Fellowship Letter of Recommendation Writing Guide 2024

Trying to guarantee yourself a spot in the fellowship program at your dream university? A powerful recommendation letter for fellowship might do the magic.

In the face of the raging competition to join the top institutes, you must strengthen your application in every way possible. Remember, when applying to a leading institution, you’re competing against other candidates with similarly impressive academic merit. The word of a credible recommender can make a huge difference and increase your chances of getting selected.

If you seek a sample letter of recommendation for fellowship program, you’ve come to the right page. However, this article also covers a step-by-step guide on how to write a reference letter for fellowship programs, along with the best practices.

letter of recommendation for fellowship programs complete guide for how to write
what is fellowship recommendation letter and why is it important - learn all

What is a Fellowship Letter of Recommendation? Why is it Important?

Your fellowship LOR is an integral part of your application to a fellowship program. To put it simply, a recommendation letter is a letter endorsing your competence and assuring the admission committee that you’re indeed a deserving candidate.

A Recommendation Letter for research fellowship usually comes from a professor or other academic professional who has taught or mentored you. However, considering how busy they are and how often they receive requests for such letters, they don’t always have the time to write one. Instead, you might have to draft the letter yourself and get it signed by the recommender.

A recommendation letter for fellowship plays a huge role in your application, because it testifies to your qualities and abilities. Not everything can be included in your CV; there are various additional aspects that might influence the admission committee’s decision.

Your reference letter for postdoctoral fellowship can be the difference between getting selected for the fellowship program or having your application rejected. This is why it’s crucial to make sure that your LOR is powerful and puts you in the best light possible.

consulting a professional academic writer can reduce rejection/mistake risks. 

What Questions Should You Ask Before Writing a Reference Letter for Fellowship?

It’s imperative to cover all the relevant details in your recommendation letter. The LOR should also be tailored to your profile and your requirements. Make sure to ask yourself the following questions before you draft your recommendation letter for fellowship program. In case your recommender is the one writing it, discuss these with him/her.

How is the recommender connected to you?

The person recommending you for the fellowship program must be in a trustable position to do so. Explaining the recommender’s connection to the candidate makes the letter a lot more credible.

How well does your endorser know you?

Being in a trustable position to recommend you isn’t enough – the recommender should also know you well enough to provide valuable insights.

What kind of fellowship program are you applying to?

If you check out our fellowship recommendation letter sample, you’d notice that a good recommendation later is tailored according to the fellowship program it is for. The letter must elaborate on why the candidate is perfect for the program in particular.

What makes you a deserving candidate for the program?

The whole point of a reference letter for fellowship is to reinforce the idea that you deserve a chance to prove yourself through the fellowship program. Think of all the qualities that make you a deserving candidate.

Is there a specific format you need to follow?

Often, institutes set specific formats and other requirements that candidates must follow when writing their recommendation letters. If nothing is specified, you may follow the format used in our recommendation letter sample for fellowship application.

admission officers expects from letter of recommendation for fellowship programs

What Do Admission Officers Expect to Find in a Recommendation Letter for Fellowship?

The reason why LORs hold such importance is that the admission officers rely on them for a variety of information and insights on the candidates. Here are some of the details that your recommendation letter must cover.


The recommender’s impression of your personality can have a strong influence on the admission committee’s decision. The more your personality is relevant to the program, the better.

Soft skills:

Your hard skills are already covered in your CV, but your endorser can prove additional insights into your soft skills.


Let’s face it – basic qualities like being a hardworking student and having strong academic merit are too common in LORs. Your recommendation letter must cover unique individual traits that set you apart from the rest.


Hollow praise doesn’t do much good in a recommendation letter for fellowship doctor When discussing the candidate’s qualities, the recommender must justify them with examples.


Admission officers judge the authenticity of an LOR based on its tone and pitch. Of course, an LOR written by an experienced academic professional would usually be very different from one written by a candidate who is new to writing recommendation letters.

How long should a fellowship reference letter be?

As you might notice in our sample recommendation letter for fellowship program, LORs are usually 400 to 500 words long. Unless the institute’s LOR guidelines state otherwise, try to keep it within one page of an A4-sized sheet.

The font size should be either 11 or 12, and stick to professional fonts only. Arial and Times New Roman are good choices. Remember to maintain a 1-inch margin on each side of the page.

recommendation letter for fellowship lor example

Recommendation Letter for Fellowship Sample

The following sample recommendation letter for fellowship program will help you get a better understanding of what your LOR should look like. Take note of how the recommender has endorsed the candidate without seeming to praise him blindly or excessively. You may follow this sample fellowship letter of recommendation to fine-tune the tone, pitch, and format in your own LOR.

To whom it may concern,

It’s my privilege to recommend Mr Sounak Basu for your Journalism and Mass communication fellowship program. I am writing this later in the capacity of an educator who supervised Sounak through his research efforts during his postgraduate program. Having him as my student was a pleasure, for he always showed qualities that set him apart from the rest.

Sounak is a dedicated and hardworking student to say the least. However, it’s his inquisitive nature and hunger for knowledge that drew my attention. He has a strong passion for understanding complex theories down to their roots. However, he doesn’t just stop at learning the theories – he takes a practical approach and seeks to utilise them in his research endeavours.

