Friday, November 9, 2012

Letters of Recommendation: Do's and Don'ts

Letters of recommendation are an important component of the HNC application so don't underestimate the potential of a recommendation letter to positively (or negatively) affect your application.  Below are some recommendation letter tips:
  • Two recommendations are required but a maximum of three may be submitted. 
  • No more than one recommendation should be written by a Chinese language instructor.  Applicants often mistakenly believe that the admissions committee prefers recommendations from Chinese language teachers, but the CAL Chinese Proficiency Test already provides an accurate indicator of your Chinese language level.  Instead, the admissions committee would prefer to read a letter that addresses another aspect of your academic or professional career. 
  • Recommenders that are well-known in their field are impressive, but not if they don't know you well and can only speak to your accomplishments in vague terms.  It's best to ask professors, advisers, and work supervisors who are very familiar with your academic and professional work. 
  • It's preferred for recommenders to submit their recommendation letters online.  You will submit their contact information as part of the online application.  An email is then automatically generated and sent to the recommender with instructions and a link to the online recommendation form.  If your recommender prefers not to submit the letter online, we are also happy to accept hard copies mailed to our admissions office: Hopkins-Nanjing Center Office of International Admissions, Room 406, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036.
As always, please feel free to contact us if you or your recommenders have any questions at all about the application process!