Programs that Require Recommendations
Exchange partners who require at least one recommendation as part of their institutional application process include:
- Chulalongkorn University
- The Federation of German-American Clubs
- Hebrew University
- Keble College/ Oxford University exchange (1 recommendation)
- Keio University
- University College of London
- Waseda University
Recommendation Request Process
1. Prior to requesting an online recommendation, undergraduate students must contact each potential recommender directly to ask if they are willing to serve as recommenders. Recommendations cannot come from anyone with a "student" status and should not be the faculty director of the program.
2. After receiving approval from the faculty member(s), students will need to identify their recommenders in the application system.
3. Each recommender will then receive an e-mail message requesting that a recommendation be completed on the student's behalf along with information about how to complete the recommendation online.
4. For faculty-directed programs, The Guarini Institute will then send the recommendations to the program's university partner on your behalf.
Tips on Selecting Recommenders
Who knows you well in the academic setting, regardless of their title?
The most important recommender you can ask is someone who knows you well and can speak to your character, attributes, and abilities in a positive light. Think about the audience of the letter--the faculty director and institution. What are their values in applicants for the program? What do they want to see most in their group cohort? It may help to speak with the faculty director to find out.
The professional title and accolades the recommender has don't matter as much as hearing from someone who knows you. Teachers' assistants are fabulous recommenders as well since they spend the most time with you. And it's even better if the recommender has several years of experience as well; their statements can carry more weight.
Do remember that the recommendation should still be academically focused. If you're unsure of where you stand with a recommender, ask and tell them you appreciate their honesty. It's hard to hear but it's better to weed out any recommenders that won't write a glowing recommendation for you.
Who will be most reliable and actually take the time to write a recommendation?
If you're trying to pick between your high school Spanish teacher whom you worked with for many years or the Senator you worked under for a summer internship, both may be valuable but think about what you're applying for when selecting the right person. That said, you also want to choose someone who not only is a good writer but will take the time to write you a good recommendation. That Senator may be a better fit for your program, but they may not have the time to write one for you, whereas the Spanish teacher might. One letter is better than no letter at all.
Some additional considerations are to find someone who can write a letter to complement your application and provide a variety of information that shows how well-rounded you are and how much experience you have in the area you're applying to.