Setting Up Your File
Note: At least one recommender must have agreed to write a letter of recommendation before you can set up your file
Steps for setting up your file:
- Complete the Recommendation File Set-Up Form.
- Submit the form and optional resume to the RFS via e-mail.
- You will be contacted when your file has been established.
- After you sign the file, your information packet is emailed to the recommenders you listed.
- After the file is opened, it is your responsibility to check on the file status.
- Your letters will be sent after a series of steps have been completed.
1. Complete the Recommendation File Set-Up Form
- **This form must be opened with Adobe Reader (Mac/Apple Preview is not sufficient). Click here to download a free edition of Adobe Reader.**
- Clicking on the link will automatically open a fillable PDF in a new browser window.
- Save the blank form to your computer.
- Open the saved form in ADOBE and complete all required information.
- Provide name of at least one recommender who has agreed to write a letter on your behalf (additional recommenders may be added later, up to a maximum of six).
- The essay is recommended but optional. If you do not submit your essay when you open your file, you must send the essay directly to your recommenders if they request it.
- The resume is optional, and may be submitted as a separate attachment to provide additional information for the recommender. Note: A resume cannot be submitted as a substitute for responses to form questions 1-4.
- Don't forget to re-save the form after filling it out and before attaching it to your request email.
2. Submit the form and optional resume to the RFS office via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
You will receive an e-mail indicating the form has been received.
- Allow five business days for the file to be set up.
- All files are handled in the order that they are received in fairness to all applicants. Do not request preferential treatment.
The RFS office will email you to offer you options for signing two waivers:
- A signature is required to indicate you are waiving access to your letters.
- Statement of understanding of "recommendation file falsification actions"
- Under the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), you have the right to access your reference letters unless you choose to waive that right.
- Waiving access to your letters (answering YES on the form) means you will NOT have the ability to review the letters written on your behalf.
- Professional schools generally look more favorably at recommendation letters processed with the student access waived.
- Recommenders tend to write more candid and meaningful letters under these circumstances.
The packet contains:
- Contents of the form you completed
- Essay (if provided)
- Resume (if provided)
- Evaluation Form: The recommender will rate you on characteristics such as intellectual ability, persistence, originality and emotional stability
Ways to check the status of your file:
- Current students or recent graduates with active NetIDs:
- Log on to the Blackboard Course Management System using your current NU NetID and password
- Under "My Courses", you should see a course entitled "Applying to Med School" or "Applying to Dental School"; click on this course link
- On the course home page, click on "Status of Rec File Letters" in the left hand column
- Under the column titled "Grades" (no grades actually given), you will see the name of a recommender followed by the words "Received" or "Not Received"; this indicates the status of your letter from this recommender
- Please allow up to 5 business for received letters to be processed; also note that any letters submitted through regular or campus mail may take up to 5 business days to reach the Rec File office
- All new letter information will be updated every week day (Mon- Fri; excluding national holidays) by 5pm (CDT); if you log on and see that a letter you were told was submitted is not marked as "Received", please check again after 5pm to see if this status has changed
- NU Alumni or students without an active NU NetID: send an email to the recommendation file service office at email@example.com to inquire about the status of your file
- You are encouraged to check Blackboard or enquire to the Rec File office at least once every two weeks. The status of your file will only be given in response to YOUR inquiry.
- Provide a reminder to recommenders directly if their letter has not yet been submitted based on the deadline you agreed upon. The Rec File office will not contact recommenders to remind them about outstanding letters.
- The Recommendation File Service office will send you an email indicating that your file is complete, including the instructions for sending the letters packet to your list of schools.
- Complete the online Release of Recommendation Letter Packet to Schools
- All letters have been submitted by your recommenders
- The RFS office has confirmed with you via e-mail that your file is complete
- You have submitted your primary application to AMCAS (for MD applicants) and have received at least ONE secondary application (from any school)
- You have submitted the Release of Recommendation Letter Packet
- Please allow seven business days for your letter packet transmission request to be fulfilled. A confirmation e-mail will be sent when your request has been completed.
- Students should allow up to 4-6 weeks for schools to download/receive and process the packet. The medical schools receive a heavy volume of materials and recommendations cannot always be logged in immediately.