To the best of my knowledge, below is what your recommender will be asked by Harvard Kennedy School when you submit them as your recommender. If you want to be 100% sure what prompt they will receive, you will need to ask your recommender directly. If anyone has corrections to this information, please email a screenshot to us, and we will thank you with some sort of useful gift!
Harvard Kennedy School Letter of Recommendation Prompt
Please submit a recommendation letter about the candidate. Brief information on your background for context is also welcome. We are interested in admitting candidates with outstanding intellectual promise who can participate successfully in a rigorous professional Master’s degree program and who have a history of commitment to public service and demonstrated leadership abilities. Comments about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate will be helpful in our evaluation. Our general guidance on recommendation letter length is around 500 words; however, you are welcome to use your own judgment. We do appreciate double-spacing as it makes the letter easier to read in our system. You may compose your letter in a language other than English and have it translated, but it cannot be translated by the applicant. The translator should include their contact information (name, phone number, and email address) with the translated letter.
Please note that applicants to HKS sometimes fill out separate applications for fellowships/scholarships and your letter of recommendation may be shared with those evaluating candidates for fellowship/scholarship funding. You are welcome to compose your letter any way you wish, however the following questions/prompts might be useful to consider when writing your letter.
- What are the applicant’s strengths?
- Describe an activity or program in which the applicant was involved that illustrates his or her special abilities, and/or leadership skills or potential.
- What do you consider to be the applicant’s weaknesses?
- What do you feel would be the applicant’s greatest difficulty in an intensive graduate professional course of study? This would be an area where the applicant ought to receive additional preparation if admitted.
- Make any additional comments about the applicant’s potential or personal qualities which you feel would be helpful to the Admissions Committee. We are especially interested in anything you might add that would not otherwise be apparent in the candidate’s record, i.e., evidence of character, values, a point of interest or concern about which the applicant is particularly enthusiastic, and any special talent or quality he or she possesses. For a Mid-Career applicant, comment on his/her potential career path and your projection of his/her future success.
We advise uploading your document as a PDF.
Ratings Matrix for Harvard Kennedy School Letter of Recommendation
On the Harvard Kennedy School website, it says that your letter of recommendation writer will be asked to fill out a form and rate you on the following areas:
- Intellectual ability
- Analytic frame of mind
- Problem-solving orientation
- Quality of oral expression in English
- Quality of written expression in English
- Motivation and energy
- Organizational ability
- Emotional maturity
- Ability to meet a deadline
- Ability to work with others
- Commitment to public service
Yes! We are accepting HKS application materials for Rush Editing.
See submission deadlines and turnaround times at this link.
Yes! We are still accepting materials for editing for December 1 – 15 deadlines with quick turnaround.
The final deadline to submit materials to us for editing for Dec 1 -15 deadlines is
Sunday, November 27 at 9 pm CT Tuesday, November 29 at 9 pm CT.
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