Letters of Recommendation: Frequently Asked Questions & Instructions

For instructions on letters of recommendation in the Fall 2016 online application, click here.



Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many letters of recommendation are required and who should write them?
  2. Must all of my recommenders submit their letters online?
  3. Can some of my recommenders submit the letters online, and others mail their letters?
  4. My recommender does not have an email address and cannot be registered in the online system. What do I do?
  5. I have more than three recommenders. Will they be accepted?
  6. Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete?
  7. Do I have to submit my online application before my recommenders can access the system?
  8. If my letters of recommendation are sent before I submit my online application, will there be a problem?
  9. Can I add or change my recommenders after I have submitted my online application?
  10. Can my recommenders email or fax their recommendation letters rather than use the online system?
  11. How do I know if my recommender has received my request for them to write a recommendation?
  12. My recommender hasn’t completed their recommendation. What should I do?
  13. My recommender says they never received the notification email asking them to write a recommendation, or they accidentally lost the email. What should I do?
  14. Do you accept recommendations or other documents from a credentials service or a career services office (e.g., Interfolio or my undergraduate institution)?
  15. How do I know if you received my recommendation from a specific recommender?


1. How many letters of recommendation are required and who should write them?

Three letters of recommendation from persons who know your academic qualifications are required. Recommenders should be chosen from people most familiar with your former studies, research interests, or work, including at least one instructor in the institution you last attended. The Graduate School prefers recommendations from instructors familiar with your work in the field in which you expect to study. If you have been out of school for some time, a letter from an employer or supervisor should be provided. Exception to the policy of three letters of recommendation is as follows: (1) the advanced certificate program in Ergonomics requires two references, but they are not asked to write letters of recommendation.

2. Must all of my recommenders submit their letters online?

Yes. The Graduate School asks that you register your recommenders in the online application and requires that your recommenders use the online system. It is easy for the recommender, greatly facilitates the processing of your application, and insures the department receives all materials together at the same time.

We understand that in very exceptional circumstances a recommender may find that he or she is not able to use the online system (e.g., no access to the internet). Even so, you must still register the recommender in the online application. Then you must provide them with our official recommendation form. You should download a copy and email it to them, or print a copy and mail it to them. The Letter of Recommendation form is available in the Application Resource Center. Ask the recommender to complete the recommendation form and send it along with their letter to the Graduate School in a sealed envelope with her/his signature written across the flap. The recommendation form should be stapled to the front of the letter. Please note that we will not accept the letter by email or fax.

The mailing address is as follows:
U.S. Postal Service (including express and priority mail):
New York University
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Graduate Enrollment Services
P.O. Box 907
New York, NY 10276-0907

FedEx, DHL, UPS, or other express mail service (do not use for U.S. Postal Service express or priority mail):
New York University
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Graduate Enrollment Services
One-half Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 998-8050

3. Can some of my recommenders submit the letters online, and others mail their letters?

Only in exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the reply to question 2 above.

4. My recommender does not have an email address and cannot be registered in the online system. What do I do?

If your recommender does not have an email address, then you cannot register them in the online system. Since you cannot register them, you should ask them to submit their recommendation by mail. Please provide them with our official recommendation form. See the answer to question 2 (above) for how to proceed.

5. I have more than three recommenders. Will they be accepted?

The Graduate School requires three letters of recommendation. Most applicants find this number is sufficient and you should not submit additional letters unless there are strong reasons for doing so.

For those applicants who choose to use more than three recommenders, we allow you to register as many as five recommenders in Step 5: Recommendations.

6. Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete?

No. Submit your application as soon as you have completed it. We will match your letters of recommendation to your application when they arrive.

7. Do I have to submit my online application before my recommenders can access the system?

No. We encourage you to register your recommenders early, even before you submit your application. Once your recommender is registered, he or she will receive an email with information on how they can access the system to submit a recommendation on your behalf. Then, after you submit your online application, it will be matched with all letters submitted on your behalf.

8. If my letters of recommendation are sent before I submit my online application, will there be a problem?

No, there will not be a problem. The letters will be matched with your application once you submit it.

9. Can I add or change my recommenders after I have submitted my online application?

If you are applying for fall 2016: You can register additional or replacement recommenders after you have submitted your online application. You do this in Step 5: Recommendations. You cannot revoke a recommendation letter once it has been submitted by the recommender.

If you are applying for spring 2017 or later: You can add additional or replacement recommenders after you have submitted your online application. You do this on your Letters of Recommendations page. Choose the recommender, click "Edit" and click "Exclude." However, you cannot exclude or delete a recommendation letter once it has been submitted by the recommender.

10. Can my recommenders email or fax their recommendation letters rather than use the online system?

No. We do not accept recommendation letters by email or fax.

11. How do I know if my recommender has received my request for them to write a recommendation?

If you are applying for fall 2016: If you are applying online, you can check the status of your recommendations for each registered recommender by going to Step 5: Recommendations in your online application. Review the box labeled "Status." If it says either "Registration Unconfirmed" or "Registration Confirmed," then your recommender has not begun the recommendation process. However, this doesn’t mean there is a problem. They may have received the notification email, but just not signed-in to the online system yet. Once they sign-in and begin the process, the status box will say "In Progress." Once they submit your recommendation, the status box will say "Submitted." You will also receive an email notification when the recommendation is submitted.

