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Before You Begin

References (sometimes called Letters of Evaluation, Letters of Reference, or Letters of Recommendation) are submitted by the references themselves; they cannot be completed or submitted by the applicant or another party on behalf of the reference. We are not responsible for verifying references' 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 references are submitted electronically by references using Liaison Letters, our Recommender Portal.
  • Research each program's requirements. You should determine whether your programs have specific requirements regarding reference roles or relationships before listing references on your application. Many programs have strict guidelines and completed references cannot be removed or replaced.
  • Choose your references early in the application process to ensure they have adequate time to submit your reference.
  • Prepare your references. Once you choose your references, be sure to inform them about the process and that they will be completing the reference electronically. We recommend getting their preferred email address and asking that they monitor that inbox for your reference request (which will come from, including any junk or spam folders.

The Reference Process

When you request references, your reference receives an email request with a link to Liaison Letters. References review your requests, and then accept, complete, or deny them. References may complete assessments such as writing essays, completing Likert scales, and/or uploading letters.

Once your reference completes your reference, you'll be notified via email. You can check the status of your reference 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 references. If you want to submit more, send those additional references directly to your programs.

Committee Letters

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 reference. The committee chair must then complete the ratings section and upload one letter (that includes the assessments of various committee members) via Liaison Letters, the Recommender Portal. Note that a committee letter only counts as one reference and the individuals who contributed to the letter may not be used as additional references.

Submit a Request

  1. In the References section, click Create Reference Request.
  2. Enter the reference's full name and email address.
  3. Select the date by which you would like this reference completed. This date should be before your program(s) deadline.
  4. Enter a brief message or note for the reference.
  5. Select whether you want to waive your right of access to the reference. See Waiver below.
  6. Click the checkboxes to indicate your permission for us (and programs) to contact your references.
  7. Click Save This Reference Request to submit it. Once you do so, an email is immediately sent to the reference.
  8. Confirm with your references that they received the email notification.
  9. Use the Check Status tab to monitor the status of your references. Completed references are marked as "Complete" and have a Complete Date listed. Follow up with your references if their references are still marked as "Requested" or "Accepted." It is your responsibility to ensure that reference requests are received and completed on time. We will not notify applicants about missing references.

Resend the Reference Request

If you need to resend a request:

  1. In the References section, locate the request you wish to resend.
  2. Click the pencil icon to edit the request.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Resend this Reference Request.

Change the Reference's Email Address

If you entered an incorrect email address for any references (or if any reference 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 references unless you choose to waive your right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting any references, you are required to indicate whether you wish to waive your rights. SocialWorkCAS will release your decision to waive or not waive access to your references and designated programs. Your waiver decision serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding.

Selecting Yes indicates to programs that your reference completed their reference 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 reference. Programs may view this type of reference as a more accurate representation of an applicant's qualifications.

Selecting No indicates to programs that your reference completed their reference with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Selecting this option does not allow you to view your reference via the application. If you do not waive your right to view the reference, you may ask your reference for a copy of the reference. Programs may view this type of reference 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.