The Program Materials section includes additional information and requirements for the programs you selected in the Add Program tab. Each program's requirements may vary, so it's important you review this section in detail.
Your selected programs appear on the left side of this page; click each program's name to begin your review. Note that depending on your program's requirements, you'll see one or more of the tabs outlined below.
The Home tab contains the Program Details provided by each program at the start of the application cycle. It includes deadlines and other information specific to the program. Be sure to review this page carefully for any additional instructions, information, and/or requirements.
The Questions tab is only available for certain programs. Here, you can answer questions specific to each program. Questions may be multiple choice or open-ended text boxes. Some programs require an additional essay. Contact each program directly if you have questions.
Select your answers for each question and then click Save. If copying a response into a text box, check for possible formatting changes. We suggest using simple formatting, as tabs, italics, multiple spaces, etc., will not be saved. To delineate paragraphs, type a double return between each paragraph.
The Documents tab is only available for certain programs. Uploaded documents will only be visible to that specific program. Documents that do not have a red asterisk are optional and do not need to be uploaded for you to submit your application.
Contact the program directly if you have any questions about their specific requirements.
If your program provides a PDF form to fill out and upload in this section, you must save and upload it as an image. Depending on your computer's operating system, there may be multiple ways to do this; a Google search can point you in the right direction.
Once your application is submitted, you cannot re-upload, update, or edit the documents in any way; however, you can upload new documents.
The Recommendations tab is only available for certain programs that require you to submit recommendations.
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.
Submit a Request
- Navigate to the Program Materials section. On the Recommendations tab, click Add Recommendation.
- 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:
- On the Recommendations tab, 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. USC 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.
Some programs may request or require that you complete a Kira Talent assessment, which is separate from your USC application. Kira Talent is a cloud-based, online video screening platform where your programs create virtual interview questions. Contact each program directly if you have questions.
To submit a Kira assessment:
- Click Open Kira Assessment.
- You will then be redirected to Kira Talent, where you can register and complete your assessment.
Once you complete the Kira assessment, return to your USC application to verify that the section is marked complete. It can take up to one hour to update, and you may need to refresh the page.
Note: if your program's Kira assessment is optional, you can choose not to submit one by clicking I Do Not Want To Complete This Assessment.
Some programs may request or require that you complete a SlideRoom application, which is separate from your USC application. In SlideRoom, you can create and submit a custom portfolio for each program. The SlideRoom tab is only available for certain programs. Contact each program directly if you have questions.
To submit a SlideRoom application:
- Click Click here to start your SlideRoom portfolio.
- You will then be redirected to SlideRoom, where you can log in with an existing account or create a new account.
Once you complete the SlideRoom application, return to your USC application to verify that the section is marked complete. If it's not, click Update.
Note: if your program's SlideRoom application is optional, you can choose not to submit one by clicking Opt out of SlideRoom portfolio.