VCU Grad Program Materials
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. If applicable, you can upload documents that will only be visible to that particular 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.
Statement of Intent
The Statement of Intent is a brief statement expressing why you would like to be considered for the programs you are applying to. Please name this file *Statement of Intent (be sure to include the asterisk).
- Keep your topic general: follow the prompt in this section to write your statement. Once you submit your application, the essay cannot be edited or changed.
- Do not exceed the maximum length: you can see both the word and character count below the field in the application. The right-hand number shows the maximum number of characters that you can use in your essay. As you type, you can see how many characters are still available and the associated word count. Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and punctuation. You cannot save your essay if it exceeds the character limit.
- Use your own words: plagiarizing any part of your essay is a violation of the code of conduct and may subject you to sanctions.
- Use simple formatting: formatting such as tabs, italics, multiple spaces, etc., will not be saved. To delineate paragraphs, type a double return between each paragraph.
Be sure to read over your essay several times to catch any spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., errors before submitting. Once you submit your application, you cannot edit your essay. If you find an error after submission that you believe could have major effects on your application, we recommend sending a corrected copy directly to the programs you applied to.
You are required to request 3 references. If you want to submit more, send those additional references directly to your programs.
The References tab is only available for certain programs that require you to submit references.
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 Letters by Liaison, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org), including any junk or spam folders.
The Reference Process
When you request references, your reference receives an email request with a link to Letters by Liaison. 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.
Submit a Request
- On the References tab, click Add Reference.
- Enter the reference's full name and email address.
- Select the date by which you would like this reference completed. This date should be before your program(s) deadline.
- Enter a brief message or note for the reference.
- Select whether you want to waive your right of access to the reference. See Waiver below.
- Click the checkboxes to indicate your permission for us (and programs) to contact your references.
- Click Save This Reference Request to submit it. Once you do so, an email is immediately sent to the reference.
- Confirm with your references that they received the email notification.
- 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:
- On the References 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 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. VCU Grad 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.
Some programs may request or require that you complete a SlideRoom application, which is separate from your VCU Grad 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 VCU Grad 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.