School of Social Policy & Practice Letter of Recommendation Instructions

Thank you for writing a letter of recommendation for one of our applicants! We consider the letters of recommendation to be an important part of our application process and seriously consider your thoughts and opinions when evaluating applications. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Admissions Office at apply@sp2.upenn.edu or 215.746.1934.

Program-Specific Questions for Recommenders

In order to help us better evaluate this applicant, please address the following questions in your letter of reference and include any additional comments that will be helpful in evaluating the applicant’s potential for success in our graduate program.

  1. Do you recommend the applicant for an advanced standing course of study? If so, please specify in  your letter. (This question only applies if the applicant is enrolled in a BSW program or has a BSW degree and has applied for the Advanced Standing MSW program.)
  2. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  3. What is the applicant’s greatest strength?
  4. What responsibilities did the applicant handle most effectively?
  5. What problems did the applicant have in performing his/her duties?
  6. How would you characterize the applicant’s intellectual capacity and level of maturity?
  7. How would you characterize the applicant’s ability to communicate and work effectively with others?
  8. How would you characterize the applicant’s ability to be flexible and understand differences in people?
  9. Are you aware of any qualities that would adversely affect the applicant’s performance in a graduate social work program?
  1. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  2. What is your opinion of the applicant’s career potential in the social policy arena?
  3. Please describe the applicant’s intellectual strengths, including the applicant’s critical thinking and analytical skills.
  4. Please describe the applicant’s written and oral communication skills.
  5. Please describe the applicant’s effectiveness in working with others and sensitivity to the values of people with different backgrounds and from different cultures.
  1. Address how long and in what capacity you have known the applicant.
  2. Describe the applicant’s strengths in terms of skills and defining personal characteristics.
  3. Provide us with your opinion of the applicant’s career potential for leadership and management.
  1. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  2. How do you view the applicant’s academic and/or professional abilities?
  3. Does the applicant demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking and analysis?
  1. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
  2. How do you view the applicant’s academic and/or professional abilities?
  3. Please address the applicant’s clinical skills.
  4. Does the applicant demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking?

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the frequently asked questions below for helpful information about submitting your recommendation.

Please be aware that all letters of recommendation must be received before we are able to review an application. Please see below for our application deadlines.

Master’s Programs:
All three of our master’s programs (MSW, MSSP, and NPL) accept applications on a rolling basis; the applications will remain open until the entering class is full. The priority deadlines are as follows:

  • Advanced Standing MSW: January 15th
  • Full-Time & Part-Time MSW: January 25th
  • MSSP: February 1st
  • NPL: February 1st

Doctoral Programs:
Our doctoral programs (PhD and DSW) have set deadlines for receipt of application materials:

  • PhD: January 15th
  • DSW: February 15th

Once you have written your letter of recommendation, please log back into the application system via the link in the automated email that you received. This email should have a subject of “Please submit your recommendation for APPLICANT NAME” and be from an email address lor_help@collegenet.com.

A few lines above the “Electronic Signature and Agreement” section, you should see a button that says “Choose File.” Click this button to browse your computer and select the file. Click “Open” to allow the file to upload. You will be able to preview the file before final submission. For full functionality of this page, please be sure that your pop-up blocker is disabled.

Please be sure that you have properly saved your letter of recommendation. The system accepts recommendation in the following formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .txt.

If you are having technical difficulties, please contact the application system’s Help Desk. A link to the Help Desk is available at the bottom of the page.

At the bottom of the recommendation page, you should see three buttons: “Save,” “Save & Exit,” and “Submit.” You must be sure to click “Submit.”  Merely saving the recommendation does not send it to the Admissions Office.

Once you submit your recommendation, you and the applicant should receive an email confirming the submission.

Submitting Letters of Recommendation for Dual Degree Applicants

Students applying to dual degree programs must submit two applications, one for each program. Please note that recommenders also have to submit two letters of recommendation, one for each application. Although your letter may be the same for both programs, you must submit your letter for each application.

Submitting Letters of Recommendation Offline

Please note that the School of Social Policy & Practice strongly prefers that recommenders submit letters of recommendation online through the admissions system. If, however, you are UNABLE to submit an online recommendation, please see further instructions here.

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