Guidance on Letters of Recommendation

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Pen to paper

Thank you for taking the time to recommend a student for a nationally competitive scholarship. Yours is an important contribution to the applicant’s candidacy.

Every scholarship has a specific set of criteria that they ask letter-writers to address. These characteristics often include academic merit, leadership, service, and long-term potential. Your letter of recommendation should directly address these criteria. In the links below, we will identify the timeline and criteria as established by the scholarship foundation, but you should consult with the applicant as well to learn about the major themes of their materials. 

All students have waived their right to see your letter and it is NAFA and OUSF policy to reject letters drafted by the student. 

With some notice, we are happy to provide feedback on letters of recommendation. For questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at ncs-ousf@duke.edu.

Faculty Recommendation Guidance for Fellowships

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logo Beinecke scholarship
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Superior standards of intellectual ability
  • Scholastic achievement
  • Personal promise
  • Plan to enter a research-focused master’s or doctoral program or MFA in the arts, humanities or social sciences
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters3 total:  Letters should address the nominee’s intellectual curiosity, character, and potential for advanced graduate study.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicant will go forward to compete at the national level.

March 1
Endorsement Decisions Announced Late March
National Deadline March 29

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. If your applicant is endorsed, Duke will submit your letter to the national committee on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Beinecke Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Beinecke criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship and/or character?
  • How does their graduate study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS before the end of January.
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logo Churchill Scholarship
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Outstanding academic achievement. There is no minimum GPA, though most applicants have a very high average. The Committee looks at achievement in STEM courses, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades and recommendation letters.
  • Proven talent in research. Applicants in the sciences and engineering will demonstrate extensive laboratory experience, internships, or other related work, while applicants in mathematics will show substantial independent work or other projects. The Committee looks for originality and creativity.
  • Outstanding personal qualities. Understanding the time commitment required by research, the Churchill Foundation does not seek so-called “well-rounded applicants”; instead, it seeks applicants with what we call interesting “jagged edges.” The Committee takes into account interests and achievements outside of research, but it does not favor any particular kind of activity.
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters4, all of whom should be familiar with the applicant’s academic or research work.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application DeadlineNCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.TBA
Endorsement Decisions Announced Mid-October
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu

    For the National Round: You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Churchill Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Churchill criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Cambridge the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS in October.

 

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Churchill Scholarship foundation to recommendation writers.

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logo DAAD Scholarship
Guidelines
Criteria

Academic qualifications

  • Academic achievements
  • Course of studies
  • Knowledge of the language of instruction or working language
  • If applicable, relevant internships, work experience

Quality of the study project

  • Quality of the study project and of the preparation (preliminary information, choice of degree program, host university and establishment of contacts)
  • Integration of the project into the course of study, if relevant

Potential of the applicant

  • Motivation: academic and personal reasons for the stay in Germany, German language skills (if different from the working language)
  • Prospects: Significance of the stay in Germany for further academic, professional and personal development
  • Extracurricular commitment: extracurricular knowledge and skills, social commitment
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters1

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

September 27
Endorsement Decisions Announced Late October
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round: You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “DAAD Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the DAAD criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship and/or character?
  • Why is Germany the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS during the end of the second week of class in the fall semester.

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logo Fulbright
Guidelines
 Study/ResearchEnglish Teaching Assistantship (ETA)
Criteria
  1. Proposal Strength
    • Validity
    • Feasibility
    • Methodology
    • Strengths of research affiliation/host institution
    • Appropriateness of the choice of location
    • Arts Applicants: Technical and professional accomplishment in discipline
  2. Preparation
    • Research or transferrable experience
    • Academic background
    • Language ability (as needed)
  3. Potential as a US cultural ambassador
    • Interest in learning from the host country   community beyond research or study agenda
    • Maturity, adaptability, flexibility
    • Knowledge of country’s culture, society, news, or history
  1. Preparation for Teaching 
    • Experience or capacities for teaching or mentoring
    • Strong communication skills
    • Academic background
  2. Potential as a US cultural ambassador
    • Capacity to respond well to challenges
    • Maturity, adaptability, flexibility
    • Engaging students, teachers, and community
    • Knowledge of a country’s culture, society, news, or history
Number of Recommendation Letters33

 

 

Application Timeline

StageDescriptionDeadline
Duke Campus DeadlineNCS review committee evaluates the applicationsAugust 23
National Foundation Submission TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and should submit the letter online by the campus deadline. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf, nor can it be altered after it has been submitted.

To whom do I address the letter?

  • Please address your letter to the “Fulbright Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Fulbright criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is the proposed host country the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Fulbright Program to recommendation letter writers.

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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Logo
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Demonstrated abilities and aptitude for research
  • Communication skills, strong writing and editing,
  • Relevant language skills, where necessary
  • Data science skills
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters

2. Applicants will select a focus area that will determine which project they get assigned to as a junior fellow. Letters of recommendation should speak to the applicant’s qualifications for their chosen focus area.  

