Filing Letters of Recommendation

Where: Hanes Hall
            2nd Floor: Career Services

Whom to talk to: Cornelia Burch

The process:

  1. Stop by Career Services and pick up Master File Card, Reference File Instructions, and Recommendation Forms. These forms in are also available in PDF at the career services home page.
  2. Fill out Recommendation Forms in BLACK ink. These forms will be scanned in, and they need to be clearly, darkly, and distinctly filled out in order to scan properly. Submit forms to professors who will be writing your recommendations. The professor will return the Recommendation Form and letter to the UCS office.
  3. There is a set up fee of $10.00 that must be paid in check or money order. This will be turned in with the Master File Card. It will take about 24 to 48 hours to prepare your account.

 Once all your materials are in:

  1. You may make requests via the web to have your letters sent.
  2. Requests take 24 hours to process and 4 to 6 days to arrive at the school.
  3. You MUST check with the school to find out if they have received your recommendations. If they have not, notify UCS, and they will resubmit your letters after three weeks for free.
  4. Should you need to send your letters in a hurry, there are faxing, e-mail, and UPS options. (There are additional fees for some of these options). All such requests can be made on-line.

If you want to use the same material the next year:

1. Make sure you get rid of the old letters. Do not keep duplicate letters online, as this will confuse prospective employers.

2. Send an update on your accomplishments to recommendation writers so they can update your letters.

3. Refile the letters.

Things to Know:

  • You can have six letters in your file.
  • The first five schools to which you send letters are free. Subsequent requests cost $4.00.
  • Your letters will be on file for 10 years after your last date of use. There is a $25.00 activation fee after a year (or more) of non-use.
  • If a school requests three letters, it is OK to send five, but make sure that the number of letters doesn't distract attention from the good letters.
  • You can ask the career center to stack your letters in the order you want them be read. This way you can put the best letters on top, which will prevent the good letters from getting buried.
  • Although letters are confidential, you can have someone else vet the letters. Only your dissertation director, the chair of the department, or a "graduate advisor" (this is a loose category that includes Dr. Richards and Dr. Matchinske, as well as other faculty with whom you work closely).