House Office Letters of Recommendation

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Letters of Recommendation

There are two types of Letters of Recommendation that you can process through the House Office. These are the General Letters and the Dean's Letters. See below for more details.

Any questions, please contact: Kim Gulko, Academic Coordinator.

Contact Info:(617-49)5-2279. Available 9AM to 5PM Monday-Friday Email: leverettcoordinator@fas.harvard.edu

General Letters of Recommendation

1. Asking for a Letter - Who to Ask, How to Ask

Determine who you will ask. Give them a copy of the Waiver Form (see below) and an addressed, stamped envelope.

Check out guidelines and tips including Leverett House - Letters of Recommendation (General) and Judy Murciano's Guide to Letters of Recommendation

Fill out a Letter Waiver Form.

Fill out this form completely (both the "Release" and "Waiver of Access" sections) and give it to your recommender. Instructions to the recommender are included at the bottom of the form. A completed Waiver for Individual Letter of Recommendation must accompany all letters sent to the House for storage in your permanent folder. Copies of a letter of recommendation will not be sent out from your permanent folder unless this completed form is filed with it.

2. Keeping General Letters on File

The House Office will keep general letters of recommendation on file for you. You can ask a professor, teaching fellow, supervisor, or mentor for a recommendation at any time, preferably right after you've taken their class, seminar, or workshop. The sooner you ask, the better. These letters can be written for general purposes and stored in your permanent folder to later be used for fellowships, pre-med, or pre-law letters, or they can be sent back to recommenders to be revised for a specific purpose.

3. Sending Letters on File

Copies of letters can be sent by post or fax to institutions that you designate, but they cannot be given to you under any circumstances if you waived your right to see them. Letters from the House Office can only be sent to organizations or schools NOT to individuals. The only exception is that professors can be sent a copy of a letter they have written for you in the past. Current students should give the Academic Coordinator stamped and addressed envelopes along with a note indicating the letters to be copied and mailed or faxed. Alumni should e-mail the Academic Coordinator to indicate recommendations to be copied and mailed or faxed. Plan in advance for these requests and leave plenty of time for the letters to arrive. See contact info above.

4. Letters Written for Specific Purposes

If someone is already writing a letter for you, then you should take advantage of the opportunity to have that letter in your permanent folder so you do not need to bother the recommender for a copy in the future. Give the recommender a waiver form and ask him/her to generalize the letter or send it as-is to be stored in your permanent folder.

5. Due Dates

Waiver forms allow you to specify due dates for letters. When the due date arrives, contact the Academic Coordinator to confirm receipt of the letter. If the letter has not arrived, follow up with the recommender. Always give recommenders ample time to write letters. If you are requesting a letter for a time-sensitive application, write in a date that comes before the letter is actually needed; this will leave time to sort out any complications before your application is late. If you are requesting a general letter, write in a date that is approximately one month away.

Steps for Dean's Letters

These letters are most often prepared as part of the fellowship, pre-med and pre-law application process.

Committee Letter Waiver

Fill out this form and return it to the Allston Burr's Office. Preparation of a dean's letter for a fellowship, medical school, or law school application will not begin until this form is received. A dean's letter is a composite letter (also called a House letter) that draws on individual letters of recommendation in your permanent folder. You will receive e-mail notification from the Assistant to the Allston Burr Dean when application packets are completed and mailed.

Keep in mind that the pre-law and pre-med committees have their own procedure. Don't forget to check with them about that process.

Pre-Law - Letters of Recommendation Information

Pre-Med - Letters of Recommendation Information