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

November 22
Endorsement Decisions Announced Mid December
National Deadline January 15

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. If your applicant is endorsed, Duke will submit your letter to the national committee on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Gaither Fellowship Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Gaither criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS in early January.
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logo Gates Cambridge
Guidelines
Special ConsiderationsNote that the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship application is integrated with the admissions application for Cambridge. However, Gates-Cambridge applicants must submit both parts of the application by the Gates deadline which may fall before the admissions deadline set by the department.
Criteria
  • Academic Excellence
  • Reasons for Choice of Course (ie, Degree)
  • Commitment to Improving the Lives of Others
  • Capacity for Leadership
See the Gates-Cambridge website for more detail
Endorsement Required?No
Number of Recommendation LettersThe Gates section of the Cambridge application requires one letter of recommendation. Two additional letters will be submitted to support the admissions section.
Application Deadlines

US citizens: TBA

Non-US citizens: TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the application deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Members of the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Gates-Cambridge criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Cambridge the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from Gates-Cambridge for recommendation writers.

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logo Goldwater foundation
Guidelines

Criteria

  • Strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering,
  • Academic excellence: effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics and engineering, and
  • Potential for a significant future contribution to research in their chosen field

Endorsement required?

Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters3
Letter Format

1) two single-spaced pages, or less, 2) one-inch margins on all sides, 3) 12-point font, 4) printed on letterhead (letterhead may extend into the one-inch margins) and 5) signed. Do not include hyperlinks.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application DeadlineNCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.November 8
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early December
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your information will be entered into the national application platform and your letter will be uploaded by a member of the NCS team. If you wish to make any adjustments to your letter ahead of the national deadline, contact ncs-ousf@duke.edu as soon as possible.TBA

 

FAQS

My student plans an MD/PhD, does that qualify them for this scholarship?

  • The Goldwater Scholarship is designed to encourage research careers, not clinical careers. As such, they expect students who plan an MD/PhD career to see their career as primarily research oriented.

My student plans a research career in industry, does that qualify them for this scholarship?

  • Yes.  Goldwater makes no distinction between an academic or industry-centered career.

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round: a member of the NCS team will upload your letter into the national application platform on your behalf, If you wish to make any adjustments to your letter ahead of the national deadline, contact ncs-ousf@duke.edu as soon as possible.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Goldwater Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Goldwater criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS before the end of the fall semester.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Goldwater Scholarship foundation to recommendation writers.

Formatting requirements for letters of recommendation per Goldwater Foundation.

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logo Knight-Hennessy scholars
Guidelines

Special Considerations

Note that the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is a separate application from Stanford admissions and the scholarship deadline may fall before the admissions deadline. If you are asked to write for both an applicant’s admissions application and for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars application, each letter should be distinct and designed for different audiences.
Criteria
  1. Independence of Thought
    • Demonstrates intellectual ability and clear thinking
    • Communicates clearly based on reflection and introspection
    • Seeks out new knowledge, perspectives, and experiences
    • Makes sense of ambiguous circumstances
    • Generates ideas to solve problems
  2. Purposeful Leadership
    • Achieves impactful results
    • Confronts challenges with courage, persistence, and resilience
    • Seeks to improve self and others
    • Includes and inspires others to effect change
    • Makes decisions in accordance with values
  3. Civic Mindset
    • Demonstrates humility, kindness, integrity, and accountability
    • Makes a habit of serving and helping others
    • Thoughtful and considerate of others’ perspectives
    • Embraces difference and celebrates diverse opinions and experiences
    • Strives to make our world a better place
Endorsement Required?No
Number of Recommendation LettersThe Knight-Hennessy Scholars application requires two letters of recommendation. Additional letters will be submitted to support the admissions application
Application DeadlineOctober 12, 4pm Eastern

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the application deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Members of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Knight-Hennessy criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Stanford the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from Knight-Hennessy for recommendation writers.

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Sciences Po logo
Guidelines
Criteria

The Scholarship is awarded each year to one American student who exemplifies the core values embodied by its namesake:

  • Excellence
  • Leadership
  • Multiculturalism
  • High achievement

 

In addition to their academic qualifications, awardees demonstrate strong character, instincts to lead, and commitment to both local and global communities.
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters3 total, two of which must be academic in nature.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicant will go forward to compete at the national level.

September 27
Endorsement Decisions Announced Mid-November
National DeadlineOUSF will transmit all the application materials, including letters of recommendation, to the national foundation.TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round:  NCS will transmit the application materials for the endorsed candidate, you will not need to resubmit your letter.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Michel David-Weill Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Michel David-Weill criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Science-Po the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS in mid-November.
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logo Marshall scholarship
Guidelines
Criteria
  1. Academic Merit
    • Appropriate academic program choice,
    • Evidence of high academic achievement
    • Compelling reason to study in the UK
  2. Leadership Potential
    • Strength of Purpose
    • Creativity
    • Self-Awareness
  3. Ambassadorial Potential
    • Knowledge of US/UK Relations
    • Interpersonal Skills and Ability to Engage with Others
    • Ability to appreciate the needs, motives and concerns of others
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Length1000-word maximum
Number of Recommendation Letters3 total:  Two academic letters, one identified as “Preferred” and one leadership letter (this may also be an academic, but must speak directly to leadership)

 

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

August 8
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early September
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.TBA

 

FAQS

How long should my letter be?

