Akamai reference reports – an important part of the application

The Akamai Internship Program requires that applicants obtain reference reports from two people. This page contains information for applicants and people submitting reference reports.

The deadline for submitting reference reports will be published each internship cycle and is the same as the deadline for the application (typically mid-February each year).

What is the reference report?: Instead of requesting a letter, Akamai has an online questionnaire, or a “reference report,” in order to get specific information about applicants, and to make it easier for those serving as references. The reference report includes questions regarding applicants’ interests and abilities in STEM, the ability to work independently as well as on a team, motivation, reliability, and willingness to tackle a challenging problem. It also asks about the applicants’ educational and career goals.

How the reference report process works: During the application process the applicant names two people to act as reference report writers. After the applicant enters the contact information an email will automatically be sent to the reference report writer with a link to the questionnaire. The questionnaire is completed by the reference report writer, which goes directly to the Akamai Program. The applicants do not see the reference report; it is a confidential document seen only by Akamai staff and the selection committee.

Who are the best people to serve as references: Reference report writers should be people that can comment on the applicant’s scientific and technical strengths, interests, motivations, and persistence when tackling a tough problem. Typically, strong reference report writers are:

  • Faculty members who know applicant through science, engineering or technology courses (especially those that involve a project)
  • Supervisors or mentors from a technical or scientific project the applicant did as co-op, internship, or other opportunity.
  • Applicants who are applying for their second Akamai experience should include a reference report from their mentor from their first experience, or explain why not.

Akamai selection committee members give strong weight to what report writers say, and generally are looking for perspectives from people that have known applicants since they’ve been in college (not high school teachers or club leaders from pre-college). Committee members are interested in what report writers say about technical abilities, so it is better to avoid letters from program directors/staff members unless they supervised a technical project that the applicant did.

How to ask for a reference report.
  • As early as possible, send the person an email with a link to our home page, and ask them if they would be able to provide a reference report that comments on your technical or scientific abilities. Let them know it is not a letter, but rather a questionnaire. Tell them when it is due, and ask if they would like to talk to you about your interests, or if you can provide them with more information about your background and interests.
  •  One way to sequence things is to ask first as noted above, then if they say yes, send follow up information, such as a resume, or even a short paragraph that describes why you are interested in Akamai.
  • Follow up and give a friendly reminder a week before the application is due. If you aren’t sure if they have submitted their reference report a few days before the deadline, another brief and friendly reminder is a good idea.
  •  If the deadline passes and you believe that one or both reference report writers did not submit their reference report, send Akamai an email, explaining when you asked for it and what happened.
What is required of the reference report writer?
  • The deadline for submitting reference reports is firm. Please look for the reminder emails. Typically the deadline to submit the report is mid-February. 
  • When the applicant enters your name in the application, you will receive an email from Akamai requesting that you submit a reference report. As noted above, Akamai has a set of questions that help us get the information we need, which we call a “reference report.” A letter of recommendation is not requested. 
  • Your reference report is submitted directly to Akamai and is kept confidential. Akamai staff and the selection committee will read it. The applicant will not see your reference report at any time.
  • To review the questions we ask on the reference report, and download the document for your use, see this google doc.

Please contact us if you have any questions or run into any problems in submitting your reference report: akamai@ucsc.edu.

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