Selecting the right people to submit recommendations on your behalf can be a difficult decision. Let’s take a minute to help you understand the process and maybe provide some insight in to how we use the recommendations in the application evaluation.
We try to make the recommendation process as painless as possible for the people submitting the recommendation. We realize these are very busy people and they are also doing you a favor. Once you fill out the application with the name, email, etc. of your recommender they automatically get an email from us with a link. The link takes them to a webpage with a list of competencies we consider important to success in the MSC program – things like Professionalism, Self-awareness, Initiative, Integrity. We ask them to rank you on a scale of 1-6. Then we ask three short answer questions. Pretty simple really – this way the recommender doesn’t have to try to guess what we want to know and come up with a letter from scratch.
So, who do you ask to submit a recommendation? Many people believe that a recommendation from someone with a big title or significant responsibilities is the best way to go. That’s not necessarily the case. We want to hear from people that can speak intelligently about you, people that know you and your work and can comment on your ability to add value to the program.
My last piece of advice is to spend some time talking to your recommenders about why you are applying to the program. Talk to them about your essay and how you are hoping to leverage your abilities in your application. This does two things – first you and your recommender can be consistent in your message and that consistency goes a long way in our evaluation. Second, you might learn something new from your recommender – they might talk about strengths you hadn’t thought of and help you add even more to your application.
Last but not least – we get recommendations from all types, bosses, peers, subordinates, clergy, professors – you name it, all are great options. That said every once in a while, we get a recommendation from a parent – try to avoid that.