  • The Marshall Scholarship allows for no more than 1000 words. This text will be manually entered into a text box on the Marshall application site without the possibility of using rich formatting or images, including letterhead. As such, please plan to include your full title and contact information.

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round: You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead.

To whom do I address the letter?

  • Please address your letter to the chair and committee members of the region to which your applicant is applying OR to the “Marshall Selection Committee Members”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Marshall criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is the United Kingdom the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS during the end of the second week of class in the fall semester.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Marshall Scholarship Commission to recommendation writers.

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Mitchell Scholarship logo
Guidelines
Criteria
  1. Scholarship
    • Appropriate academic program choice
    • Evidence of high academic achievement
    • Compelling reason to study in Ireland or Northern Ireland
  2. Leadership
    • Strength of Purpose
    • Creativity
    • Self-Awareness
  3. Commitment to community and public service
    • Ability to Engage with Others
    • Ability to appreciate the needs, motives and concerns of others
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Length750 word-maximum
Number of Recommendation Letters4 total: At least two of the four much be from persons with whom the student has done academic work.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

August 8
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early September
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.TBA

 

FAQS

How long should my letter be?

  • The Mitchell Scholarship allows for no more than 750 words.

Where do I submit my letter?

  • For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round: You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf.

To whom do I address the letter?

  • Please address your letter to the “Mitchell Selection Committee Members”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Mitchell criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Ireland the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS during the end of the second week of class in the fall semester.

FURTHER RESOURCES

From the Mitchell Foundation about recommendations.

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logo Rhodes scholarship
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Literary and scholastic attainments (academic excellence)
  • Energy to use talents to the full (as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, particularly where teamwork is involved)
  • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
  • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
Endorsement RequiredYes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of RecommendersUp to 8 total, at least four must be academic in nature.

 

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application DeadlineNCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.August 8
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early September
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit?

  • For the Endorsement Round: submit  your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu
  • For the National Round: You will receive a link from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf.

To whom do I address the letter?

  • Please address your letter to the chair and committee members of the district to which your applicant is applying OR to the “Rhodes Selection Committee Members”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Rhodes criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is Oxford the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS during the end of the second week of class in the fall semester.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Rhodes Trust to recommendation writers.

Image
logo Schwarzman scholars
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Leadership Abilities
  • Exemplary Character & Integrity
  • Academic Aptitude & Intellectual Ability
  • Empathy & Intercultural Competency
  • Open Mindedness
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
Endorsement Required?No
Number of Recommendation Letters3
Application DeadlineSeptember 20, 11:59 PM Eastern

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the application deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. NCS cannot submit the letter on your behalf.

Who do I address the letters to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Members of the Schwarzman Scholars Program Selection Committee”

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Schwarzman criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Why is China the best place for them to study?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?
Image
Truman Scholarship Logo
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Record of extensive and quality community service and government involvement
  • Likelihood of 'making a difference' in public service
  • Leadership record, potential, and communication skills
  • Academic success, including writing and analytical skills
  • Suitability of the nominee's proposed program of study for a career in public service
Endorsement required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.

Number of

Recommendation Letters

The Truman Scholarship asks applicants to submit three letters of recommendation, each reflecting on a different selection criterion, although it is acceptable for a letter to discuss more than one criterion.

  • The ‘Leadership Abilities and Potential’ letter should comment on the activity outlined by the applicant in their leadership essay (Question #7).
  • Likewise, the ‘Commitment to a Career in Public Service’ letter should comment on the activity outlined by the applicant in their public service essay (Question #8).
  • The third letter should be dedicated to ‘Intellect and Prospects for Continuing Academic Success’.

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

November 1
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early December
National Deadline TBA

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. If your applicant is endorsed, Duke will submit your letter to the national committee on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Truman Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Truman criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • Do you see this person as being a “change agent” of the future?
  • How does their graduate study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS before the end of the fall semester.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Truman Foundation to recommendation writers: https://www.truman.gov/apply/advice-guidance/letters-recommendation

Image
logo Udall foundation
Guidelines
Criteria
  • Working towards positive solutions to environmental challenges or to issues impacting Indian country
  • Demonstrated commitment to one of the above areas through public service
  • Inspires and motivates others to take action
  • Commitment to making a difference through civility and consensus building
Endorsement Required?Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters3

 

Application Timeline
StageDescriptionDeadline
Endorsement Application Deadline

NCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.

January 31
Endorsement Decisions Announced Late February
National Deadline Early March

 

FAQS

Where do I submit my letter?

  • Submit your letter by email to ncs-ousf@duke.edu. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead. If your applicant is endorsed, Duke will submit your letter to the national committee on your behalf.

Who do I address the letter to?

  • Please address your letter to the “Udall Selection Committee”.

What might the letter contain?

  • How does the applicant meet the Udall criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

How will I know whether my applicant has been endorsed?

  • Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS before the end of January.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Advice from the Udall Foundation to recommendation writers.