Stage 2 Principal Referee Guidance Notes

Much of the online Principal Reference Form is self-explanatory. We have provided these guidance notes simply to clarify any potential ambiguities and provide additional information as may be required.

The information you provide in your reference will help the Selection Panel form a general picture of the applicant’s suitability and potential as a Tuckwell Scholar. We encourage you to read through the information available on the Tuckwell Scholarship webpage.

If you have any questions, please send an email enquiry to

Your submission will remain confidential and will not be seen by the student. If you do not wish to support the application, please select this option in the reference form. You will not be required to give any further responses. The candidate will be notified only that you have submitted the reference.

Selection Process Outline

Stage 1

Stage 1 was open to all applicants who met the Tuckwell Scholarship eligibility requirements. Each student was required to submit an online application form and nominate the Head of Year and an academic teacher referee to support their application.

Stage 1 of the application process consisted of three parts:

  • An online application form for students to complete
  • An online response from the Head of Year (or equivalent)
  • An online response from an academic teacher (who may also be the Head of Year, if appropriate)

Stage 2

Up to 250 students are shortlisted at Stage 1 and invited to progress to Stage 2 (a second online application). Here the student submits an application and nominates their School Principal to submit a reference.

Stage 2 of the application process consists of two parts:

  • Stage 2 application, for the student to complete by 3:00pm AEST Tuesday 9 May 2017
  • An online response from the Principal Referee, to complete by 3:00pm AEST Thursday 11 May 2017

Both parts must have been submitted if the student’s application is to be considered.

Stage 3

Up to 75 students will progress to Stage 3 (the interview round), which is held in Canberra from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 July 2017. Attendance at the weekend is compulsory, and no exceptions will be made.

Students will be notified of the final outcome the following week, to commence their studies at ANU in 2018.

Completing the Stage 2 Principal Reference

Before filling out the form, we ask that you take the time to review the information already given by the applicant and their chosen Teacher and Head of Year referees.

You can complete the Principal Reference in multiple sessions, logging on and off at your leisure. You may wish to prevent the loss of any work by saving it from time to time using the ‘save’ button at the bottom of the page. As a security measure, the system will log you out automatically after several hours of inactivity.

We recommend that you draft your longer answers in a text document such as Microsoft Word – making sure not to exceed the specified word limits – and copy them into the form when you are ready.

All asterisked fields are mandatory. You will not be able to submit the form until those fields have been completed.

STEP 1 – Completion of the Principal Form

School Principal form

Some questions in the form ask you to evaluate the student against a set of attributes and to comment on their suitability to the Tuckwell Scholarship. You may know the applicant very well, but if other members of staff at your school know the student better, we would encourage you to discuss the questions with those members of staff. A deeper and fuller insight will best serve the interests of the applicant.

You may have discussed this scholarship with some of your students already, so you may have been expecting to see this application. However, if this application comes from a student who has expressed no interest in applying but is nonetheless eligible – a student who in your opinion meets the broader criteria of the Tuckwell Scholarship – then we would urge you to support this application all the same.

We are seeking applicants who, over and above a strong intellect, possess a range of talents and traits that make them ideal candidates for the Tuckwell Scholarship. Perhaps they show determination to achieve in their extracurricular activities. Perhaps they don’t step forward for leadership roles at school but play a very active role in their community, or demonstrate real commitment to changing something that they feel passionate about.

As long as they meet the eligibility criteria and can prove their intellectual strength, we hope that there will be many applicants who also stand out by their desire to see others shine, or their efforts to avoid the limelight even when they deserve it. The Principal Reference gives you the opportunity to tell us how this student stands out beyond their academic qualities and achievements.

ATAR prediction                                                                             

In the Head of Year Reference at Stage 1, we asked for your school’s ATAR record and the student’s academic standing. This helps us to see how the applicant has achieved in the wider context of their school, thus giving us a clearer picture of the student’s comparative ability and the expectations placed on them. Please check that this information is accurate and let us know if there is anything that should be corrected.

If multiple candidates from your school have progressed to Stage 2, we would appreciate it if you could check the comparative rankings of these candidates and give a rationale for this. The panel will not necessarily follow that ranking, but they have in the past found the insights of Principals who ranked their candidates incredibly helpful.

Character attributes

This section of the form asks you to comment on the student’s character and personal qualities, as well as their commitment and contribution to school life. In order to answer these questions to the best of your ability, we would encourage you to discuss the applicant with your staff.

A Tuckwell Scholar will be someone who can connect with other people and form strong relationships. This does not necessarily mean that they have held a leadership position—there are never enough of those to go around, and the student may not have put themselves forward for one anyway. Perhaps they have shown a talent for teaching others, or shown that they can work particularly well in a group. Perhaps they have earnt exceptional respect from their teachers or peers due to their conduct, or demonstrated an outstanding ability to listen to others and address their concerns sincerely. Perhaps they initially lack confidence, but you and your colleagues can see how they are able to get a point across, or to relate well to people from all walks of life.

Contextual and other information

For many applicants there may be nothing to say here. This is the place to tell us about anything else you would like to bring to the attention of the selection panel. We have asked the students to tell us about anything that has negatively affected their performance to date, as one of the key tenets of the Scholarship is to recognise that not everyone has had the same opportunities.

Please note that any information the student has given in this section will remain confidential. It will not be available to any of the referees.


If you are a senior executive member of the School and not the School Principal, please state your position in the Declaration.

STEP 2 – Submit

Your recommendation will be submitted the moment you press ‘submit’, whereupon you will no longer be able to change anything in the form. The student will receive an automated email notifying them that your reference has been submitted.

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