Recommender Tips

The troubleshooting tips below are intended to assist Adult Recommenders in navigating the online system as they submit their recommendations for students applying to the Regeneron Science Talent Search. To support all Recommenders and make information accessible, this page will be updated throughout the application process as we identify new and common issues. 

  • What kind of recommendation am I being asked to submit?
    • Students will need to request three types of recommendations. Click the links to learn more about each type:
    • You may also preview the questions asked of each recommender in the links above. Please note that the Regeneron STS does not accept traditional letters of recommendation—all recommendations must be submitted by answering the questions in the online system.
  • Can I fill out more than one recommendation for a given student?
    • Yes. For example, if an applicant's research mentor is also their teacher, an applicant may request one educator recommendation and one project recommendation from that person. In that case, we recommend that students consider requesting another educator recommendation from a different teacher, even if that teacher does not know the student as well.
  • Can a parent complete a recommendation?
    • Yes, if the parent fits the description of the recommender type. In these instances, students should consider requesting an additional educator or project recommendation from another person, even though that person may not have as much to contribute to the recommendation.
  • When are recommendations due?
    • All recommendations are now due by the student application deadline—Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 8pm ET. No materials or recommendations will be accepted past this deadline. We recommend submitting early to avoid technical issues. 
  • What happens if I forget and do not submit my recommendation before the deadline?
    • We cannot accept recommendations after the deadline, but the student's application will still be considered. Note that it is difficult for our evaluators and judges to review an application without an applicant's transcripts and recommendations. It is the student's responsibility to remind their recommenders if the due date is near and they have not yet received an automated email from our online system notifying them that the recommendation is complete.
  • Can my student see my recommendation?
    • Students waive their rights to view recommendations; your recommendation is confidential. Students can, however, tell when your recommendation has or has not been submitted.
  • Can I reject a recommendation request?
    • Yes, you may also choose to reject a recommendation request. You will still need to log into the system to do so formally, in which case our online system will automatically notify the student, or you may contact your student and ask them to delete the request.
  • Anything else I should know?
    • We ask that all recommenders review this quick primer from the University of Arizona on avoiding gender bias in letters of recommendation.

