Recommendations (sometimes called Letters of Evaluation, Letters of Reference, or Letters of Recommendation) must be submitted by the recommenders and cannot be completed or submitted by the applicant or another party on behalf of the recommender. PharmGrad is not responsible for verifying recommenders' identities. If a discrepancy is found, PharmGrad reserves the right to contact the appropriate individuals to investigate and share the discrepancy with all programs.
Before getting started, consider the following:
- Determine whether the graduate program requires one or more recommendations by visiting the PharmGrad Program Directory.
- All recommendations must be submitted electronically by recommenders using Letters by Liaison, the Recommender Portal.
- Research each program's requirements. You should determine whether your programs have specific requirements regarding recommender roles or relationships before listing recommenders on your application. Many programs have strict guidelines and completed recommendations cannot be removed or replaced.
- Prepare your recommenders. Once you choose your recommenders, be sure to inform them about the process and that they will be completing the recommendation electronically. PharmGrad recommends obtaining their preferred email address and asking that they monitor that inbox for your recommendation request (which will come from firstname.lastname@example.org), including any junk or spam folders.
You can enter information for a maximum of four (4) recommendations. If you want to submit more, contact your programs directly to see if they will accept additional or substitute recommendations.
- In the Recommendations section, click Create Recommendation Request.
- Enter the recommender's full name and email address.
- Select the date by which you would like this recommendation completed. This date should be before your program(s) deadline.
- Enter a brief message or note for the recommender.
- Select whether you want to waive your right of access to the recommendation.
- Click the checkboxes to indicate your permission for us (and programs) to contact your recommenders.
- Click Save This Recommendation Request to submit it. Once you do so, an email is immediately sent to the recommender.
- Confirm with your recommenders that they received the email notification.
- Use the Check Status tab to monitor the status of your recommendations. Completed recommendations are marked as "Complete" and have a Complete Date listed. Follow up with your recommenders if their recommendations are still marked as "Requested" or "Accepted." It is your responsibility to ensure that recommendation requests are received and completed on time.
Recommendation Status Key
- Requested status indicates your recommendation request has been sent to the recommender via email and the recommender has not yet responded.
- Accepted status indicates the recommender has agreed to submit a recommendation on your behalf and has not yet completed it.
- Completed status and date indicate the recommendation has been received by PharmGrad and it was sent to your designated program(s). Your designated graduate programs can view your recommendations once your application is verified.
- Declined status indicates that the recommender declined your recommendation request. You can click Update Recommenders to add a new recommendation request.
Before PharmGrad will process your recommendation, you must certify the following statements:
- I hereby give permission to contact this recommender via email to request the completion of the recommendation form and letter of recommendation. If my recommender does not submit an online recommendation form in response to the email request, it is my sole responsibility to contact the recommender directly to ensure all recommendations required by my designated schools are received by the deadline.
- I understand that the schools to which I am applying may contact the recommender either to verify the information provided and/or for further clarification of the information provided, and I hereby give permission for the schools to do so.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives applicants the right to access letters of recommendations written unless they choose to waive their right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting a recommendation from a reference writer, you are required to indicate whether you wish to waive your rights. PharmGrad will release your decision to waive or not waive access to a recommendation to your reference writers and programs.
Your waiver decision on the PharmGrad application serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding. If you decide to change your waiver decision, you must log into your PharmGrad application to edit your selection online. Once your reference is received electronically, you cannot make changes to your waiver decision.
- Selecting Yes indicates to programs that your reference writer completed their recommendation with the understanding that you would not be able to view it. This means you will not be able to see the content of the recommendation. Programs may view this type of recommendation as a more accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications.
- Selecting No indicates to programs that your reference writer completed their recommendation with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Selecting this option does not allow you to view your recommendation via the application. If you do not waive your right to view the recommendation, you may ask your reference writer for a copy of the recommendation. Programs may view this type of recommendation as a less accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications and may ask you to explain your reasons for your choice during interview(s).
- Recommenders must complete and update a profile section with their contact information in case a program needs to communicate with them.
- Recommenders must upload a letter of recommendation on institutional or organizational letterhead via the Recommender Portal. Accepted formats for uploads are .pdf, .doc (Microsoft Word), .rtf (Rich Text Format) or .txt (ASCII Text File) files only. Uploaded letters must be less than 5MB in size. Since all recommendations are sent to every program you designate, recommenders should avoid referring to any specific graduate program or individual in the letter.
Resend the Recommendation Request
If you need to resend a request:
- In the Recommendations section, locate the request you wish to resend.
- Click the pencil icon to edit the request.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Resend this Recommendation Request.
Missing or Late Recommendations
Arrange for PharmGrad to receive all recommendations by the application deadline date set by your designated programs. PharmGrad does not enforce recommendation deadlines and will not hold your application for missing recommendations. Recommenders can submit a recommendation on your behalf after you submit the application or the program’s application deadline has passed, however, programs may not consider late materials. Recommendations will be released to all of the applicant’s designated programs, even if they arrive late.
If you want to submit a committee letter as part of your application, you can do so by entering the committee chair (or their alternate) as the recommender. The committee chair must then complete the recommender form and upload one letter (that includes the assessments of various committee members) via the Recommender Portal. A committee letter only counts as one reference.
Change the Recommender's Email Address
If you entered an incorrect email address for any recommender, or if any recommender asks that you send the request to a different email address, you must delete these requests and then re-add them with the correct email.
If a recommender is unresponsive or declines your invitation to submit a recommendation on your behalf, you may edit the recommender’s contact information on your PharmGrad application before or after you e-submit your application to PharmGrad. You cannot make edits to your recommender’s information once the recommendation is received.
You cannot submit more than four (4) recommendation to PharmGrad. Send any additional recommendations directly to your designated programs, if the program requires them. Unless required, programs might not consider extra recommendations.
PharmGrad may verify a recommender’s identity. If a graduate program suspects a recommendation is falsified, it is the program's responsibility to contact the applicant or recommender to investigate. PharmGrad will share any suspected cases of falsified recommendations reported by a program with the applicant and the applicant's other designated programs. PharmGrad will not attempt to verify the accuracy of the program’s investigation results.