• Applicant Information

Guidance for Recommenders

Thank you for supporting a New American’s application to The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans (PD Soros), which is a national merit-based competition. Letters of recommendation educate and contextualize the achievements and choices of each applicant for the screeners and panelists, which is particularly important because in 2023 the Fellowship received more than 2,300 applications from applicants in all types of fields – everything from science, to music, to computer science, to archeology – and from applicants from a diverse range of cultures, backgrounds and places.

  1. The application and recommendation deadline for the 2025 cycle is 2:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on October 31, 2024. A candidate’s application files are not released to reviewers until they contain all three of the required letters. If you will be unable to provide a timely letter, we would encourage you to alert the candidate as early as possible so that she or he will have time to identify an alternate recommender.
  2. Please encourage the candidate to provide you with a copy of their essays. The application essays, particularly the first, are unique to the PD Soros application. Reviewing their essays may be useful in contextualizing their accomplishments.
  3. There is no word or page limit for recommendations. 
  4. A helpful letter of recommendation will accomplish some of the following:
    • Highlight how an applicant meets the Fellowship’s criteria, which emphasize creativity, initiative, originality and sustained accomplishment.
    • Explore the applicant’s commitment to the Bill of Rights and Constitution, or more broadly, their sense of citizenship in a community.
    • Contextualize the challenges, opportunities and choices that an applicant has faced, whether they are cultural or educational.
    • Educate the reader about an applicant’s field or sub-field, and the level of an applicant’s strengths and work within that context.
    • Describe the extent of the applicant’s promise of significant contributions to US society, culture or their respective academic field.
    • Explain the relevance an applicant’s graduate training to his or her long-term career goals, and of potential value in enhancing his or her future accomplishments.
  5. Submission Process for recommenders:
    • You will receive an email from the application system when an applicant registers you as a recommender. Please check your spam folder if you have not received it. Clicking on the link provided in the email will bring you to a “Recommender Registration” page where you will be prompted to create a password. 
    • After you register, you will be brought to a home page, where you can click on the applicant’s name and upload your letter of recommendation. If you are writing letters for more than one applicant, all of their names will be listed.
    • You should save your letter as a PDF document, which you would then upload to the application system. We do not accept other types of files and you will not be able to type the letter directly into the system.  

Tech Tips: In case you run into some technical difficulties, here are some common solutions.

  • The submission system works in all browsers, but if you have any difficulties uploading your letter, trying Firefox or Chrome might resolve the issue.
  • If you upload your letter, but the page gets stuck on the processing page and the submission is not completed, click the ‘previous’ button to force the page to reload. Then try uploading your letter again.
  • Having trouble accessing the site? Try the link from your home or personal computers first since those machines tend to be less restricted than work or university computers. It’s less likely that your personal machine will have strict security settings that block access to the online form.
  • If you log into the system and do not see the applicant’s name under the “My Recommendations” page, the applicant may have deleted their request. We suggest reaching out to the applicant to confirm whether your recommendation is still needed.
  • For any other technical issues, you can contact the SurveyMonkey Apply help desk at [email protected]. Include a description of the issue, the name of the applicant, and a screenshot of the issue if possible. ∎

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