Q: How do I enter and request an electronic reference?
A: If your evaluators will submit an electronic letter of reference, you should enter only their e-mail addresses and leave the mailing address fields blank. Inform the evaluators to expect an e-mail from PTCAS Messenger (firstname.lastname@example.org) with instructions and login information for an online reference form. PTCAS will send this e-mail to your evaluators as soon as you save their information on your PTCAS application, regardless of whether you have e-submitted your final application. Individuals submitting references should:
Q: How do I enter and request a paper reference?
A: If your evaluator chooses to submit a hard copy, you must complete the mailing address fields and leave the e-mail address blank on your application. Once the information is saved, print the PTCAS Reference Form (PDF) by clicking the orange “Print” icon next to the evaluator’s name on your list of references. Each PTCAS reference form is bar-coded and unique to the applicant and evaluator, so be sure to print the correct form for each reference. Your evaluator should complete the paper PTCAS reference form and attach it to a letter of reference on official institutional or business letterhead. The completed form and letter must be sent to PTCAS in a single envelope.
Q: What do I do if I want to change one of my references to a different person?
A: You may delete a reference as long as the status is still listed as “New” or “In Progress”. Once an electronic or paper letter of referenceis received from the evaluator, you can no longer delete that reference from your application. If you wish to replace one of your evaluators with a new individual, delete the original entry and add the new one. (Do NOT edit an existing reference to reflect a new person).
Q: What if I need to list more than 4 references?
A: PTCAS only allows applicants to list 4 references on the application. If you need to send additional references, please e-mail email@example.com and request a blank paper reference form. Additional references over four must be sent directly to the program and NOT to PTCAS.
Q: What does it mean to waive my right to access the reference?
A: If you check, “I waive my right to access this reference,” the person writing the reference will know you will not have access to it.
If you check, “I do NOT waive my right to access this recommendation,” the person writing the reference will know that you can later ask to read his/her comments. Programs may interpret references as more honest and candid if you waive your right to see the letters. If you retain access, you may be asked to explain your reasons for your choice during interview(s).
Q: I did not waive my access to the reference. How can I obtain a copy of the reference?
A: You must contact the reference (evaluator) directly to view the letters they have written for you. PTCAS will not provide you with a copy of any references, regardless of whether you have waived access to it.
Q: Can I change my waiver to view my reference?
A: No. Once you choose to waive or not waive your right to view your completed reference, you cannot change your selection. Make sure that you are satisfied with your decision before you save the information for your references.
Q: Can I send a committee letter of recommendation?
A: Yes. A committee letter of recommendation needs to be submitted as a paper reference rather than an electronic one. If the committee letter of recommendation is a compilation of several individuals and contains one recommendation request form and one letter, it will be considered as one recommendation. The individual writing the recommendation will need to fill out the evaluation grid on the PTCAS Reference Form.
Q: Do I have to wait for my references to be received at PTCAS before I can e-submit my application?
A: No. You can and should e-submit your PTCAS application as soon as you are confident that you have filled it out completely and accurately. You are always able to check the status of your documents in the “Status > References” section on the right-hand side of your application.
Q: Can my letters of reference be faxed or emailed to PTCAS?
A: NO. PTCAS does not accept any faxed or emailed references under any circumstances.
Q: Can I DELETE a reference after I e-submit my application?
Yes. You are able to delete a reference listing as long as it is not yet marked as “Completed” (received) on your references page.
Q: Can I EDIT a reference after I e-submit my application?
A: You cannot edit a reference, but you may delete the entry and re-enter it as a new entry on your application with the correct information, as long as PTCAS has not yet received the reference.
Note: The evaluator information is “locked” to the email address for electronic references. Deleting the reference will NOT allow you to correct information on electronic references unless you use a different e-mail address. The evaluator will be able to correct the information prior to submitting their reference.
Q: Can I change a reference from electronic to paper, or vice versa?
A: If one of your references was originally entered as an electronic-format recommendation and would like to submit a paper-format letter instead, or vice versa, you must delete the electronic-format listing and re-add the evaluator’s information as a paper-format recommendation.
Q: What do I do if my electronic-format reference did not receive the automatic email?
A: If a reference has not received the PTCAS email within fifteen minutes after you saved the individual’s email address on your application, follow these steps:
- Confirm that you correctly entered your evaluator’s email address on your application
- Ask your evaluator to check any junk-mail or spam folders
- Request that your evaluator add firstname.lastname@example.org to their “Safe” list, or temporarily remove spam or junk-mail filters from their e-mail service
If your evaluator still has not received the e-mail, ask him/her to send an email to email@example.com with the subject “Reference Login Request”. PTCAS will only send the login message to the email address on file in your PTCAS application.
If the email has still not been received, you should
- ask for an alternate email address for the evaluator,
- delete the reference from your application,
- re-enter it with the new email address, or
- designate this evaluator as a paper-format reference.