instructions for recommendation writers
Letters of Recommendation
Guidelines for students and alumni - includes links for faculty
What Is Interfolio?
Boston College offers credential file services through Interfolio, Inc. Interfolio is an online credentials management service that is available to Boston College students and alumni. Interfolio works to make credential files - and letters of recommendation - easier for both the writer and the student. It is the cheapest and easiest way for a Ph.D. to send academic credentials to a search committee, an undergraduate to send application materials to graduate and professional schools, or a teacher to apply for a teaching position.
Interfolio's service allows individuals to create and self-manage a portfolio of their credentials, including confidential and non-confidential letters of recommendation. Interfolio's credentials management is ideal for storing a life's work, and almost any type of information may be included. For example:
- Letters of recommendation
- Curriculum Vitae
- Writing samples
- Dissertation abstract(s)
- Supervising teacher evaluations
- Student and peer evaluations
- Transcripts from any number of degrees
- Anything else needed to complete an application
Interfolio portfolios are available to students and writers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world. Completing job or school applications takes minutes instead of days and costs less than a trip to a copy store and post office. Best of all, there are many benefits to writers as well - and Interfolio works with recommendation writers at all levels of technical proficiency.
Assistance with Interfolio
You can contact Interfolio, Inc. directly by either phone or email at:
Submitting recommendations through Interfolio makes the process of sending letters fast and easy. Some of the benefits of using Interfolio are:
- Multiple Submission Methods
Interfolio accepts letters electronically, at their website, or on paper (by mail or fax). As a recommendation writer, it is completely up to you how you will send the letter.
- Online storage of recommendations
All of your recommendations are securely stored online - you'll never again waste time looking for an old letter of recommendation.
- Original document storage
Interfolio stores the original document you upload, which you may download at any time. When you need to update a letter of recommendation, simply download your original, make changes, and re-submit it.
- Complete security and confidentiality
Any letters that are selected as "confidential" by the file holder are secured by numerous layers of encryption and security so your comments will remain confidential - forever.
- Increased fraud protection
Verification phone calls and emails are sent intermittently to crosscheck delivered letters and reduce students' ability to create fraudulent letters.
- Expansive support for electronic document formats
Interfolio accepts more than 50 types of documents for automatic conversion. Some of the major types are:
|Microsoft Word||Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML or HTM)|
|Text File (TXT)||Microsoft Excel|
|Rich Text File (RTF)||Microsoft PowerPoint|
|WordPerfect||Images: GIF, JPG, PNG, TIF|
Student Access to Closed Credentials
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Interfolio maintains the confidentiality of all closed letters of recommendation stored by our file holders. Interfolio follows strict guidelines for receiving and mailing all closed letters of recommendation to ensure that the confidentiality of letters of recommendation is preserved. Confidential letters may be included in deliveries to potential schools or employers; but the account holder may not view the letter at any point.
How Interfolio works
Interfolio works with thousands of recommendation writers from around the world. They have created unique services specifically designed to make writing recommendations fast and easy. Your letters may be sent in the manner with which you are most comfortable - either electronically or on paper. You may choose to submit your letters:
- Electronically via the Internet
- On paper via the postal system
How to submit letters electronically via the Internet:
You will need a free Interfolio recommendation writer account to submit letters electronically. Creating your account is simple: it takes less than two minutes and is completely free.
- If you do not yet have an account, click on this link to create an account.
Once you have a free recommendation writer account, follow these steps to add a letter:
- Log in to your account.
- Click "Add Documents."
- Type in the 6-character document identification code located on the Confidential Rights Waiver you should have received from the individual who has asked you to write a recommendation. (If you do not have this code, contact that individual.) This cover sheet will tell you whether or not the individual has waived or retained his/her right to view and read your letter.
- Verify the individual for whom you are about to upload a letter.
- Click the button labeled "Browse" and select the recommendation letter you have written from your computer.
- The letter will upload, and, in approximately 2 minutes, Interfolio will have converted it to an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Please click on the converted file once it has appeared in your account to verify its accuracy. If there is a problem, please contact Interfolio customer support at firstname.lastname@example.org so they may assist you.
- We recommend that you provide an electronic signature, once, to Interfolio. You can then attach this electronic signature to any recommendations you submit to Interfolio. See instructions below.
How to send letters on paper
1. Print your letter (please use letterhead if it is available).
2. Sign your letter.
3. Submit your letter and the Confidential Rights Waiver you should have received from the individual who has asked you to write a recommendation. (If you do not have this waiver form, contact that individual.) Please do not use staples, tape, or paper clips. Submit materials to:
If by Fedex and if by mail:
Expedited Processing Center
1900 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Adding electronic letterhead or an electronic signature to a letter of recommendation
So that your uploaded letter of recommendation is as professional and effective as possible, we recommend using either an electronic letterhead, an electronic signature, or both on all your uploaded letters.
How do I obtain Electronic Letterhead?
Electronic letterhead for Boston College is available from the links below. This letterhead is a Microsoft Word template on which you may type your letter of recommendation.
- You will need to type over the "office name" at the top of the letterhead, and the office address, phone, fax, email and web address at the bottom.
- We recommend that, once you have completed and saved your document in Microsoft Word, you convert the document to Acrobat Reader format. As the letterhead contains specific fonts that may not be in use at Interfolio, the final document that the Interfolio system creates from your Word document may contain fonts that have been substituted for the original fonts.
- On a PC, right-click on each link below in turn, choose "Save Target As," then save each document to your computer.
- On a Mac, hold down the Control key, click on each link below in turn, choose "Download link file as" and save the document to your computer.
- Boston College electronic letterhead template
- Complete letterhead guidelines
- Letterhead in PDF format
The PDF version is provided for comparison purposes, so you can see exactly what the letterhead should look like. If your computer does not have the set of Scala fonts, Microsoft Word will substitute fonts, causing the template to look different from the PDF version.
How do I Add an Electronic Signature?
Currently, Interfolio offers instructions on how to add electronic signatures using Microsoft Word. Interfolio offers Fax2Sig--a free service that will convert your signature to an image file.
- To utilize this service, log into your account. Click the Fax2Sig link on your dashboard, and print the unique form that is generated. You will need Adobe Acrobat 3.0 or higher to view and print this document.
- Follow the steps on the form and fax it, without a cover sheet, to the Interfolio Fax2Sig Processing Center at 202-403-3783. Your signature will be available for download from your dashboard within 24 hours. (The standard processing time is usually less than 15 minutes, but at busy times, the process may take up to 24 hours.)
- Log into your account and find the link on your dashboard under "Fax2Sig." PC users right-click and Mac users option-click on "Download your electronic signature." Choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As", and save the file to your desktop or elsewhere on your personal computer.
- Once you have your electronic signature, open the Microsoft Word Document that contains your letter of recommendation.
- Scroll through the document to your signature block. You will need 2-3 lines of white space between your final salutation (e.g. "Sincerely") and your name and title.
- Click below your final salutation and above your name and title to place your cursor in the 2-3 lines of space.
- In Microsoft Word's Menu Bar, click the following menus: "Insert" -> "Picture" -> "From File." Do not cut and paste the image into the file, as this can result in images that will not display on other systems.
- Locate your scanned signature on your computer's hard drive and click on it. Then, click the "insert" button. This will place your scanned signature in the document, at which time it will become an included element of the document: the signature will remain in your document.
- Save the Word document
- Upload your letter using the normal Interfolio procedure for uploading documents electronically.
Two minutes after you've uploaded your letter to Interfolio, remember to look at the document to ensure that it was processed correctly.