Before You Begin
Recommendations (sometimes called Letters of Evaluation, Letters of Reference, or Letters of Recommendation) are submitted by the recommenders themselves; they cannot be completed or submitted by the applicant or another party on behalf of the recommender. We are not responsible for verifying recommenders' 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 recommendations are submitted electronically by recommenders using Letters by Liaison, our Recommender Portal.
- Research each program's requirements. You should determine whether your programs have specific requirements regarding recommender roles or relationships before listing recommenders on your application. Many programs have strict guidelines and completed recommendations cannot be removed or replaced.
- Choose your recommenders early in the application process to ensure they have adequate time to submit your recommendation.
- Prepare your recommenders. Once you choose your recommenders, be sure to inform them about the process and that they will be completing the recommendation electronically. We recommend getting their preferred email address and asking that they monitor that inbox for your recommendation request (which will come from email@example.com), including any junk or spam folders.
The Recommendation Process
When you request recommendations, your recommender receives an email request with a link to Letters by Liaison. Recommenders review your requests, and then accept, complete, or deny them. Recommenders may complete assessments such as writing essays, completing Likert scales, and/or uploading letters.
Once your recommender completes your recommendation, you'll be notified via email. You can check the status of your recommendation 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 recommendations. If you want to submit more, send those additional recommendations directly to your programs.
Be sure to review each program's requirements for completing your application. Some programs only require that 2 of your recommendations are completed while other programs require that 3 recommendations are completed. Review the Program Materials section for more information.
If you want to submit a committee letter as part of your application, you can do so by entering the committee chair (or their alternate) as the recommender. The committee chair must then complete the ratings section and upload one letter (that includes the assessments of various committee members) via Letters by Liaison, the Recommender Portal. Note that a committee letter only counts as one recommendation and the individuals who contributed to the letter may not be used as additional recommenders.
Submit a Request
- In the Recommendations section, click Create Recommendation Request.
- Enter the recommender's full name and email address.
- Select the date by which you would like this recommendation completed. This date should be before your program(s) deadline.
- Enter a brief message or note for the recommender.
- Select whether you want to waive your right of access to the recommendation. See Waiver below.
- Click the checkboxes to indicate your permission for us (and programs) to contact your recommenders.
- Click Save This Recommendation Request to submit it. Once you do so, an email is immediately sent to the recommender.
- Confirm with your recommenders that they received the email notification.
- Use the Check Status tab to monitor the status of your recommendations. Completed recommendations are marked as "Complete" and have a Complete Date listed. Follow up with your recommenders if their recommendations are still marked as "Requested" or "Accepted." It is your responsibility to ensure that recommendation requests are received and completed on time. We will not notify applicants about missing recommendations.
Resend the Recommendation Request
If you need to resend a request:
- In the Recommendations 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 Recommendation Request.
Change the Recommender's Email Address
If you entered an incorrect email address for any recommenders (or if any recommender 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 recommendations unless you choose to waive your right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting any recommendations, you are required to indicate whether you wish to waive your rights. SOPHAS will release your decision to waive or not waive access to your recommenders and designated programs. Your waiver decision serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding.
Selecting Yes indicates to programs that your recommender completed their recommendation 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 recommendation. Programs may view this type of recommendation as a more accurate representation of an applicant's qualifications.
Selecting No indicates to programs that your recommender completed their recommendation with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Selecting this option does not allow you to view your recommendation via the application. If you do not waive your right to view the recommendation, you may ask your recommender for a copy of the recommendation. Programs may view this type of recommendation 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.