Letters of Recommendation

These are the current guidelines (September 2018)

Effective October 1, 2010 undergraduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at James Madison University are directed to use the following procedures when requesting letters of recommendation from faculty members for applications to graduate-level professional preparation programs in audiology or speech-language pathology.  These guidelines are in place for all faculty members unless he/she specifies otherwise.
  • Faculty members in CSD are willing to take requests for letters of recommendation for graduate school until November 1st.  You should definitely make requests in person; faculty are doing this as a professional courtesy to you, so email and even phone requests are inappropriate except in exceptional circumstances.  
    • Each faculty member will write recommendations for up to 15 students
  • Students are discouraged from asking for a letter of recommendation from a faculty member in whose course the student earned a grade of B- or lower.
  • Students should provide the following materials in the packet:
    • Letter of Recommendation Cover Sheet
      • Please organize programs by deadline date; earliest due to latest due
    • Student Recommendation Profile
    • Copy of unofficial transcript
    • Personal photo
    • Stamped, preaddressed (including the JMU CSD Department's return address), self-adhesive (self-sealing) envelopes for each program listed on the Cover Sheet
    • Recommendation forms from each institution (if required)
    • See individual faculty for additional required materials
  • All letters are sent directly to the program.  Faculty members will not return letters to students.  If a program requests that students collect all materials and submit in a single packet then the student is responsible for contacting those programs and informing them that letters will be arriving directly from the faculty member serving as reference.
  • Electronic letter/form submission may not be possible.  The student is responsible for contacting each of the programs to which he/she is applying to inform them that a hard-copy letter will be sent directly to the program.  If this is unacceptable by the program, the student is responsible for determining an alternative method for submitting a non-electronic letter of recommendation.
  • The only exception to this rule includes electronic submission of references through the Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS).  Students are responsible for informing faculty members of the process and that they should be monitoring their e-mail inbox for your reference letter request email from CSDCAS. Visit https://portal.csdcas.org/ for more information on the CSDCAS letters of reference process. 
  • Below is a list of programs that are not on CSDCAS and have declined hard-copy letters of recommendation for which the CSD faculty will complete an online submission:
      • Towson University
      • Arizona State University
    • Students should discuss with faculty member whether they are willing to complete online submissions for other programs 
  • Many programs will ask the student to check a box which specifies whether the student waives his/her rights to access the letter of recommendation.  Students should consider the message they are sending when the student is unwilling to waive their right of access.  Be advised that some faculty members will not write a letter for a student who does not waive his/her rights to access.
  • Materials should be provided to the faculty member at least 4 weeks prior to the application deadline. 
  • Submit relevant materials to the faculty member for ALL programs to which you are applying at the same time (i.e., in a single packet). Faculty members are unlikely to accept materials in piece-meal fashion.
  • You should write legibly and make it as easy as possible for the person serving as reference.  This is not a time that you wish to cause frustration for someone who is writing you a letter.
  • Please give careful thought regarding the programs to which you are applying, as well as about the individuals whom you intend to ask for letters.  You are interested in having letters from those who can add value to your application rather than simply repeat what is obvious from other elements of the application, for example, grades in your transcripts, GRE scores.
  • If you have a deadline approaching, a very gentle reminder is appropriate.  As mentioned previously, this is not a time when you want to upset someone who is volunteering time to you.  Harassing emails and phone calls are not effective and are not positive ways to facilitate the process.
  • This process needs to be adhered to due to the number of students in the CSD major and the number of programs to which students typically apply.  Writing letters of recommendation is a huge task for faculty, and this process is an attempt to make it more manageable.
Appearing on JMU letterhead stationery, a form will be used by all CSD faculty members in providing letters of recommendation for students applying to graduate-level programs.  Students do not need to provide this form; faculty members should already have it.

If you have questions, you should see the undergrad peer advisor or senior advisor.