Writing Effective Reference Letters for Student Fellowships


Bronfman Building Room 179, 1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G5, CA

Professors are often asked to write letters of reference by students applying for awards and employment. While time-consuming and sometimes difficult, a strong reference letter can change the outcome of any application. This workshop will help you write effective letters for all situations, and even handle unrealistic requests.

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  • Know the fellowship application and letter review process from the adjudicators’ perspective
  • Acquire the tools & strategies to draft a “memorable” versus a “good” letter
  • Avoid common mistakes when writing reference letters
  • Learn to represent McGill students by writing effective reference letters for:
    • Excellent students applying to high-profile, elite competitions
    • Good students applying to general competitions
    • Other students in varying situations Identify when and how to say ‘no’

Writing Effective Reference Letters will help you save valuable time and effort, while helping your students (and McGill!) stand out in a competitive world.





McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

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