Tillman Tuesdays: Getting Recommendations

Blog, Tips for Applying | 02/15/2022

With applications for the 2022 class of Tillman Scholars now open through February 28, we want to help you make the most out of your application! While the process may be arduous, the rewards last a lifetime. As the Pat Tillman Foundation continues to address the leadership gap in our country, it is the passion and tenacity of our growing Tillman Scholar community that offers unique perspectives and creative solutions to overcome seemingly insurmountable issues facing our society and world.

In your application to join our Tillman Scholar community, we look for the 360 degree picture of you. While the application questions and essays are your opportunity too tell us your story, having extraordinary letters of recommendations allows us to see how your story has impacted others. This crucial portion of the application process may seem out of your hands; however, your approach to these letters can make an immense difference in your attempt to stand out. Check out some insight from our very own Tillman Scholars on how you can gather the most impactful letters of recommendations below:

“First, consider asking someone who knows you as a whole person instead of your role in your school or the military. I think the best letter of recommendation comes from the writer’s heart and not a list of your accomplishments. Second, ask early; the writer will need time to reflect on who you are and then write. Last, attach your resume or CV in the letter of recommendation request email. Also, if there are key strengths you’d like the letter writer to include, make sure to mention them. Remember that the letter of recommendation is another avenue to highlight yourself; providing ample information to your writer will help them write a comprehensive and detailed letter.” — HyeJung Park, 2020 Tillman Scholar

“Make a list of five to ten people that know you from work, school, military/volunteer service, or another journey. If there is someone on that list that is familiar enough with your efforts in more than one of those categories to offer specific examples of your leadership and potential for impact, target that person as your recommender. When you make the ask, be sure to explain what the opportunity is and why it is meaningful to you – a recommender that knows what they are recommending you for makes for a much more compelling reference.” — Tabatha Renz, 2013 Tillman Scholar, Associate Director of Programs

For more resources, please visit apply.ptf.org