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Thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation for a nationally competitive scholarship application. Yours is a valuable contribution to this formative process and we appreciate your advocacy on behalf of the applicant.

Please be aware, it is a matter of NCS policy that applicants must waive their right to see your letter of recommendation. We also cannot accept letters authored by applicants; the endorsement must be from the letter-signer.

At any time in the process, from brainstorming the first draft to finalizing your letter, we are delighted to help. Please contact if you would like to discuss further or for questions or concerns.

  • 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
Endorsement Application DeadlineNCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.September 19
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.November 2



For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to

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.

Please address your letter to the “Churchill Selection Committee”

  • 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?

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.