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What are my rights to inspect my letters of recommendation and what does "waiving your right" mean?

What are my rights to inspect my letters of recommendation and what does "waiving your right" mean?

If you are unsure as to how to answer this application question:

"Do you wish to waive your right to examine this letter of recommendation?"

    Yes          No

  • If you check 'Yes':  You will not be able to view the letters submitted on your behalf, even if you are admitted and enroll at the University of Maryland, College Park. 
  • If you check 'No':   If you are admitted and enroll at the University of Maryland, your letters will become part of your student record, and you will have the right to inspect that record (including your letters) after you enroll.   Please note that you only have this right if you enroll at the University of Maryland.   If you do not enroll, you do not have the right to view your letters.
  • Your recommendation providers and your program of interest can see whether you have chosen to waive your right to inspect your recommendations.

What does this question mean?

When you waive your right to view a specific recommendation, our system notifies your recommendation providers of your decision. As they submit a recommendation on your behalf, it may be useful for them to know if you will possibly have access to this recommendation in the future. Also, your graduate program of interest can see if you have waived this right, which may be useful for them as they review your application.

So, should I waive my right?

Only you can decide whether or not to waive your right to inspect letters of recommendation. If you are uncertain, you may wish to ask the advice of people you know and trust (e.g. faculty, current graduate students, etc.).  Many websites also discuss the pros and cons, and can be found through an online query.

Why do we ask this question in the first place? 

To put it simply, the University is required to offer this choice. The U.S. Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives all enrolled students the right to inspect their student records, and your application will become a part of this student record if you are admitted and enroll on our campus.

Contact Information

The Graduate School, University of Maryland

2123 Lee Building
7809 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742
301-405-3644
gradschool@umd.edu