Credentials File Service
When you create a file with the Credentials File Service, Career Services maintains your letters of recommendation and sends them out upon your request. This service is convenient for those applying to several schools with letters from multiple recommenders, or for those who intend to apply after graduation. PLEASE NOTE: To guarantee that your recommendation request is processed before the holidays, your credentials request must be received no later than December 4, 2013.
Who is the Credentials File For?
Students and alumni who are interested in applying to any kind of graduate or professional school, fellowship, scholarship or nominated internship should consider using this service. Note that your Credentials File is not intended for employment purposes. Letters kept in your Credentials File will not be sent to employers.
Establish a Credentials File
- Download the registration form >
- Complete: Complete all sections, sign and date.
- Return: You must complete and return the registration form to Career Services before we can create your file or begin collecting letters on your behalf.
For students and alumni with a Credentials File, letters to the first 10 schools to which you send recommendations per academic year are processed free of charge. There is a $5 fee for each additional school, and you must include these charges with your request. Please make all checks payable to Princeton University/Office of Career Services.
Students and recent graduates: Your file will be maintained free of charge while you are a student at the University and for one year after graduation. Thereafter you will be billed a maintenance fee of $30 per year, or $75 for three years.
Alumni after the first year: You will be billed a maintenance fee of $30 per year, or $75 for three years. When opening your file, include the appropriate maintenance fee with your completed registration form.
Submit Letters to Your File
1. Fill out a Waiver Form.
A Waiver Form must be completed for each letter collected. This permits us to release copies of the letters written on your behalf. TIP: Check the box indicating that the recommendation is confidential. Almost all schools require it to consider the recommendation valid.
- Download the Waiver / Recommendation Form >
- Complete: Fill out the top section with your name, class year, degree, date, signature and the name of your recommender.
2. Give the completed Waiver Form to each recommender.
Your writers must sign the Waiver Form and their recommendation letter before sending them both to Career Services. TIP: We encourage letter writers to complete the actual recommendation on official letterhead.
3. Have them send their letters and Waiver Form to Career Services.
Recommendation letters may be:
- Scanned and sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sent through campus mail to Career Services, Princeton University , 36 University Place, Suite 200
- Sent by U.S. Mail to Career Services, Princeton University , 36 University Place, Suite 200
4. Contact Career Services to check your recommendation status.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your writers send their letters to Career Services in time to meet your application deadline.
- Call: Please call us to check the status of your file 2-3 weeks after your initial request.
- TIP: If we have not received your recommendation by this time, you may want to remind your writers.
5. If a letter is received without the Waiver Form, Career Services will email you.
If we do not hear from you within 10 working days, the letter will be returned to the writer.
Have Letters Sent from Your File
Complete a Recommendation Request Form.
This form is required. It informs Career Services of each school to which you are applying, and the recommendations to be submitted to each school. Most programs require three letters, but be sure you know what is needed for each application.
- Download the Recommendation Mailing Request Form >
- Complete: Sign and date it. Note that up to 10 schools may be included on each form. If you are applying to more than 10, complete an additional form.
- Return: Return the form(s) to Career Services.
Note if your school requires evaluation forms.
Some schools require these in addition to recommendations. If your letters are being submitted online, you must have all evaluation forms completed and signed by the recommender. If the evaluation form is not received with the recommendation, your request cannot be completed. This may cause a significant delay in the application process.
Review each school's submission requirements.
Electronic submissions: Most schools now require that letters of recommendation be submitted electronically. For these requests, please contact Career Services as early in the process as possible. We will review the submission process with you in detail, and provide you with email addresses to be used when requesting access to each school’s online recommendation site.
Mailed submissions: Some schools still require applicants to include sealed letters of recommendation with their application materials, or that they be submitted by mail. For these requests:
- Letters mailed directly to schools: Please provide 10"x13" stamped, addressed envelopes for each school. If you have questions, please call our office.
- Letters submitted with your application: Please specify which letters are to be held for pick-up at Career Services. Your letters will still be submitted to our office for inclusion in your Credentials File, and you may pick them up here for submission with your application.
Credentials File Tips
- Send in your request early. During the busy season (November – January), expect a turnaround of 10 business days from the date we receive your request until they are deposited in U.S. mail. Requests are processed in the order they are received, regardless of size.
- If you are living abroad, allow extra time for any mailed documents to reach Career Services. If you are living abroad, please contact us to discuss the best method for submitting your documents.
- Manage payments in advance. If you plan to have your letters sent by Federal Express, you must provide us with valid credit card information including the card expiration date. You will be billed directly by Federal Express. Also remember that each academic year, there is a $5 fee for each school to which you apply over 10. Make these arrangements in advance to avoid delays.
Maintain your File
We highly recommend that alumni keep a current address, phone number and email address on file with Alumni Records. Your Credentials File is maintained free of charge the first year after you graduate. Thereafter, you will receive a renewal letter. You may elect to renew for $30 for one year, or $75 for three years. If we receive no response for seven years, your file will be terminated.
A Note on Confidentiality
You have the legal right to choose whether your letters are confidential. Be aware that most schools require this for consideration of these documents as part of your application.
- Check the box: If you wish them to be confidential, sign each recommendation form before giving it to each recommender and check the box next to the confidentiality statement.
- Understand the implications: The contents of a confidential recommendation cannot be viewed or shared with the candidate.
- A sound decision: In the opinion of the Career Services staff, confidential recommendations are more credible in support of applications to academic programs.
Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program, is required to open the above-referenced forms online. These forms have been created so that you can fill them out using your computer before printing them out if you choose.