your clarity of thought, and your personal and work ethic. Advisors do not know your work in this way so are not appropriate for this task. If you don't have a knowledgeable TTU English teacher, you could request a letter from a supervisor, or some other person who has served in a supervisory capacity (for example, a supervisor whom you had contact with while volunteering at a local or national organization.)
  2. Because the best letters of recommendation come from English teachers who know you, it is best if you enter into each class treating each teacher as if you might request a letter of recommendation from them. Open and keep open lines of communication by emailing them each time you are absent or having difficulties with coursework or deadlines. Visit with them after class or during their office hours. Share with them appropriate personal details, no more and no less than is appropriate for the occasion. Some, but not all, will be interested in knowing about your interests outside of class, but all should be made aware of your particular interests in the field of English studies. Usually these things come up naturally in a classroom or office-hours discussion. All you have to do is share. This will be easier for some of you than for others.
  3. Your request for a letter of recommendation should be written as a letter or email with a current resume attached. Resumes can be structured for different purposes so before you make it available, look at it imagining yourself as a Scholarship Committee member. Your cover letter to the potential recommender can include additional important information, but at the very least make sure that recommenders are made aware of submission deadlines for letters. Provide them with an addressed, stamped envelope or the URL of the website if it is to be submitted electronically.

Revised 12/2/2014