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Recommendation Letters

The Career Development Office (CDO) will store and send letters of recommendation on behalf of students and alumnae/i. Letters of recommendation are also referred to as reference files, credentials, or a dossier. The CDO will maintain paper records for students and alumnae/i for the past 10 class years, and will keep electronic (scanned) copies of letters indefinitely. 

Information for students and alumnae/i

To get started, fill out a Reference File Registration Form. This form can be mailed to Box 7, scanned and emailed to cdo@vassar.edu, or faxed to 845-437-7257.

Next, ask your faculty, supervisors and other references to submit a letter on your behalf. These letters can be mailed to Box 7, scanned and emailed to cdo@vassar.edu or faxed to 845-437-7257. Note that some applications will require the signature of your letter writer, and others may recommend that you have waived your right to request a copy of the letter. If you are planning to use the letter(s) for applications to law or other graduate programs, we recommend completing a waiver form for each letter.

To check the status of your file at anytime, simply email cdo@vassar.edu or call 845-437-5285.

Important notes:

  • Letters of recommendation will only be released with your consent. 
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials in the file are accurate, complete and up-to-date. 
  • In our experience, letters of recommendation that are older than five (5) years are perceived by graduate schools or organizations as less relevant than more recent letters.
  • Transcripts can be requested from the Registrar's Office.

Tips for requesting letters of recommendation:

Request letters of recommendation only from people you feel confident can report honestly on your best personal and academic qualities. If you are unsure, ask simply and directly: "I need a letter of recommendation for ________, and I wondered if you felt that you knew me and my work well enough to write a strong letter of recommendation." The aim is to have your recommender present you in a clear, positive, professional light. 

Recognize that recommenders are busy people, and that it will be to your advantage to make their job as easy as possible:

  • Gather your recommendations systematically on a semester, yearly, or summer basis: as soon as possible after the experience itself
  • Give a copy of your resume (and, possibly, personal statement) to your recommender
  • Tell your recommender how and why you plan to use the recommendation
  • Give your recommender plenty of advance notice; do not wait until the last minute to ask for a letter
  • Be sure to thank your recommenders, and to let them know the outcome of your applications

Information for letter writers

Letters can be mailed to Box 7, emailed to cdo@vassar.edu, or faxed to 845-437-7257. Note that some applications will require your signature on the letter and/or request that it be printed on department letterhead. In general, we recommended that students and alumnae/i waive their right to request the letter directly when they plan to use it for applications to graduate or professional school by completing this form.