  • What email address should I use to register/log in?
    • When a student requests a recommendation in their application, it will automatically send an email to the address the student has entered. You should anticipate an auto-email from our online system—the sender name will be "Regeneron Science Talent Search." Click on the link in this email to register.
    • We recommend asking that students request recommendations from an email you use that is NOT associated with your institution, as our messages can often be caught in strict filtering systems.
  • I did not receive an auto-email regarding the recommendation. What should I do?
    • First, check your spam folder. Most of the time you will find the email here and will be able to activate your account.
    • If you still cannot locate the message, ask the student to confirm which email address they entered and that it is free of typos.
    • If you are using a school-based email address, it is also possible your school has blocked messages from us, and you might consider asking your IT team to “whitelist” the following email addresses: sts@societyforscience.org, sciedu@societyforscience.org and support@smapply.org, and the IP address 167.89.94.244. You can also provide a non-school based email address and ask the student to request a recommendation from this account instead.
    • Once a whitelisting issue has been corrected, you may use the Forgot Your Password function on our login page and follow the prompts to access your account, or ask your student to resend the request. 
    • If you continue to experience issues with the system after attempting all of the above, please ask your recommender to contact sts@societyforscience.org.
  • I receive an error when I attempt to click on the link emailed to me in the recommendation request. Help!
    • The request may have timed out. Ask your student to resend the request.
    • You may also experience an error if you try to select a recommendation link while logged in under a different account on your browser (if for instance you have received requests under multiple email addresses, which will have created multiple accounts for you in the system). Try logging out and then selecting this link again.
  • When I log into my account, I can see the names of students who have requested recommendations from me, but I cannot access the actual form. Help!
    • You will need to email sts@societyforscience.org to let us know. This issue arises occasionally if the recommender has opened a test application to see the content required of students. Our staff will need to remove your test account so that you have full access to the recommendation forms (we will need to do this for you, withdrawing your application will not resolve the issue). We still encourage you to explore the student application, but you will need to do so using a different email address.
  • I received recommendation requests from multiple students via email, but when I log into my account I can only see requests from some of them, not all. What's wrong?
    • There are two possible issues. First, check your email to see which email account(s) the students have contacted through our system. Sometimes a recommender will receive requests under multiple email addresses, and in those cases you will have separate accounts. We are unable to combine accounts created under different addresses, and in this case you will need to switch between accounts to make sure all your recommendations are complete. 
    • Please note that if you are already logged in under one account on your browser and attempt to click the link on an emailed recommendation request that was sent to a different email account, you will experience an error. You will need to log out of the other account before attempting to click this link.
    • The other potential issue is student-driven. Occasionally students will delete recommendation requests for various reasons. If you log into your account and do not see a request or a student listed, contact your student to verify which email address they entered for the request, and ask if their request is still active. You can also email sts@societyforscience.org for troubleshooting issues.
  • Can I edit my recommendation after submitting?
    • Unfortunately no, this is not possible. The system allows you to save without submitting, which is what we recommend. There are instructions at the bottom of the recommendation page. 
    • You may ask your student to delete a submitted recommendation and re-request it from you, but we suggest this only in the case of serious errors and in the event you will have enough time to re-submit. Note that we are not able to recover the content of deleted recommendations. If you fear you have made a serious error and that there is not time to re-request and re-submit, please contact sts@societyforscience.org as soon as possible.
  • I'm a High School Report recommender. Our school/district/etc. has strict requirements about where transcripts may or may not be uploaded. Can I mail it to you instead?
    • The Society no longer accepts mailed transcripts; all transcripts must be uploaded by the high school recommender in the online application. If you are having trouble uploading in the system, or have an issue with this new rule, please contact sts@societyforscience.org as soon as possible.
  • The questions in the recommendation form do not apply to my student's specific situation. What should I do?
    • We ask that recommenders answer to the best of their abilities given any unique circumstances. Feel free to mention that a particular question does not apply to the student's situation, and/or to “hack” the question—for instance, if a question asks about the student's effectiveness in a lab environment, but you did not work together in a lab, you could respond that while your interactions did not actually take place in a lab environment, here's why you would/would not recommend the student for a position in a laboratory setting one day.
  • The deadline listed beside my recommendation requests is not the same as the one listed on your site. What's the actual deadline?
    • The deadline is Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 8pm ET. Additional materials, including recommendations, will not be accepted after this date. The date listed on your recommendation page is associated with the time zone of your account—to update your time zone, click your name in the upper righthand corner and select "My Account" and scroll down to make this change. Make sure to click the green "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
  • My name is incorrect in the system/on the automated emails being sent to me from the system. How do I change this?
    • When a student enters your email into our system for the first time, your account is created under whatever information they enter. To change what they have entered, click your current name in the upper righthand corner and select "My Account" from the dropdown. You will be able to make changes to your settings and preferences here. Make sure to click the green "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
  • There are blank questions on the recommendation form that I cannot edit. Help!
    • Upon registration, you are asked to complete a series of questions that will then merge automatically into your student's recommendation forms. If you did not complete these questions during registration, your will need to select your name in the upper righthand corner and click "My Account" from the dropdown. Scroll down and you will be able to edit these responses. Make sure to click the green "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
    • Please note that any updates to these responses will not merge into recommendations you have already submitted.
    • Please note that Educator and Project recommenders may skip the "School Counselor" questions.
  • I'm locked out of my account! Help!
    • If you are locked out of your account after multiple failed password attempts, you will need to wait one hour before attempting to log in again. Unfortunately, we cannot override this security setting.
    • If you have used the Forgot Your Password feature, note that it may take up to an hour to receive the email response from the system as well.