Frequently Asked Questions

. . . about the Wendell Prize



Eligibility for Application
1. Who is eligible to apply for the Wendell Prize? 
2. Are students who are taking a leave of absence eligible to apply for the Wendell Prize?

Student Application Form—Writing Sample
3. What type of writing sample should applicants submit?
4. Are writing samples produced during the summer eligible for submission?
5. Can an essay in a foreign language be submitted as the writing sample?
6. Can a co-authored essay be submitted for consideration?
7. Should the writing sample be double-spaced or single-spaced?

Student Application Form—Transcript
8. Where can a student get an electronic version of his or her unofficial transcript?

Letters of Recommendation and Waiver Forms
9. When in the application process does a student ask for letters of recommendation for the Wendell Prize?
10. From whom should students request letters of recommendation?
11. May students request letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom they worked or took courses over the summer?
12. Are waiver forms required to accompany letters of recommendation? 
13. Who is responsible for getting letters of recommendation and waiver forms to the Prize Office?
14. Is it possible for more than two letters of recommendation to be submitted on behalf of a student for the Wendell Prize?

Deadline
15. Is a prize deadline dependent on the location of the person submitting materials for a prize?
16. How far in advance should a student begin working on his or her Wendell Prize application?
17. What should students do if they encounter difficulties with the application?

Notification
18. When will applicants be notified about the selection committee’s decision?

 

 

1. Who is eligible to apply for the Wendell Prize? 
Students who complete their first undergraduate year at Harvard College toward the top of their class are eligible to apply for the Jacob Wendell Scholarship Prize. Eligible students will be invited to apply by the Prize Office in early September of their sophomore year. Students who have been invited to apply for the Wendell Prize should click here for further instructions.

 

2. Are students who are taking a leave of absence eligible to apply for the Wendell Prize?

No. Students who are on leave are not eligible to apply for the Wendell Prize while they are on leave. Those students who received an invitation to apply but who are taking a leave of absence should contact the Prize Office at prizes@fas.harvard.edu for further information.

 

3. What type of writing sample should applicants submit? 
Applicants should submit their best piece of written work produced for a course or Harvard-sponsored activity during their first year at the College. The Wendell Prize selection committee encourages applicants to submit research papers they wrote for upper-level classes when possible.

 

4. Are writing samples produced during the summer eligible for submission? 
No. For the purposes of the Wendell Prize, the “first year” consists of the fall and spring terms of a student’s first year at Harvard and does not include the preceding or following summers.

 

5. Can an essay in a foreign language be submitted as the writing sample? 
Yes. However, a complete English translation must accompany the original essay.

 

6. Can a co-authored essay be submitted for consideration? 
No. The Wendell Prize is designed to recognize the individual excellence of a student; therefore, papers written in collaboration with another person are not eligible for submission.

 

7. Should the writing sample be double-spaced or single-spaced? 
Double-spaced is the preferred format for all works submitted to the Prize Office.

 

8. Where can a student get an electronic version of his or her unofficial transcript? 
To get an electronic version of his or her unofficial transcript, a student should visit my.harvard. From the “Student Home” page in my.harvard, the student should navigate to the “Grades” tab and select “View Unofficial Transcript.” The student will then be able to view and save a PDF of his or her transcript. Once the student has the PDF of his or her unofficial transcript, the student will upload it, along with his or her writing sample, when submitting the online application form. See Viewing Your Unofficial Transcript on my.harvard for more information.

 

9. When in the application process does a student ask for letters of recommendation for the Wendell Prize?
As soon as a student has decided to apply for the Wendell Prize, he or she should request letters of recommendation from two faculty members who taught the student during his or her first year at the College. The student will include the names of these two recommenders on the application form for the Wendell Prize; therefore, the student needs to ascertain who his or her recommenders will be before applying for the prize.

 

10. From whom should students request letters of recommendation? 
Letters of recommendation for the Wendell Prize should come from faculty from whom the applicants took courses or did research during their first year at the College.

 

11. May students request letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom they worked or took courses over the summer? 
No. For the purposes of the Wendell Prize, the “first year” consists of the fall and spring terms of a student’s first year at Harvard and does not include the preceding or following summers.

 

12. Are waiver forms required to accompany letters of recommendation? 

Yes. When a student asks an instructor for a letter of recommendation, the student gives the recommender a waiver form (click the link) that the student has electronically filled out and signed.

 

13. Who is responsible for getting letters of recommendation and waiver forms to the Prize Office? 
All letters of recommendation and their accompanying waiver forms must be emailed by the recommenders to the Prize Office at prizes@fas.harvard.edu by the prize deadline. Applications that are not complete by the deadline, including those missing letters of recommendation, will not be considered by the prize selection committee.

 

14. Is it possible for more than two letters of recommendation to be submitted on behalf of a student for the Wendell Prize? 
No. Only two letters of recommendation will be accepted.

 

15. Is a prize deadline dependent on the location of the person submitting materials for a prize?

No. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Prize Office deadlines are strictly observed.

 

16. How far in advance should a student begin working on his or her Wendell Prize application? 
The Wendell Prize application has many parts, all of which must be received by the Prize Office by 11:59 p.m. on the day of the deadline. These requirements include a writing sample, an unofficial transcript that needs to be downloaded from my.harvard, and two letters of recommendation that the recommenders will need time to write. 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. 

 

17. What should students do if they encounter difficulties with the application? 

If a student encounters difficulty with any portion of the Wendell Prize application, he or she should immediately email the Prize Office at prizes@fas.harvard.edu.

 

18. When will applicants be notified about the selection committee’s decision? 
Finalists for the Wendell Prize will be chosen by the selection committee by mid February and will be interviewed by the committee shortly thereafter. The new Wendell Scholar will be announced by late February.