Financial Aid & Scholarship Office

Online Letter of Recommendation Guidelines

Instructions for Students

At least one letter of recommendation must be submitted by a reference, in addition to the submission of the online Wildcat Scholarship Application in order to be considered for a scholarship. Please have no more than two letters submitted on your behalf.

  • In the Wildcat Scholarship Application, you must enter the name and email address of each person for whom you are requesting a letter of recommendation. They will be automatically emailed requesting information and instructions on how to submit a letter.
  • Ensure you have already asked your recommender(s) to submit a letter on your behalf, and they can speak to your academic and/or personal success.
  • Letters must be uploaded by the recommenders. Any letters submitted by the student/applicant will automatically be disqualified. 

Scholarships in these areas do not require the letter of recommendation, but a student's scholarship opportunities will be increased by also submitting a letter of recommendation for consideration of other university scholarships.

  • The Department of Art and Art History requires all majors in their department submit an Art Portfolio.
  • The Department of Music and Theatre requires an audition for consideration of all music and theatre scholarship opportunities.
  • Please contact these departments for more details regarding the portfolio or audition.
  • The Letter of Recommendation reference is a required field on the application. If you choose to complete an audition or a portfolio only, you must enter "Scholarship Office" as the name of the reference and for the email address to fill the requirement.

How to Ask for a Recommendation

  • Ask Early: Be considerate. Don't wait until the last minute to ask for a reference. Letters may be requested by you personally before the Wildcat Scholarship Application opens or before you complete the application. This will allow for your reference to have your letter ready to submit when they receive the email request from us.
  • Choose Wisely: Ask someone who knows you well and can write about your academic potential, your career goals, your volunteer and organizational commitments, etc. A recommender could be a faculty member or teacher, a counselor, an advisor, an employer, or an organizational leader. They should have direct contact with you, but should not be an immediate relative.
  • Provide Info: It may be a while since you’ve spoken to a prospective reference, provide the recommender with a resume or a list of accomplishments, activities and goals, and an unofficial academic transcript to assist in the preparation of the letter. Provide faculty with the course name and semester you were enrolled. Make an effort to go to their office hours to ask them to brief them on what you have been doing and ask for a letter.
  • Follow Up: You are responsible to monitor that a letter has been submitted on your behalf on your scholarship application account. You may want to contact your reference to follow up personally to remind them of the deadline as necessary. Though only one reference letter is required it’s always good to have a second reference request as a backup.
  • Send Thanks: To keep the relationship and show your appreciation—always remember to let your recommenders know the outcome and thank them. This maintains a good relationship for the long-term--you may need to ask your recommender for something again in the future.

Instructions for Recommendation Providers

Please provide the student with your name and email address which they will enter in their application. You will receive an email requesting a letter and instructions on how to upload and submit the letter during the application period. All letters must be submitted by Recommenders through Recommender's email account and link provided. Any letters submitted by the student/applicant and their email will be disqualified.

Using the following questions as a guide, we suggest you provide an overall rating that assesses the applicant's abilities, talents and potential for academic success:

  • How long have you known the applicant and under what circumstances have you become familiar with the applicant's academic abilities?
  • Please assess the applicant's exceptional achievements and ability to contribute to the University's learning environment and or within the local community (i.e. out of classroom projects, events, and community involvements).
  • Indicate the applicant's potential for success, leadership skills and specific areas of interest.
  • Describe adverse circumstances the student has had to overcome to achieve success.
  • How would you rate the applicant's motivation and initiative in pursuing academic and career goals?

Please include the student's full name in your letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation should be official letterhead as a PDF or Microsoft Word document. If letterhead is not available you may upload it without letterhead. The content of your letter will be confidential and only provided to appropriate scholarship reviewers.

Your letter of recommendation must be submitted by February 20th. 

How To Upload your letter:

  1. Document name: DO NOT to use any special characters or periods in the name of your document. 
  2. Save your letter in Word or pdf format.
  3. Sign in to the scholarship platform(opens in new window).
    • CSU Chico staff/faculty use your Chico State credentials.
    • External users: on the second tab, select Reference and Reviewers; you will see a button that says "Continue with Blackbaud" instead of email and password fields.  Click the "Continue with Blackbaud" button.
      • The next screen's title is "Sign in" but has a "Sign up" link at the bottom.
      • If you do not yet have a BBID and your email address is not a Gmail or Apple email, click the Sign-Up link in Need an account. Sign up.   
      •  If the email in your Award or Stewardship Management system is the same as your Google or Apple ID, you can use Google or Apple to access Award or Stewardship Management.  Only use this option if your email in use for  Award or Stewardship Management is the same as this email account (for example, a Gmail account).  
      • Otherwise, simply enter your Email address, Password, Confirm password, First Name, and Last Name.  Double-check that you have entered in your email and password correctly.  Then click the blue "Sign up" button.
      •  An email with a confirmation code will be sent to the account for verification.  Enter the confirmation code and click Next.
  4. Upload by adding document. Create name of document for visually impaired purposes.
  5. Save and then Submit

Letters can not be uploaded by students and MUST be uploaded by recommenders through your email to meet authentication requirements. If you have questions, email

Checking Letters Status Online

Students may check submission status online by signing back into your Wildcat Scholarship Application. On the Reference tab, click on "Active". Under the Status Column you will see if your letter has been "Submitted" or still in "Not Started" status. You may decide to send another request by clicking on the "Resend Request" button. If necessary, you may need to follow-up directly with your Recommender.

letter status