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Letters of Recommendation

Where do my recommenders send letters of recommendation? May my recommender(s) send their letters by email or FAX?


We require all applicants to register their recommender(s) for online letters of recommendation. Your recommender will be able to upload their letter as a PDF document or type or paste the text of their recommendation into our system, and will be able to complete qualitative assessment rankings as part of their assessment of your skills and abilities. The qualitative assessment rankings will be used by departments when reviewing your application, but recommenders are not required to complete these. 


Please note: We do not accept letters of recommendation by fax or email.

How do I submit letters from a letter service?

If you plan to use a letter service, please review that service's instructions before registering your recommenders through the online application; many services will provide you with a unique email address under which you'll register each recommender, allowing the service to electronically submit the letters. (Please see our section on Letters of Recommendation).

May I submit more than three letters of recommendation?


You may submit up to five letters, though three are all that are required.

What if I want to waive access to review letter(s) of recommendation?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 does give students, once admitted and enrolled, the right to inspect their records, including letters of recommendation.

The FERPA gives important rights, including:

  • The right of students to inspect their student records

  • The right to challenge incorrect information in those records

  • The right to keep student records private


Because the FERPA gives students these rights, neither UCSC nor other institutions or organizations can require you to waive these rights. The following are factors you may want to consider in making the decision to waive or retain access to your letters of recommendation:

  • Members of the admissions committee will know whether you waived access.

  • A potential recommender may choose not to write a letter for you if you retain your right of access.

You must select to either waive or not waive your right of access when registering each recommender in your online admission application. 

If you want to change your decision after you have registered your recommender, you will have to click Edit and Exclude next to the name of each recommender you're changing your rights on. This will remove their letter from your application; you will have to re-register each recommender again with the correct rights applied, and re-send them an invitation to submit a recommendation.

My recommender wants to edit the letter online. How can that be done?


After online submission, the letter can not be replaced, but a new letter can be submitted for you. If your recommender feels the letter should be replaced after submission, please ask your recommender to contact Graduate Admissions using the email account they were registered with on your application.

Can I submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of my letter writer?

Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the letter writer; applicants must not submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of the letter writer unless explicit prior consent has been granted by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Contact us to request an exception to this policy.

In cases where an applicant has fraudulently submitted official application materials on behalf of another individual or institution, the matter will be reviewed as a case of falsification and can result in the cancellation of the application. See our Policy: Falsification, Accuracy of Application Materials for more information.

How do I change information for my recommender (email, waiver of rights, etc.)?

If you have submitted your application: Log in to the application portal and view your status page. Below your checklist you will see a link, "To re-send notifications to your recommenders, re-visit the recommendations page..." click this link to make edits. If no link appears, go to this address:

If you need to change a recommender's information you will click Edit next to their name, and then Exclude. You will then add a new registration for them with the correct information (corrected email, "yes" or "no" for your waiver of rights, etc.). Be sure to send the new link to your recommender, as the previous link will no longer work.


If you have not submitted your application - after logging in to the application, go to the Recommendations page to make any changes.

My recommender did not receive the email requesting their letter

First, verify that their email address is entered accurately in our system. If not, see above FAQ about editing recommender information.


If their email is accurate, be sure they add our email address to their contacts: Once they have added our email address, re-send their invitation or a reminder to them.

Also, they should check their junk or spam email folder; our recommendation message's subject line begins with "Request from [applicant first & last name]...".


If the recommender still can not receive our emails, please send us a message and let us know what steps have been taken, your application reference number, and the name and email of your recommender so that we can investigate.

Change info recommender
No recommender email
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