Letters of Recommendation
First, take our advice
Read this advice from CELS on requesting rec letters.
Non-confidential letters can be held by you and given to requesters as needed.
Confidential letters either go DIRECTLY from the recommender to the receiving organization or can be collected through a third party system (such as Interfolio—see below) for you to manage. Typically, graduate and professional schools prefer confidential letters.
Next, RESEARCH the programs to which you will be applying
For each program to which you are applying, carefully read the recommendation letter directions to find out whether the letters should be sent directly from the writer to the institution, program or centralized service (e.g. LSAC for law, ADEA AASDAS for dental) or if they can be submitted via a third party system (such as Interfolio.)
Why INTERFOLIO, a third party collection system?
Interfolio, Inc. is a third party recommendation management site where you may store and manage letters of recommendation for a fee. If you intend to apply for opportunities that require confidential letters but there will be a gap in your schooling, seriously consider this option. Have a discussion with your recommenders, and get their thoughts on the timing of the letter. Ask them whether they would prefer to wait, or to write while their connection to you is current. Many writers choose the latter option and decide to refresh the letter at the time of application. Having Interfolio removes the stress of holding onto letters that will not be used immediately.
Students and alumni who will be interviewing with the college’s Health Professions Advisory Committee must have an Interfolio account activated for the year of that interview and application to professional schools.
To open an Interfolio account, first view their plans and pricing, then sign up for an Interfolio account. Before signing up, pre-health students should have a discussion with their CELS or pre-health adviser about the best option for their particular situation.
Once your letters are at Interfolio, you may arrange to have them sent in paper or electronic format to whatever destinations you wish.
Collecting/transferring your letters
Research your programs and educate your letter writers. Refer to requesting rec letters for options on how to have your letters transferred and/or collected.
If you are using Interfolio to collect or transfer letters, you may either:
- Electronically request confidential letters from a recommender via that system, and the recommender will upload or send a digitized version of the letter directly to the system or
- Provide the recommender with a signed paper-based request (Connecticut College Letter of Recommendation and Waiver Form) waiving your right to view that letter. The writer will send the letter to the CELS office (as directed on the form) and CELS will digitize and transfer the letter to your Interfolio account so you can manage it as you wish.
Pre-Professional: Pre-Business, Pre-Health, Pre-Law
Pre-health students and alumni applying to medical, dental or veterinary schools need an Interfolio account to collect letters for the Health Professions Advisory Committee interview. Following the committee interview, the pre-health adviser produces a comprehensive letter of recommendation required by these programs.
Students applying to Public Health, Physician Assistant, Nursing, Optometry, Podiatry, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Chiropractic or other disciplines do not need letters from the committee.
Please reference the Health Professions Handbook for details and research your programs and centralized application services for their specific requirements. If you have any questions you may contact the pre-health adviser, MaryLynn Fallon.
If you are pre-law, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers a letter of recommendation service through its Credential Assembly Service (CAS) that you must use. This service provides you with a "recommender form" that you must provide to your letter writer. Please visit the LSAC website for more information on its letter of recommendation service. Contact Cheryl Banker, firstname.lastname@example.org, pre-law adviser, with questions.
Pre-business students should research their programs of interest and contact Cheryl Banker, email@example.com, pre-business adviser, with questions.
If you have questions about Interfolio or want more details, visit them at Interfolio, Inc., or call 1-877-77-FOLIO.
If you have questions for CELS about letters of recommendation, call us at 860-439-2770.