Letters of Recommendation

The offices of the residential college deans maintain placement files for students in the college who wish that such a file be kept. The file contains letters of recommendation solicited by students on their own behalf. These letters are almost invariably written on one or the other of two forms the student furnishes to the instructor. One form is confidential and may not be seen by the student. The other form is available for inspection by the student. As a rule, students supply the confidential form. After a member of the faculty has written a letter of recommendation on the form, he or she forwards it to the student’s residential college dean for inclusion in the student’s placement file. When the student wishes to have letters of reference sent, the residential college dean’s office sends copies of the original letter to the institution or person designated by the student.

The original letters of reference are permanently retained by the residential college dean’s office, and the student may make use of them long after graduation. This arrangement is of obvious benefit both to students and to faculty. The student has references to draw on whenever they are needed, and the faculty member need write only one letter of recommendation for a student. The Health Professions Advisory Committee of Undergraduate Career Services maintains similar files.

When members of the faculty are called upon to write letters of recommendation for students or to offer their professional judgment on the qualifications of candidates for prizes, fellowships, admission to selective programs, and the like, such judgments, expressed orally or in writing, should be consistent with the nondiscrimination policy of the University. For a full statement of this policy, consult the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs Web site.