If you are applying for spring 2017 or later: You can check the status of your recommendations for each recommender by going to your Application Status page and looking at the Application Checklist section. Below each recommender's name you will see if it was "sent to recommender," "in progress," or "submitted."

12. My recommender hasn’t completed their recommendation. What should I do?

If you are applying for fall 2016: You can resend the registration email to your recommender by going to Step 5: Recommendations in your online application, checking the box next to the recommender’s name, and then clicking on "Resend Registration Email." You can email or telephone them personally. If you are unsuccessful in reaching your recommender, or are concerned they will not submit a letter on your behalf, you may want to ask someone else to submit a letter for you.

If you are applying for spring 2017 or later: You can send your recommender a reminder. You do this on your Letters of Recommendations page. Choose the recommender, click "Edit" and click "Send Reminder."

13. My recommender says they never received the notification email asking them to write a recommendation, or they accidentally lost the email. What should I do?

The most common reason why the registration email is not received by a recommender is because the notification email is blocked by a "spam" filter as part of their email software. The registration emails are sent from notification@review.com. Please ask your recommender to double-check their email messages and their spam folder, looking for a message from "Embark Online Recommendations" with a subject line that says, "Your Name Online Recommendation," where Your Name is the name on your online application.

If they cannot find the email message, or they accidentally lost it, you can resend the registration email message to your recommender. Go to Step 5: Recommendations in your online application, check the box next to the recommender’s name, then click "Resend Registration Email." You can still do this if you have already submitted the online application.

If they still do not receive the email message after the second attempt, then you will need to ask them to send the recommendation by mail. Please see the answer to question 2 (above).

14. Do you accept recommendations or other documents from a credentials service or a career services office (e.g., Interfolio or my undergraduate institution)?

No, we do not accept letters of recommendation via Interfolio and other credentials services. This policy became effective September 1, 2010.

We do not accept any other documents through Interfolio and other services. The personal statement should be included in your online application and not sent through them. Transcripts and translations should be uploaded to your online application, as well.

15. How do I know if you received my recommendation from a specific recommender?

If you are applying for fall 2016: You can check the status of your recommendations for each registered recommender by going to Step 5: Recommendations in your online application. Review the box labeled "Status." Once a recommender submits your recommendation, the status box will say "Submitted." You will also receive an email notification when the recommendation is submitted. If it is submitted, this means that the recommendation has been sent to the Graduate School on your behalf.

If you are applying for spring 2017 or later: You can check the status of your recommendations by going to your Application Status page and looking at the Application Checklist section. Below each recommender's name you will see if it was "submitted." Also, the status will show as "received" with a green check mark.




Instructions for Using the Online Application


IMPORTANT NOTE: These instructions are to be used for the Fall 2016 application only.

Letters of recommendation from persons who know your academic qualifications are required. Recommenders should be chosen from people most familiar with your former studies, research interests, or work, including at least one instructor in the institution you last attended. The Graduate School prefers recommendations from instructors familiar with your work in the field in which you expect to study. If you have been out of school for some time, a letter from an employer or supervisor should be provided.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the Graduate School receives all of your credentials by the application deadline date. We encourage you to periodically check with those writing letters and remind them of the deadline.

There are four simple steps for handling your letters of recommendation when using our online application. [These steps describe the process for all applicants to the Graduate School of Arts and Science except for applicants to the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (certificate program). Postdoctoral applicants should mail in their letters of recommendation, following the specific instructions in the application.]

  1. Name your recommenders on page 3 of the online application (Step 2: Application Form). This information will print on your application, providing important information for your department or program.
  2. Register your recommenders. We require that all recommenders use the online system. We ask that you register ALL of your recommenders. To register a recommender, click the "Register Recommender" button in Step 5: Recommendations and complete the contact information for each recommender. If you have completed your application but are still waiting for letters of recommendation, go ahead and submit your application now. The letters of recommendation will be added to your application when they are submitted.
  3. Inform your recommenders that the Graduate School asks them to submit the recommendations online. There are advantages to you if they do so—the primary one is that your application and letters of recommendation can be joined together and transmitted to the Graduate School as one package, greatly facilitating the processing of your application and review by your program’s Admissions Committee. In addition, you can easily track the status of your recommendations, knowing when each letter is submitted or if some are still outstanding as described in Point D below.

    We understand that in very exceptional circumstances a recommender may not be able to use the online system (e.g., no access to the internet). Even so, you must still register the recommender in the online application. Then you must provide them with our official recommendation form. You should download a copy and email it to them, or print a copy and mail it to them. The Letter of Recommendation form is available in the Application Resource Center. Ask the recommender to complete the recommendation form and send it along with their letter to the Graduate School in a sealed envelope with her/his signature written across the flap. The recommendation form should be stapled to the front of the letter. Please note that we will not accept the letter by email or fax.

  4. Check the status of your recommendations frequently. You may view the status of the letters from registered recommenders at any time by logging onto the online application and going to Step 5: Recommendations. You will be informed by email when a registered recommender submits an online recommendation on your behalf.

Updated on 07/12/2016