Before You Begin
Evaluations (sometimes called Letters of Evaluation, Letters of Reference, or Letters of Recommendation) are submitted by the evaluators themselves; they cannot be completed or submitted by the applicant or another party on behalf of the evaluator. We are not responsible for verifying evaluators' identities. If a discrepancy is found, we reserve the right to contact the appropriate individuals to investigate and to share the discrepancy with all programs.
Before getting started, consider the following:
- All evaluations are submitted electronically by evaluators using Letters by Liaison, our Recommender Portal.
- Research each program's requirements. You should determine whether your programs have specific requirements regarding evaluator roles or relationships before listing evaluators on your application. Many programs have strict guidelines and completed evaluations cannot be removed or replaced.
- Choose your evaluators early in the application process to ensure they have adequate time to submit your evaluation.
- Prepare your evaluators. Once you choose your evaluators, be sure to inform them about the process and that they will be completing the evaluation electronically. We recommend getting their preferred email address and asking that they monitor that inbox for your evaluation request (which will come from firstname.lastname@example.org), including any junk or spam folders.
The Evaluation Process
When you request evaluations, your evaluator receives an email request with a link to Letters by Liaison. Evaluators review your requests, and then accept, complete, or deny them. Evaluators may complete assessments such as writing essays, completing Likert scales, and/or uploading letters.
Once your evaluator completes your evaluation, you'll be notified via email. You can check the status of your evaluation requests in the Check Status tab of your application at any time.
You are required to request at least 3 and may request a maximum of 5 evaluations. If you want to submit more, send those additional evaluations directly to your programs.
Submit a Request
- In the Evaluations section, click Create Evaluation Request.
- Enter the evaluator's full name and email address.
- Select the date by which you would like this evaluation completed. This date should be before your program(s) deadline.
- Enter a brief message or note for the evaluator.
- Select whether you want to waive your right of access to the evaluation. See Waiver below.
- Click the checkboxes to indicate your permission for us (and programs) to contact your evaluators.
- Click Save This Evaluation Request to submit it. Once you do so, an email is immediately sent to the evaluator.
- Confirm with your evaluators that they received the email notification.
- Use the Check Status tab to monitor the status of your evaluations. Completed evaluations are marked as "Complete" and have a Complete Date listed. Follow up with your evaluators if their evaluations are still marked as "Requested" or "Accepted." It is your responsibility to ensure that evaluation requests are received and completed on time. We will not notify applicants about missing evaluations.
Resend the Evaluation Request
If you need to resend a request:
- In the Evaluations section, locate the request you wish to resend.
- Click the pencil icon to edit the request.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Resend this Evaluation Request.
Change the Evaluator's Email Address
If you entered an incorrect email address for any evaluators (or if any evaluator asks that you send the request to a different email address), you must delete these requests and then re-add them with the correct email.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives you the right to access evaluations unless you choose to waive your right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting any evaluations, you are required to indicate whether you wish to waive your rights. OTCAS will release your decision to waive or not waive access to your evaluators and designated programs. Your waiver decision serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding.
Selecting Yes indicates to programs that your evaluator completed their evaluation with the understanding that you would not be able to view it. This means you will not be able to see the content of the evaluation. Programs may view this type of evaluation as a more accurate representation of an applicant's qualifications.
Selecting No indicates to programs that your evaluator completed their evaluation with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Selecting this option does not allow you to view your evaluation via the application. If you do not waive your right to view the evaluation, you may ask your evaluator for a copy of the evaluation. Programs may view this type of evaluation as a less accurate representation of an applicant's qualifications.
Once you make a selection, you can't change it, so consider the choices carefully.