Faculty letters of recommendation are an important part of your application. Before requesting letters, consult the graduate school applications for specific instructions. Usually two or three letters are required. Since recommendations are weighed heavily in the admissions decisions, make your choices carefully, gathering strong evaluations from persons who have had an opportunity to observe your academic strengths and your personal qualities.
Contact your professors early. Make an appointment with each of your letter writers to discuss your course work and other interests as well as your plans for graduate school. Provide your writers with an idea of what you feel they could share that would be relevant to the admissions committee and with information about yourself. Information to assist writer: Resume; Transcript; application essay draft (if written); a statement on why you are choosing to go to graduate school; a summary of what you learned from your experience with the writer; a copy of a paper you wrote for their class (with their comments); writing samples.
Specify a reasonable deadline; professors are busy, and they write letters out of interest in you and in your future. Given the Dartmouth calendar, they may be on leave when you need to have your letters, so check their schedules early. It may take more than one reminder and a longer time than you might expect, so allow at least four weeks from the time of request.
Credential Files: Interfolio
Dartmouth students and alums may establish an account with Interfolio to collect letters of recommendation from faculty and employers. Interfolio offers individuals one central place to store their most important documents, while also providing the means to distribute these materials to any institution.
It is your responsibility to check Interfolio online to confirm that letters you have requested been submitted by your recommenders. Once all of your letters have been uploaded to your account, you can mail your letters directly to each graduate school.
Although many graduate school applications include recommendation forms with their applications, these forms are usually not required. Please check with your professors and schools for the preferred method of letter submission. Dartmouth professors and administrators prefer to write recommendations on their letterhead stationary and submit them to Interfolio or directly to the schools. Interfolio can process recommendation forms provided by the school or letters that a writer tailors to a specific school.
Last Updated: 9/6/12