Information for School Referees



To apply to the Sutton Trust US Programme, each applicant must complete and submit the student application form and ask their school to complete a reference form to help us assess the student’s suitability for the programme.

Our application is based on the US Common Application, an admissions system used by over 700 American institutions. By using a school reference modelled on the Common App, we will can follow the holistic model of admissions employed by American universities and gain a full view of your student’s academic performance, successes both inside and outside of the classroom and their ability to make the most of this programme.

We also hope that students and schools will get in the mindset of US admissions and be able to re-use elements for American university applications next autumn, saving you time.

The role of the Referee

This form can be completed by a teacher, school guidance counsellor, principal/head teacher, head of year/sixth-form, careers advisor, or any other school representative at the student’s current school. If student’s feel like a teacher at their previous school would be better placed to write the reference, it is okay for the current school to collaborate with the previous school to combine ideas into one reference. In this instance, the current school representative should still submit the reference and be the main point of contact.

By providing a reference for the student, the referee is agreeing to the following:

  • The know the student well in an educational capacity
  • They are neither a family member nor a close family friend
  • They are able to truthfully comment on the student’s academic ability, character, interests and goals

Note: All references will be kept confidential, so we encourage you to be as honest as possible in your assessment of the student.

How to complete the School Reference Form

As part of the student form, students will invite their chosen school representative to complete the reference form by entering the referee’s name and contact information into the online system. An email invitation will be sent out to this representative and they will follow the instructions to create an online account and complete the supporting school reference form.

In your invitation email, you will be provided with a copy of the School Reference Form. You should gather all information required and complete and submit the online from in one sitting by the school reference deadline of 11:59 pm on Tuesday 22  January 2019.

We have asked all students to speak to their referee before entering referee details into their application. If you do not feel you are able to best represent this student fairly in their programme application please be honest with them so they have the opportunity to ask another referee before the deadline.

Students have been made aware that only applications with both the student and school forms submitted by the application deadlines will be considered for the programme. Students will be notified by email when the reference form has been submitted.

Please note that to be considered the reference must be completed in full and online by 11:59 pm on Tuesday 22 January 2019.

If you have any further questions about completing the online reference, please see our extensive FAQs.

Follow updates on Twitter #SuttonTrustUSA