Request Letters of Recommendation
Most scholarships require anywhere from 2-8 letters of recommendation. These letters should be detailed and specific to you, and reinforce the achievements highlighted in your application. They should also emphasize achievements and experiences you did not get to mention in your application.
Give your recommenders plenty of time to complete their letters. Make the process as easy as possible: type out explicit directions, include SASE when applicable, etc. Send a gentle follow-up reminder closer to the due date.
Be specific as to what you’d like emphasized in the letter and have different recommenders emphasize different aspects of your character and academic/extra-curricular accomplishments. Remind your recommenders of specific papers, performances, projects, etc. Attach current resumes for their review.
More effective letters come from professors and other individuals who know you well versus the “big name” professor or official who hasn’t the time or sufficient knowledge of you to write more than a form letter.
Vary the sources of your letters: don’t choose recommenders only from your major professors. Show that you impress faculty and other individuals in a variety of fields.