Due to the nature of our Challenge’s research and activism, letters of recommendation play a significant role in our decision-making. A well-written letter for an exceptional candidate can highlight their impressive qualities, the manuscript’s story, and research accomplishments. The research advisor should provide us with information and impressions that we cannot gather independently. Attempt to offer an in-depth portrait of the candidate as a researcher and the context for their research accomplishments. Whenever possible, back up your conclusions with facts and anecdotes.
In your evaluation, attempt to address the following points:
- First, what is the context of your interaction with the candidate?
- Has the candidate demonstrated a willingness to take intellectual risks and venture beyond the traditional classroom?
- Is there anything unusual about the candidate’s competence, talent, or leadership abilities?
- What drives this individual? What piques their interest?
- How do you interact with the candidate? Among peers? Describe their character and social skills.
- What is it about this person that you will remember the most?
- Is the candidate a victim of an unfortunate accident, condition, or event in the past? If that is the case, how did they react?
- Is there anything unusual about the candidate’s family or community that we should be aware of?
We value strong statements that will stick in our minds to evaluate each candidate. Please write in a manner that makes you feel at ease, and do not be afraid to share your candid impressions with us. We are only interested in glowing superlatives accompanied by examples and providing context for students’ accomplishments. Above all, look beyond a candidate’s intellectual accomplishments.
Finally, please ensure that you and the candidate sign the Potomac ACM Policy Challenge author release and upload it when filling out the application.