The only part of the
application over which you have no direct control is letters of
recommendation. Generally, you can ask two groups of people
to write your letter of recommendation 1) your present or former
professors and/or 2) your employers.
The one area where you can exercise some control is in selecting who you will ask for
letters. Letters of recommendation give the schools
a picture of what kind of a student and person you are, so you want
to ask for letters from people who you think like you and will describe
you with positive language.
Tip: Most professors or employers may be too busy
to write recommendations for you. Offering assistance by drafting the
letter and including related documents (previous transcript,
assignments, resume, etc.) can help save them time and improve the
quality of their recommendations.
should I take this step?
Eleven (11) months before school starts. You want to give the people writing these letters
at least a month to finish them.
I need letters of recommendation?
One of the things that schools consider when they review your application is
what people who have taught you and worked with you think of you. Your letters of
recommendation are the only way that admission officers can learn what others
think of you, and they should paint a fairly positive picture of your work and of you.
does "waive my right of access to the letter of recommendation" mean?
"Waive my right" simply means "give up my right." In America, people have the basic right
to review records related to their work and education. Therefore, without waiving this right, you are
entitled by law to read those letters of recommendation. Schools ask you to sign
the waiver because they want to give the writer a complete freedom to write about
you. Since the writers are picked by you and they most probably write about
you in a favourable manner any way, it is a normal practice for most students
to waive their right. Some people say that waiving your right to review your letters of
recommendation improves your chances of being accepted, but admission officers say
that it doesn't affect their decision.
How do I send these letters to the schools when I apply?
Schools handle this in one of two ways: some will ask you to send them, in envelopes
signed and sealed by the letter writers, with the rest of your application;
some will require the letter writers to mail them directly to the school
without giving them to you.
Tip: If any schools ask the writers to mail the
letter directly, be sure to supply the writers with stamped, envelopes addressed to the schools.