About This Guide
Students at the University of Michigan are among the brightest and most competitive students in the nation. Upon graduation many of them will secure employment with coveted organizations while others will continue their studies at prestigious institutions of higher learning. The ability of UM students and graduates to market themselves successfully and competitively is linked, in part, to the efforts of UM faculty and staff who support their application processes by writing reference letters on their behalf. For some students, possessing a high quality reference letter may be an essential factor in the admission to a school of their choice.
To facilitate the collection and transmittal of reference letters, The Career Center offers a Reference Letter Service for housing letters for all UM students and graduates. Letters may be forwarded to schools and employers at the file holder’s request. As the official repository of reference letters for all UM students and graduates, we receive numerous inquiries from faculty, Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), and staff members in regard to legal and ethical issues surrounding reference letter writing and transmittal. Our sustained relationships with graduate and professional schools’ admissions officers and recruiters keep us informed about what these parties expect to read in reference letters. Our consultations with UM General Counsel provide the legal and ethical parameters that should be observed in crafting high quality letters.
These guidelines were written by The Career Center and reviewed by the Office of General Counsel. The Career Center is a unit in the Division of Student Affairs. The publisher’s written permission is required to reproduce or transmit all or part of these guidelines. ©1992, revised 2005, 2007, and 2010.
The Regents of the University of Michigan
Mark J. Bernstein, Julia Donovan Darlow, Laurence B. Deitch, Shauna Ryder Diggs, Denise Ilitch, Andrea Fischer Newman, Andrew C. Richner, Katherine E. White, Mary Sue Coleman, ex officio.
The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.