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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Guidance for Recommenders

Thank you for supporting a New American's application to The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans (PD Soros), which is a national merit-based competition. Letters of recommendation educate and contextualize the achievements and choices of each applicant for the screeners and panelists, which is particularly important because the Fellowship receives over 1,000 applications from applicants in all types of fields - everything from science, to music, to computer science, to archeology - and from applicants from a diverse range of cultures, backgrounds and places.

  1. The application and recommendation deadline for the 2017 cycle is at 11:59 pm EST on November 1, 2016. A candidate's application files are not released to reviewers until they contain all three of the required letters. If you will be unable to provide a timely letter, we would encourage you to alert the candidate as early as possible so that she or he will have time to identify an alternate recommender.
  2. Please encourage the candidate to provide you with a copy of their essays. The application essays, particularly the first, are unique to the PD Soros application. Reviewing their essays may be useful in contextualizing their accomplishments.
  3. A helpful letter of recommendation will accomplish some of the following:
    • Highlight how an applicant meets the Fellowship's criteria, which emphasize creativity, initiative, originality and sustained accomplishment.
    • Explore the applicant's commitment to the Bill of Rights and Constitution, or more broadly, their sense of citizenship in a community.
    • Contextualize the challenges, opportunities and choices that an applicant has faced, whether they are cultural or educational.
    • Educate the reader about an applicant's field or sub-field, and the level of an applicant's strengths and work within that context.
    • Describe the extent of the applicant's promise of significant contributions to US society, culture or their respective academic field.
    • Explain the relevance an applicant's graduate training to his or her long-term career goals, and of potential value in enhancing his or her future accomplishments.
  4. Submission Process for Recommenders:
    • You will receive an email from the application system when an applicant registers you as a recommender. Please check your spam folder if you have not received it. Clicking on the link provided in the email will bring you to a "Recommender Registration" page.
    • After registration, you will be brought to a home page, where you can click on the applicant's name and upload your letter of recommendation. If you are writing letters for more than one applicant, all of their names will be listed.
    • Please note: you should save your letter as a Word document or an unsecured PDF document, which you would then upload to the application system. You will not be able to type the letter directly into the system.
    • To return and view/edit your recommendation before the deadline, you can visit and login with your email and the password you created in registration. 

Tech Tips: In case you run into some technical difficulties, here are some common solutions.

  • The submission system works in all browsers, but if you have any difficulties uploading your letter, trying Firefox or Chrome might resolve the issue.
  • If you upload your letter, but the page gets stuck on the processing page and the submission is not completed, click the ‘previous’ button to force the page to reload. Then try uploading your letter again.
  •  Once you’ve uploaded your recommendation you may see a red X next to the recommendation document. Please note that the red X mark just allows you to delete the file you have uploaded. It does not mean that your upload failed.

  • The file must be 2 MB or smaller.

  • Having trouble accessing the site? Try the link from your home or personal computers first since those machines tend to be less restricted than work or university computers. It's less likely that your personal machine will have strict security settings that block access to the online form.

  • If you log into the system and go straight to a page that says your submission is being reviewed, even though you haven’t uploaded anything, this means the applicant has not yet filled out the eligibility portion of the application. The applicant must have filled out the first page of the application, which verifies eligibility, in order for you to be able to upload a letter on their behalf. Applicants have been made aware of this, but if you do receive this error, please contact the applicant.
  • If the system asks for a verification code to open the page please use a different web browser. The security settings on your current web browser are blocking scripts from running on the website. That is why you are being prompted to wait for a verification email. There is no verification email for recommenders. The normally process is that you would fill out the online form and then at that point you should be allowed to immediately access the recommendation form.

  • For any other technical issues, you can contact the Embark help desk at Include a description of the issue, the name of the applicant, and a screenshot of the issue if possible.