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Ask for Letters of Recommendation

Any student considering attending school in America must have impressed a teacher or two at some point. Now that hard work will work for you.

6: Letters | 7: Statement | 8: Transcripts | 9: Application
The only part of the application over which you have no direct control is letters of recommendation. Generally, you can ask two groups of people to write your letter of recommendation 1) your present or former professors and/or 2) your employers.

The one area where you can exercise some control is in selecting who you will ask for letters. Letters of recommendation give the schools a picture of what kind of a student and person you are, so you want to ask for letters from people who you think like you and will describe you with positive language.

Tip: Most professors or employers may be too busy to write recommendations for you. Offering assistance by drafting the letter and including related documents (previous transcript, assignments, resume, etc.) can help save them time and improve the quality of their recommendations.

When should I take this step?
Eleven (11) months before school starts. You want to give the people writing these letters at least a month to finish them.

Why do I need letters of recommendation?
One of the things that schools consider when they review your application is what people who have taught you and worked with you think of you. Your letters of recommendation are the only way that admission officers can learn what others think of you, and they should paint a fairly positive picture of your work and of you.

What does "waive my right of access to the letter of recommendation" mean?
"Waive my right" simply means "give up my right." In America, people have the basic right to review records related to their work and education. Therefore, without waiving this right, you are entitled by law to read those letters of recommendation. Schools ask you to sign the waiver because they want to give the writer a complete freedom to write about you. Since the writers are picked by you and they most probably write about you in a favourable manner any way, it is a normal practice for most students to waive their right. Some people say that waiving your right to review your letters of recommendation improves your chances of being accepted, but admission officers say that it doesn't affect their decision.

How do I send these letters to the schools when I apply?
Schools handle this in one of two ways: some will ask you to send them, in envelopes signed and sealed by the letter writers, with the rest of your application; some will require the letter writers to mail them directly to the school without giving them to you.

Tip: If any schools ask the writers to mail the letter directly, be sure to supply the writers with stamped, envelopes addressed to the schools.

5: Financial Aid | | 7: Statement

Important US Official Links:
1) SEVIS is a government, computerized system that maintains and manages data about foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. More info >>
2) U.S. Customs - Department of State

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