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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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  • How many recommendations do I need?
    • Three letters of recommendation are required for your application.

  • Can I list more than three recommenders?
    • Yes. The application system allows you to list up to four recommenders. This gives you the option to register a fourth recommender to serve as a backup in case one of your first three recommenders is unable to submit by the deadline.

      Recommendations will be displayed to the admission committee in the order in which they are submitted. It is up to the admission committee to decide which recommendations to review. If all four recommendations are submitted and you wish for only three of them to be considered, you may exclude the additional recommendation.

  • Who should I ask to be my recommenders?
    • Letters of recommendation should come from academic or professional references who know you well and are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work.

      Refer to your graduate program’s website to check whether it offers specific guidance on choosing your recommenders.

  • What should my letters of recommendation say?
    • Refer to the Recommendations page to view the general prompt for the recommendation letter. The exact prompt displayed to the recommender may differ depending on the graduate program you select.

      Refer to your graduate program’s website to check whether it offers specific guidance on what recommenders should include in their letters.

  • How does waiving my right of access impact my application?
    • Waiving your right lets your recommender know that you do not intend to read the letter that they submit for your application. That, in turn, reassures your graduate program’s admission committee that your recommender has provided support that is candid and truthful. While you are free to respond as you wish, if you decline to waive your right, your recommender may decline to provide a letter.

      If you decline to waive your right of access, you may review recommendations for your application only after you enroll as a student at Stanford, and then only to the extent that the information is maintained by the university.

  • I would like to change my waiver response for a recommendation request I already submitted. How can I make this update?
    • Upon sending the request to your recommender, you will no longer be able to change your decision about whether to waive your right to that request. You will need to cancel the existing request by clicking Exclude, then re-adding the recommender with your updated waiver response.

  • How do I change one of my recommenders?
    • On the Recommendations page of the application, click on the recommender’s name you wish to replace, then click Exclude at the bottom of the resulting popup window. You then will see the option to add a new recommender. The recommender you exclude will not receive an email notification.

  • Do my recommenders need to wait for me to submit my application in order to submit their letters?
    • No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.

  • Do I need to wait for my recommenders to submit their letters in order to submit my application?
    • No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.

  • When is the deadline for recommendation letters?
    • Unless otherwise specified on your graduate program’s website, the deadline to receive recommendation letters is the same as the application deadline.

  • Will the online system accept recommendations submitted after the deadline?
    • Yes. Letters received after the deadline will still be attached to your application and viewable to the admission committee. However, late letters are not guaranteed to be reviewed.

  • Will you accept letters of recommendation sent via Interfolio?
    • Yes, Interfolio is now compatible with the online system. However, please remember that letters written specifically for your Stanford graduate program tend to be stronger than letters written for general use purposes.

  • What if my recommenders are not receiving their recommender link emails?
    • Occasionally, some email servers will send recommender link emails directly to Spam or will not allow the email to reach the primary inbox at all (particularly for email addresses located outside of the United States). Please reach out to Technical Support by submitting a request via the "Request Application Support" button on the "Instructions" page of your application.

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