Letters of Rec and Your House File

Filing and Requesting Letters of Recommendation:
Letters of recommendation can be kept on file for you by the House and then dispatched to organizations or individuals whom you specify. 

You can ask a professor, teaching fellow, supervisor, or mentor for such a recommendation at any time. You are strongly advised to ask for letters before potential recommenders forget details or anecdotes that could make their letters more effective. 

In the future, these letters can serve you in many ways: they can be distributed on their own for a particular application; they can be a resource for fellowships, pre-med, or pre-law tutors, who draw on these letters when preparing composite dean's letters (see below); and, upon request, they can be sent back to recommenders to be tailored for a specific application.

Questions? Contact Linda Matarazzo (Assistant to the Resident Dean) at matarazz@fas.harvard.edu.

Placing Letters of Recommendation on File:
In order to have a letter stored on file simply complete the waiver below and give it, along with the accompanying instructions, to your recommender.
Waiver for Individual Letter of Recommendation (PDF)

Instructions to the recommender are included at the bottom of the form. A completed Waiver for Individual Letter of Recommendation must accompany all letters sent to the House for storage in your permanent folder. Copies of a letter of recommendation will not be sent out from your permanent folder unless this completed form is filed with it. 

Waiver forms allow you to specify due dates for letters. If you are requesting a letter for a time-sensitive application, write in a date that comes before the letter is actually needed; this will leave time to sort out any complications before your application is late. If you are requesting a general letter, write in a date that is approximately one month away.

Distributing Letters on File:
Copies of letters can be sent by mail or fax to institutions that you designate, but they cannot be given to you under any circumstances if you waived your right to see them. (See the Assistant to the Resident Dean about options when an application requires that all materials be mailed together.) Current students should give the Assistant to the Resident Dean stamped and addressed envelopes along with a note indicating the letters to be copied and mailed or faxed. Alumni should e-mail the Assistant to the Resident Dean to indicate recommendations to be copied and mailed or faxed. Plan in advance for the distribution of letters of recommendation because last-minute requests will be fulfilled only when time permits.

Dean's Letters:
Waiver for Preparation of Dean's Letter (PDF): Please fill out this form and return it to the Resident Dean’s Office. Preparation of a dean's letter for a fellowship, medical school, or law school application will not begin until this form is received. A dean's letter is a composite letter (also called a House letter) that draws on individual letters of recommendation in your permanent folder. You will receive e-mail notification from the Assistant to the Resident Dean when application packets are completed and mailed.

For more information about the House's committees and their specific application procedures, visit their websites: Kirkland Pre-Med, Kirkland Pre-Law, and Kirkland Fellowships.