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Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 1:15pm

Submitted by 21232f297a57a5a... on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 1:16pm

You must provide one referee with Reference Form 1 and a second referee with Reference Form 2. The process of merging your application into a single PDF document for adjudication requires two separate forms.

If you are currently in an academic program, one of the referees must be your supervisor or someone familiar with your current academic work. References for admission may be used toward the scholarship competition as long as they have been written within the last twelve months prior to the competition deadline. However, we encourage students to provide the most current reference possible, to reflect the progress of their research.


Plan ahead when you are asking for a reference. Building the appropriate relationships with referees is an important, long-term process.

1. Establish and Maintain Connections

Allow academics to get to know you. As an undergraduate student, this might mean introducing yourself to your instructor in a few courses, and even offering to do volunteer work associated with their research. As a graduate student, you have the opportunity to expand this connectivity to conferences and even e-mail acquaintances. Don’t hesitate to go down the hall and introduce yourself to faculty members beyond your supervisor and supervisory committee.

2. Invite the Letter-writer

Three to five weeks ahead of the deadline for receipt of a reference, ask potential writers if they can provide you with a positive letter of reference. See What a reference needs to say and guide on writing a reference. Include a note that gives the following:

  • the purpose of the reference
  • the rationale for pursuing this research and your expected goals
  • identify and emphasize your key skills and talents that relate to this goal
  • deadline for submission of the letter
  • procedure for submission of the letter, including forms and web links

Include your updated curriculum vitae, transcripts and any parts of the application you have written (proposal, for example). You should fill out any parts of the form that relate to you (name, program or award you are applying for, etc.).

3. Follow-up

Don’t be shy. Ask for a personal meeting or phone call during which you can answer any questions the referee may have. Don’t be afraid to remind them of the impending deadline a week or more before the letter is to be submitted.

4. Thank the Referee

You should thank the referee for taking the time to submit a reference, whether or not you are successful.

*Much of the above information has been adapted from “Writing a Letter of Recommendation.” By Laura Bonetta, Ph.D. Addendum to “Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty”, copyright 2006 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Welcome Fund.