Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility
1. Who is eligible to apply?

Timing
2. I lead a busy life and therefore take a just-in-time approach to deadlines. Could this be a problem?

Application Form/Written Work
3. Should the piece of written work be double-spaced or single-spaced?
4. May I submit an essay in a foreign language?
5. Does the written work have to be an essay or paper submitted for a grade in class? May I submit a research project outline, poetry, or an article that I wrote during my freshman year?
6. May I submit a co-authored essay for consideration?

Transcript
7. How do I get an electronic version of my unofficial transcript?

Letters of Recommendation and Waiver Forms
8. The two letters of recommendation need to come from faculty members who taught me my freshman year. Can I ask a teaching fellow to write on my behalf?
9. I would like to have a professor who no longer works at Harvard write one of my letters of recommendation. Is this allowed?
10. Do the letters of recommendation need to be mailed in? May my recommender email or fax the letter?
11. My recommender is not on campus. How will he or she be able to sign the waiver form?
12. Do I need to sign the waiver form?
13. Is it possible to submit more than two letters of recommendation as part of the application to the Wendell Prize?

Notification
14. When will applicants be notified of the selection committee's decision?

 

1. Who is eligible to apply?
Sophomores who complete their first undergraduate year at Harvard College in the top of their class are eligible to apply for the Jacob Wendell Scholarship Prize.  Eligible students will be contacted by the Prize Office in early September.

2. I lead a busy life and therefore take a just-in-time approach to deadlines.  Could this be a problem?
Yes.  The Wendell Prize application has many parts, all of which must be received by the Prize Office by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the deadline.  These requirements include an unofficial transcript, which needs to be downloaded from my.harvard, and two letters of recommendation, which the recommenders will need time to write.  In addition, the application requires a writing sample, which is submitted electronically.  If something goes wrong with the delivery of any of these items and the application is incomplete at the time of the deadline, the application will be disqualified.  Applicants are advised to begin the application process early and to check to make sure their application is complete.

3. Should the piece of written work be double-spaced or single-spaced?
Double-spaced is the preferred format for all works submitted to the Prize Office.

4. May I submit an essay in a foreign language?
Yes. However, a complete English translation must accompany the original essay.

5. Does the written work have to be an essay or paper submitted for a grade in class?  May I submit a research project outline, poetry, or an article that I wrote during my freshman year?
The written work does not have to be an essay or paper submitted for a grade in class.  As stated on the Application Instructions page, applicants should submit their best piece of written work produced for a course or Harvard-sponsored activity during their freshman year.  Applicants may submit a research project outline, poetry, or an article from their first year at Harvard.  The Wendell Prize selection committee encourages  applicants to submit research papers they wrote for upper-level classes when possible.   

6. May I submit a co-authored essay for consideration?
No. The Wendell Prize is designed to recognize the individual excellence of a student; therefore, co-authored papers are not eligible for submission.

7. How do I get an electronic version of my unofficial transcript?
You will need to visit my.harvard to download a PDF of your unofficial transcript.  From the “Student Home” page in my.harvard, navigate to the “Grades” tab and select “View Unofficial Transcript.”  You will then be able to view and save a PDF of your transcript.  Once you have the PDF of your unofficial transcript, you will upload it, along with your written work, when submitting the online application form.  Please see the FAQ about Unofficial Transcripts on my.harvard for more information.

8. The two letters of recommendation need to come from faculty members who taught me my freshman year.  I don't really know my professors.  May I ask my teaching fellow to write on my behalf?
The most effective letters of recommendation will come from more senior faculty familiar with your academic abilities.  The Wendell Prize selection committee therefore recommends that you submit letters of recommendation from professors from whom you took courses freshman year when possible.  If a teaching fellow is in a better position to speak to your abilities than a professor, however, then it would acceptable to ask this teacher to write on your behalf. 

9. I would like to have a professor who no longer works at Harvard write one of my letters of recommendation.  Is this allowed? 
Yes.  If someone from whom you took classes during your freshman year is no longer at Harvard, you may still ask that person for a recommendation.  (See also Questions 12 and 13 below.)

10. Do the letters of recommendation need to be mailed in?  May my recommender email or fax the letter?
The Prize Office accepts letters of recommendation in person, via mail, via email (prizes at fas.harvard.edu), or by fax (617-496-3909).  To expedite delivery of recommendation letters, the Prize Office encourages hand-delivered letters or emailed letters.  Each letter must be accompanied by its signed waiver form in order to be considered complete.

11. My recommender is not on campus.  How will he or she be able to sign the waiver form?
The Wendell Prize selection committee cannot review any recommendation unless the signed waiver form is attached.  The form must be signed by both the applicant and the recommender. Scan the waiver form and email it to your recommender and have him or her sign, scan, and email it directly to the Prize Office (prizes at fas.harvard.edu). He or she may also fax the document to the Prize Office (617-496-3909).

12. Do I need to sign the waiver form?
Yes.  The form must be signed by both the applicant and the recommender. The Wendell Prize selection committee cannot review a recommendation without the signed waiver form attached.

13. Is it possible to submit more than two letters of recommendation as part of the application to the Wendell Prize?
No.  For reasons of equity, the Prize Office cannot accept additional materials.  Please choose two recommenders you believe will best be able to describe your exceptional qualities.

14. When will applicants be notified of the selection committee's decision?
Finalists for the Wendell Prize will be chosen by the selection committee by early February and will be interviewed by the committee shortly thereafter. The new Wendell Scholar will be announced by mid-February.