Writing Recommendations for SACS
You have been identified as an esteemed member of a TTU student's support network. As such, the student has asked you to serve as a recommender for their Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship (SACS) application.
Accepting this invitation is a wonderful responsibility. The student is trusting your assessment of whether they can be successful while studying and living within a new cultural context. SACS recommendations are worth a combined total of 25% of an applicant's overall score, so your encouragement of a student's decision to study abroad matters greatly.
To assist you in writing a SACS recommendation, we have identified a few helpful tips:
- Be honest with your student if you are not the right person for the job.
If you are not comfortable or capable of writing a positive recommendation in support of their SACS application (or if you cannot commit to completing the recommendation by the deadline), then the student deserves time to find a different recommender. We recognize that it can be difficult to engage a student in this type of conversation, but by politely declining the invitation to be their SACS recommender, you give the student an opportunity to seek out someone who may be more appropriate or more available to fulfill this important obligation.
- Invite your student to have a conversation with you – on the phone, over coffee, or
during your office hours – to explain why they are choosing to study abroad.
An open discussion with your student not only allows you to better understand their motives; it also helps them to practice articulating their reasons for investing in a study abroad experience. This is especially important when they begin to write their scholarship application essay.
- Visit the TTU Study Abroad website and read the tips that we provide to all SACS applicants.
You can encourage your student to follow this advice as it is designed to increase their chances of receiving a high score from the SACS Awards Committee. Some recommenders even go above and beyond by volunteering to offer feedback on their student's application essay!
- When you are ready to write, be sure to compose your answers offline using a text-editor
such as Microsoft Word.
You can later copy and paste the text into the online recommender form without the risk of losing unsaved work. Remember, recommendations that are sent as email attachments will not be accepted; you must use the online form. If you did not receive an email containing a link to the online recommender form, please check your junk or spam folder before asking your student for help.
- Request confirmation from your student that the online recommendation was successfully
They can do this easily by logging into their SACS application. If you experience technical difficulties with the online recommender form, let your student know so that they can directly contact the SACS Coordinator on your behalf. The SACS Coordinator will then communicate with the student to resolve the issue promptly.
- Give yourself at least one week to complete the online recommender form.
You will want sufficient time to compose a sincere and thoughtful endorsement of the student. Incomplete or hastily written recommendations typically do not receive high scores from the SACS Awards Committee.
Texas Tech University Office of the Provost International Affairs is grateful for your support of study abroad at Texas Tech. We look forward to reading your SACS recommendation.
— The Study Abroad Team