For Recommenders

Suggestions to Recommendation Writers

We have attempted in the links below to give you advice about what various scholarships are looking for in their applicants and to demystify the internal Duke process and what we are asking of recommenders.  If at any time you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at or by phone at 919-660-3071. 

If your student is planning to apply for multiple scholarships with similar deadlines, we do not need multiple letters until just before the final OUSF deadline.  Please note that each scholarship is looking for a slightly different mix of three primary characteristics: academic merit, leadership, and future promise or ambassadorial potential and so in the end, each letter will need to reflect that.  But, for the initial phases of the application, OUSF can use a more general letter.  In it we are looking for your assessment of the students’ future potential both in terms of their academics and the mark they will make on the world.

All students have waived their rights to see your letter and it is against OUSF policy to accept letters drafted by the student and signed by their faculty.  

We have not addressed in the following links the problem of gender bias in letters of recommendation.  We are hearing from foundations that it is a common problem in letters they receive.   Lehigh University has a good website addressing the issue and we commend it to you.  

Fellowships for Rising Seniors, Alumni, and Grad Students

Fellowships for Sophomores and Juniors