Letters of Recommendation

Q: How do I send my references (letters of recommendation)?

A: References should come directly from the evaluator to OTCAS, unless otherwise instructed by your designated OT program. Evaluators can only submit References to OTCAS electronically.

Q: What information do I need from my reference (evaluator)?

A: Before you enter your Reference’s contact information on the application, you are advised to contact the evaluator,

  1. To confirm that they are willing to write your reference, and
  2. To obtain the evaluator’s e-mail address in order for them to submit your reference electronically.

Your Reference will be provided with extensive instructions for submitting recommendations to OTCAS.

Q: What information should I send to my electronic References?

A: Please contact your evaluators before you enter your electronic References’ information in your References page and tell them to expect an e-mail from OTCAS with instructions for the online form. OTCAS will send this e-mail to each of your References within 24 hours of when you save their information within your OTCAS application, regardless of whether you have Submitted your final application.

  1. Please let your evaluator know that the e-mail will come from OTCAS Messenger (references@otcas.org)
  2. Advise that they take steps to ensure that they will be able to receive this e-mail by adding references@otcas.org to their allowed (accepted) e-mail address list and by monitoring junk-mail/spam folders in case the e-mail is redirected to such a folder.
  3. Ask that your evaluator send you an email (or verbal) confirmation when they receive the e-mail from OTCAS.
  4. If your Reference does not receive an automatic e-mail from OTCAS within 24 hours of your saving their information on your References page, please have them send an e-mail to otcasinfo@otcas.org so that OTCAS staff can assist them.

Q: What do I do if I want to change one of my references to a different person?

A: To change a reference, you may delete the Reference as long as the status is still listed as “Requested” or “Accepted”. Once a Reference (evaluator) has submitted an electronic letter of reference it will be listed as “Complete”, and you can no longer delete the Reference from your application. If you wish to replace one of your References with a new individual, you must delete the original entry and add the new one. (Do NOT edit an existing Reference to reflect a new person).

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 evaluator will write it knowing that you will not have access to it. If you check, “I do NOT waive my right to access this recommendation,” the evaluator will write it knowing that you can 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 do not have access to any of your references through the OTCAS portal, even if you have not waived your right to access them. You must contact the reference (evaluator) directly to view the letters they have written for you. OTCAS 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 reference?

A: No.  OTCAS is no longer accepting committee letters of reference.  If you wish to submit a committee letter, please send this documentation directly to your designation(s).

Q: What will happen if my references are suspected to be fraudulent or to contain false information?

A: OTCAS will not verify a Reference’s identity. If an OT program suspects an evaluation is falsified, it is the OT program’s responsibility to contact the applicant or evaluator to investigate. OTCAS will share any suspected cases of falsified evaluations reported by an OT program with the applicant and the applicant’s other designated programs without comment regarding appropriate action. OTCAS will not attempt to verify the accuracy of the school investigation results.

Q: Do I have to wait for my references to be received at OTCAS before I can Submit my application?

A: No. You can and should e-submit your OTCAS application as soon as you are confident that you have filled out all of the sections completely and accurately. OTCAS will accept any of your required documentation at any point during the application cycle, whether you have submitted your application or not.

Q: Can my letters of reference be faxed or emailed to OTCAS?

A: NO. OTCAS does not accept any faxed or emailed references under any circumstances. References can only be received through the secure OTCAS Reference portal. Any references that are faxed or emailed to OTCAS will not be attached to your application and will not be kept by OTCAS.

Q: Can I edit or delete a Reference after I have Submitted my application?

A: Yes. You are able to delete a Reference listing as long as the letter of reference is not yet marked as “Completed” on your References page. You cannot edit a Reference listing directly, but you may delete the listing and re-enter it with the correct information, as long as the letter is not yet completed.

Q: What do I do if my electronic-format Reference did not receive the automatic email?

A: The email sent to your electronic-format References is automatically generated and may be occasionally be misidentified as spam or junk-mail by the email service used by your Reference (evaluator). References entered into your application as electronic-format should receive an email from OTCAS within 24 hours after you saved the individual’s email address on your application. If a reference has not received the OTCAS email within this time frame, follow these steps:

  1. Confirm that you correctly entered your Reference’s email address in your online application.
  2. Ask your Reference to check any junk-mail or spam folders to which their email service may have automatically routed the email.
  3. If the e-mail has still not been located, request that your Reference add references@otcas.org to their “Safe” list, or that they temporarily remove spam or junk-mail filters from their e-mail service.
  4. If your Reference still has not received the e-mail, contact OTCAS customer service at OTCASinfo@OTCAS.org or at (617) 612–2860 and request to have the automated e-mail resent. OTCAS will only send the login email to the email address on file in your OTCAS application.
  5. If the email has still not been received, ask for an alternate email address for the Reference, delete the listing from your online application and re-enter it with the new email address.


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