University of Iowa

Resources for recommenders

Thank you for supporting your applicant in their pursuit of a national fellowship.  The discipline-specific expertise you provide is essential to our understanding of your applicant's knowledge, experience, and potential.   Having early access to your insight and analysis will inform how we support your nominee as they develop their application and prepare for the potential of finalist interviews.  Your expertise also helps us construct a stronger institutional endorsement letter. 

Supporting a student pursuing a national or international fellowship demands a different, more focused letter than we are typically required to produce when students are applying for campus scholarships, research experiences, or even graduate school.  I've created a one-page content guide which outlines five (and a bonus) key elements in any competitive letter at the national level.  This document can be viewed by clicking on link below:

Other useful resources for faculty and staff who are looking for more direction on how to negotiate this process from the ask to final submission:

Since many recommenders are writing for more than one competition, I’ve created brief guides which highlight important information like internal and external deadlines, defining characteristics and quick links to official recommender instructions from the foundations themselves.  I do my best to create easy to use resources, but I’m happy to talk you through any step that isn’t clear to you from our directions or those shared by the foundations.

Opportunity-specific guidance for recommenders 

To visit the funding organization's website, click on the bolded title. 

Thank you for working with us in support of your student. Do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of help in the months and weeks leading up to your deadlines. During the workday, I am available by email and on my direct line at 319-335-1874.

Kelly Thornburg, Director of Scholar Development, 319-335-1874,

Resources for applicants

Applicants often ask me about how they should approach and support their recommenders.  The resources shared below are designed to help students think through what they may want to prepare and then share with their writers. 

PDF iconUseful Information Checklist for Recommender and Reference Support.pdf

PDF iconHow to Ask for a Recommendation - The Chronicle of Higher Education.pdf