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Should You Waive The Right To View Your Letter Of Recommendation?

Waive The Right To View Your Letter Of Recommendation

When applying to a business school, just as in applying to college, you’ll have two options: waiving your right to view your letters of recommendation or retaining this right. It’s as simple as checking a box. But when it comes time to choose, many students are unsure of the best option. 

Generally speaking, waiving your right to view your letters of recommendation is ideal. While you can retain the right to view them, many admissions officers consider waiving the right as more honest. This article explains why, so continue reading to learn more!


What Does It Mean When You Waive The Right To View Your Letters Of Recommendation?

As you move through the application process, you’ll ask various individuals in your personal and professional life for letters of recommendation. Waiving your right to view your letters of recommendation does precisely that: you cannot view these letters. 

Writers of these documents, whether they’re your teacher, mentor, or counselor, usually highlight your strengths, accomplishments, and attitude toward education. In addition, they might mention your potential contributions to the school in question.

In most cases, the document writer will submit the letter through the student’s application platform. Students rarely submit their own letters of recommendation, so they don’t get the opportunity to read them. 

If you check the box to waive your right to view these letters, you will never get your hands on them. However, if you select the opposing box retaining this right, you can review the letters after your writer finishes them. 


To Waive Or Not To Waive

According to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), students have the right to view their personal files, which include their recommendation letters. However, while this act gives them the option to view their files, they have the option to waive this right. 

As mentioned, it’s usually best to waive your right to view your letters of recommendation, as it’s generally viewed as a confident and trustworthy approach. However, while this is often the better choice, it might not be the ideal option for every student. 

Choosing to Waive The Right

If you’re comfortable doing so, it’s usually better to waive your right to view your letters of recommendation. Doing so shows confidence and ease in your relationships, signifying trust in your letter writer. This shows the admissions officer you’re confident in the contents of that letter instead of insecure about what it might contain. 

On top of that, letter writers can be more candid and open when they’re aware the information they provide is confidential. So, by waiving this right, you can create a strong first impression with the admissions committee.

Ideally, there shouldn’t be any stress surrounding the contents of your letters, as you get to personally select the recommenders. When choosing letter writers, carefully select individuals who can vouch for your strengths, accomplishments, attitude toward education, and potential contributions to your school. In essence, you’ll want someone who can give you a glowing letter of recommendation, so choose thoughtfully!

Choosing Not To Waive The Right

Although many recommend waiving your right to review these letters, it isn’t the best choice for everyone. For example, if you feel anxious or stressed regarding the contents of the letters, you might feel better having access to them. 

By viewing the letters and their contents, you can prepare for your upcoming interview. If the writer included criticism, you have the opportunity to prepare for it and use it constructively. In addition, you can correct any factual mistakes the writer may unintentionally make. 

So, for some soon-to-be students, choosing to retain their rights might be the better option. If you’re on the fence regarding this right, we recommend discussing it with someone you know and trust. This could be an advisor, counselor, teacher, current graduate student, or someone else offering input you can trust. 

Overwhelmed And Not Sure Where To Start? Contact Fortuna Admissions Today!

The admissions process can be daunting, especially when you’re further along in your schooling career. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of questions, information requests, and steps in the process, we can help. 

Our expert team of coaches has experience working as gatekeepers in prestigious business schools nationwide, including Harvard Business School, Yale SOM, and Stanford GSB. They have the know-how necessary to help you craft a well-rounded profile, ensuring that you put your best foot forward and giving you the best chance at securing your admission. Ready to get started? Contact us to get started with a free consultation at Fortuna Admissions today!


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