I believe Sounak would be an ideal candidate for the fellowship program at your institute, not only due to his commitment to learning but also because of his active participation. I’ve grown to know him as a team player who’s always ready to volunteer for different projects and events. Not many students I’ve supervised have displayed his level of integrity, practicality, and dedication.

I’d also like to point out that Sounak took up a number of side projects on his own initiative during his postgraduate program under my guidance. I feel gratified to have had the privilege of guiding him with those projects and evaluating them. He certainly has the ability to think out of the box, always coming up with unique research ideas.

Lastly, I should mention that during my time as his mentor, I got to know him quite well as a person. Sounak is a cheerful and passionate student who is always ready to assist others as needed. Not only is he a committed learner himself, but he also takes pleasure in guiding other students with complex concepts and projects.

At this stage of his academic life, Sounak needs the global exposure offered by an esteemed institution like yours. I believe that pursuing a fellowship program at your institute will help him unlock his true potential and reach new heights. Considering his inquisitive nature, unrelenting commitment, and creativity, I don’t doubt that his success would, in turn, benefit the academic world.

I sincerely thank you for the opportunity to recommend an amazing student like Sounak, and can assure you that he would be a great addition to your esteemed institute. Do feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Yours Sincerely,

Rajiv Sharma,

Department of Journalism and Mass Communication,

University of Calcutta,



Guidelines for Using Samples

Of course, you can’t simply use the sample as a template – it would become too generic. Here’s how you can leverage LOR samples.

complete steps of writing a letter of recommendation for fellowship

Write Your Fellowship Reference Letter in 6 Steps

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on writing an effective recommendation letter for fellowship program.

Step 1: Explain the endorser’s connection with you

As mentioned earlier, establishing the endorser’s credibility is crucial. The introductory paragraph should explain the endorser’s relationship with the candidate.

Cover the academic qualities

Since the recommendation letter is for an academic program, your academic qualities take priority. In this regard, don’t forget to cover personality traits that enhance your academic performance.

Talk about extracurricular and additional activities

In addition to the candidate’s academic excellence in general, the endorser should also bring up any extra projects or activities that the candidate has partaken in.  

Write about the candidate’s personality

Now that all the skills and other academic aspects have been covered, the recommender should write a few lines about the candidate’s personality.

Step 5: Summarise the contents and persuade

The second-last section of the recommendation letter should summarize the candidate’s qualities and push the recommendation, emphasizing that he/she would be a great candidate.

Step 6: Conclude the letter

Finally, conclude the letter on a positive note, thanking the reader. The recommender should also share his/her contact details and assure the admission officers that they can contact him/her if they have any queries.

who can write letter of recommendation for fellowship

Who Can Write a Recommendation Letter for Fellowship?

The person writing your recommendation letter for fellowship must be in a position of authenticity and authority. The letter should also come from someone who knows you well enough to vouch for you. Usually, fellowship recommendation letters are written by professors, mentors, and HODs.

Final Checklist

  • Does the letter establish the recommender’s credibility?
  • Has the letter been written in the right format?
  • Is the flow of information sequential and logical?
  • Did you customize the LOR properly?
  • Is your LOR as good as the sample letter of recommendation for fellowship program?

Dos and don’ts



  • Maintain a professional tone
  • Proofread the document multiple times
  • Stay positive and enthusiastic
  • Emphasize your nature and personality
  • Use a flawless and high-quality language
  • Refrain from copying a recommendation letter for postdoc position sample and simply changing the names and course details.
  • Don’t exceed the specified word count.
  • Refrain from using any informal words or phrases.
  • Never use false information or exaggerate the candidate’s qualities.
  • Don’t spend too many words on generic qualities and achievements.

Tips for Writing a Fellowship LOR

  • Make sure the strengths discussed in the letter align with the requirements of the fellowship program in question.
  • Dedicate a paragraph explaining why the applicant is an ideal candidate for the institute.
  • Justify your statements about the candidate using practical examples.
  • Open the letter with a strong introduction and close it with a convincing conclusion.
  • Follow the sample recommendation letter for fellowship program closely.


Hopefully, the detailed guide and the sample above should be enough to help you draft a powerful recommendation letter for fellowship for yourself.

However, don’t hesitate to seek out professional assistance if you aren’t confident about writing a good LOR or find it too difficult.

Expert LOR writers can craft highly tailored recommendation letters for every purpose.

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Founder/Sr. Writer - SOP Consultants

Vasuki Ram, senior writer and the founder of SOP Consultants is a B-tech Graduate who used to work in an MNC. Starting from 2013, she along with her team has assisted more than 10,000 students. Shift in her career was drastic. Read full story here.

vasuki ram - professional and experienced content writer - sopconsultants
Founder/Sr. Writer - SOP Consultants

Vasuki Ram, senior writer and the founder of SOP Consultants is a B-tech Graduate who used to work in an MNC. Starting from 2013, she along with her team has assisted more than 10,000 students. Shift in her career was drastic. Read full story here.

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