Frequently Asked Questions about Scholarships
Please find below some frequently asked questions regarding CUNY Baccalaureate scholarships.
- How should I approach a faculty member for a recommendation?
- Will CUNY BA reach out to my recommender for my recommendation?
- What’s the ideal content of a letter of recommendation?
- Can I submit one recommendation letter if I’m applying to multiple scholarships at once?
- How can I get my letters to CUNY BA, and who should receive them?
- I’ve previously submitted a letter of recommendation for a scholarship in a different semester or year. Do I need to submit another recommendation?
- Can I ask a CUNY BA staff member to write a recommendation letter for me?
- I submitted a letter of recommendation to CUNY BA when I applied to the program. Can you use the same letter for my scholarship applications?
- What is the Smith Fellowship Committee looking for when they read applications?
- Do you have any tips for writing a strong, well-written application statement?
- Do I need a high GPA to apply for a Smith Fellowship?
- Who should write my letter of recommendation?
Provide a faculty member with information about the scholarship that you’re applying for, information about your work and activities to refresh their memories about your achievements, and meet with them to discuss your application. A strong letter of recommendation that addresses your seriousness of purpose and academic and intellectual achievement goes a long way.
For more tips, please see these “8 Simple Steps for Requesting a Recommendation Letter,” put together by the University of Maryland.
No. It is the responsibility of the student to coordinate with your recommender to deliver the recommendation to Regina Mattews by the application deadline.
The recommendation letter should address your capabilities and qualifications as they relate to the scholarship for which you are applying.
Please mail or fax recommendations to the attention of Regina Matthews at the CUNY BA office, or they can be emailed from a professor’s CUNY email account to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, please submit a new recommendation each semester that you apply for a scholarship.This ensures that the recommendation is relevant to the scholarship and that it is up to date. All recommendations are read carefully and contribute greatly to the review of your application.
No, please do not ask a CUNY BA staff member (mentors, directors, et al) to write you a recommendation. We consider this a conflict of interest.
No. Please submit a new letter that is specific to the scholarship for which you are applying. This ensures that the recommendation is relevant to the scholarship and that it is up to date.
The Smith Fellowship recognizes academic and intellectual achievement and excellence. The committee is interested in candidates’ seriousness of purpose and depth of experience in their fields, corresponding co-curricular activities, as well as any academic honors and recognitions. Civic and community engagement may be noted as well.
Be sure to answer each question fully and to the best of your ability, cite specific examples in your answers to questions, and proof-read your writing several times. Enlist the help of a friend, colleague, professor, or Writing Center representative to assist you with editing. Typos can be avoided. And, rather than type your answers directly into the form, type and proof-read them separately, then cut and paste them onto the form instead.
GPA is not the lone factor in the committee’s decision; however, you should maintain as strong a GPA as possible and include an explanation about any low/incomplete grades. In this explanation, include your expectation of when the incomplete grade will be finished.
A letter of recommendation should be written by someone who knows you and your work well. If you are applying for the Thomas W. Smith Fellowship, your recommendation letter should ideally be written by your CUNY BA faculty mentor. If you are new to the CUNY BA program and do not yet have a mentor, then your recommendation for the Thomas W. Smith Fellowship can be written by another faculty member.