Boettcher scholarship semifinalist tips

Making it to the semifinal round of the Boettcher Scholarship is a big accomplishment. Boettcher scholars are at the tops of their classes, actively involved in their communities, and passionate about everything from art to engineering to solving global hunger. We tracked down some of CSU’s Boettcher scholars and got the inside scoop on how they made it through the finalist stage.

“Your letters of recommendation are the entire semifinal round. That means you need to be really thoughtful about who you choose to write letters for you. Choose wisely, choose early, and let your letter writers know very early — months in advance if possible!” –Eric

“Show your letter writers your application and talk to them about the Boettcher scholarship. Go over your resume with them. Talk through your passions, your academic achievements, and any areas you’d like them to speak specifically about in their letter.” –Leah

Send thank-yous or get appreciation gifts for your letter writers. If you make it through the next round, it’s because of them.” –Janaye

Get people from different areas of your life to write letters of recommendation for you. If you’ve already got a teacher in mind, ask someone who knows you outside of school, like a member of your church or a community member who knows you well. You want people who can speak authentically about who you are in different venues.” –Jonathan 

“Send your letter writers points about you to help guide them. Ask them to write about impactful things that have defined your relationship with them.” –Kori

“You want to choose people who will hype you up, but also be real and honest about who you are. Their letter of recommendation doesn’t have to be all dazzle; you want them to paint the whole picture of who they know you to be — your highest and lowest points, the good things and the bad, and the way you made it through all of it.” –Janaye

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Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.