Recommendation Letter Requirements

All University College graduate programs (certificates and degrees) require applicants to submit one or more recommendation letters. This is an important part of the application process, as recommenders often give important insight into a student's academic or professional promise. Listed below are the mandatory requirements for all recommendation letters, as well as additional tips for maximizing their value to the admissions committee. Applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with these requirements and to clearly convey them to the people writing letters on their behalf.

Mandatory Requirements

Any letters that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted:
  • Must include the recommender's hand-written signature.
  • Must include the date on which the letter was written.
  • Must clearly explain how the recommender knows the applicant, in what capacity, and for what length of time.
  • Must be submitted on the recommender's official letterhead.
  • Must include the recommender's contact information (including email address, if any).
  • Must be sent in one of the following ways:
    • The recommender may send a hard copy of the letter directly to University College by mail, or
    • The applicant may forward the recommender's sealed letter to University College by mail (we cannot accept it if the original letter has been opened), or
    • The recommender may send a PDF of the signed and dated letter on official letterhead to University College by email (this is the preferred method, and by far the fastest).

Additional Tips

  • The best recommendation letters typically come from people who have been in a position to objectively evaluate the applicant's specific contributions to a completed professional or academic endeavor.
  • Recommendations from past professors, college administrators, or work supervisors are usually more helpful than letters from relatives, friends, classmates, or co-workers.
  • The more specific a recommendation letter can be about the applicant's particular readiness for his/her chosen profession or field of graduate study, the better.
  • For applicants with lower GPAs or lower test scores, oftentimes the recommendation letters can greatly increase the chances of admission (especially if they directly address the applicant's grades and why he/she is nonetheless prepared for graduate-level study).