Information for Recommenders

The letter you submit should address the prompts listed in the Stanford application; outdated or general letters do not strengthen a candidate’s application. 


Your letter of reference should be submitted in English. If you think your English is not sufficient to convey complex ideas, write the letter in your native language, and then have it translated into English. A friend, a colleague, or a paid service may translate the document, but the applicant or the applicant’s friend or family member may not.

Please make sure to double-space your letter and to follow the word guidelines listed below.

In addition to your qualitative responses, we will ask you to assess some of the candidate’s character traits and competencies that contribute to successful leadership.

Questions We Ask You

Below is the specific information that you should include in your recommendation.

  1. How does the applicant’s performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) Up to 500 words
  2. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. Up to 500 words
  3. (Optional) Is there anything else we should know? Please be concise. Letter should be 2-4 pages.

Additional Advice for Recommenders

Read the transcript of our podcast on how to write an effective letter of recommendation.

Last Updated 24 Oct 2016