All evaluations are submitted to PSYCAS electronically. In this section, you may enter up to a maximum of three (3) references. PSYCAS is not responsible for verifying an evaluator’s identity. If a discrepancy is found, PSYCAS reserves the right to contact the applicant or evaluator to investigate. PSYCAS reserves the right to share the discrepancy without comment to all PSYCAS programs.
IMPORTANT: Evaluations (references) completed through PSYCAS are sent to all of the schools you designate in your PSYCAS application. Letters submitted through PSYCAS cannot be customized to any one school or program.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Research Graduate Psychology Program Requirements
Determine what requirements, if any, your graduate psychology programs have regarding references’ roles or relationship to you BEFORE listing ANY evaluators on your PSYCAS application. Many programs have strict guidelines for this, and once a reference is completed on the PSYCAS application, it can NOT be removed or replaced. That references from family members are generally frowned upon by admissions offices. Please contact your programs to determine their requirements regarding the identify of your references.
Prepare Your Evaluators
Once you have chosen your references, be certain to inform them of the process and that they will be filling out the reference electronically. Obtain their preferred e-mail address and make sure they are monitoring their e-mail inbox for your reference request e-mail.
UNDERSTAND: You are asked to submit a requested due date for your evaluation letters. You should consult with your evaluators/reviewers before submitting the proposed date to ensure that they will have ample time to respond to your request.
WHAT INFORMATION DO MY REFERENCES FILL OUT?
There are three parts to a PSYCAS reference:
- “My Profile” where references fill out their contact information in case your program would like to get in touch with them. They can also correct any errors to their name or title you may have made when entering their information.
- A ratings portion in which your reference evaluates you on a scale of 1–5 in regards to several different criteria.
- An open letter of recommendation which may be uploaded in .PDF, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format. Please note the file size limit for letters is 5 MB. Because all letters of reference are sent to each school the applicant applies to, evaluators should be vague in their form of address (Using “to whom it may concern,” etc.) and avoid referring to any particular graduate psychology school or program in their letter.
HOW TO SUBMIT A LETTER OF REFERENCE
1. On the “Evaluations” page, click the blue “Create Evaluation Request” button to add a reference.
2. Enter their full name and e-mail address into the system, and assign them a deadline by which you would like this reference completed. We encourage applicants to select a date which is at least four weeks in advance of your earliest deadline. You also must write them a personal message, which can be brief.
3. Select your waiver decision (please see more information on waivers below) and check the permissions release boxes.
4. ONCE YOU SAVE THIS INFORMATION, AN E-MAIL IS IMMEDIATELY SENT TO THE REFERENCE at the e-mail address you provided. Please advise your references to monitor their junk e-mail and spam folders for messages from “email@example.com,” subject heading “Evaluation Request Submitted,” as these e-mails are automated and therefore sometimes filtered as spam. Confirm with your references that they have received the notification.
5. The e-mail provides the reference with a link to the Evaluator Portal where they can create an account and set up their own username and password. The reference will log into this site and see your name under the heading “Open Evaluations.” Your reference will click either “ACCEPT” or “DECLINE” to accept or decline your request. If they select decline, you will receive an email notification.
6. Once your reference has accepted your request, the status of their letter on your application will appear as “ACCEPTED.” On the evaluator’s side, your name will become a clickable link. Upon clicking on your name, they will be asked to complete a ratings grid, and upload an open letter of reference in .PDF, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format. Please note the file size limit for letters is 5 MB.
7. Once they have completed their reference, they must click “SUBMIT EVALUATION” to send it to PSYCAS. This action occurs immediately, and the reference will show up as “completed” on your application with a complete date. Your reference can also click “Preview Evaluation” to create a .pdf copy which they can save for their records.
8. Monitor your evaluations’ statuses in the Status Menu of your application. Follow up with any references which still read as “Requested” or “Accepted.”
REMEMBER: NO PAPER LETTERS OR FORMS SHOULD BE MAILED TO PSYCAS. References must be completed entirely online.
WAIVING YOUR RIGHTS VS. NOT WAIVING YOUR RIGHTS
When you enter a reference, you are asked if you wish to “WAIVE” or “NOT TO WAIVE” your right to view the reference. This waiver is not a creation of PSYCAS, but is part of U.S. Federal Law and must be filled out for any letter of reference, including those you may have obtained to attend your undergraduate institution.
Please review the information below before making your decision. Once a decision is made, it can NOT be changed.
“YES, I Waive My Right”
Selecting “YES” indicates to the school that your evaluator wrote their letter of recommendation with the understanding that you would never be allowed to view it. If you select this option, you will never see the content of your letter. However, programs may view this type of letter as a more accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications.
“NO, I Do Not Waive My Right”
Selecting “NO” indicates to the school that your evaluator wrote their reference with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Please note, however, that checking this option will NOT allow you to view your reference via PSYCAS. If you have not waived the right to view your reference, you may ask your reference for a copy of their recommendation, or, once you matriculate into a graduate psychology program, you may ask to view the reference in their offices. However, programs may view this type of letter as a less accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor their application for evaluation receipt, even after you have submitted your application. PSYCAS will NOT notify applicants concerning missing evaluations. Applicants must follow up with any references in a “Requested” or “Accepted” status and ensure all reference materials are completed to avoid delays in processing their application. You may view the status of your evaluations at any time in the Check Status menu.
Q: What is the difference between an evaluation, letter of reference, and a letter of recommendation?
A: Nothing. They are all the same thing.
Q: Can I submit more than three references via PSYCAS?
A: NO. You may not submit more than three references via PSYCAS, and PSYCAS cannot accept any additional or substitute letters. Please send any additional letters directly to your programs.
Q: Can I have different evaluations sent to individual programs?
A: NO. Each evaluation is sent to all programs that to which you applied.
Q: Who should write my evaluations?
A: PSYCAS will not determine if you have met the evaluation requirements for a particular program. Therefore, please review programs’ individual websites to determine the number and type(s) of evaluators required by each institution for which you wish to be considered for admission.
Q: How can I select a different person as a reference than those I initially selected?
A: If the status is still “Requested” or “Accepted,” you may delete that individual and add the new reference. If the status is “Complete,” changes cannot be made.
Q: Can I send evaluations from a Letter Service?
A: Yes, college and university letter services may submit evaluations to PSYCAS, but it must be done through the electronic evaluation portal. If you are submitting evaluations through a letter service, you are strongly encouraged to have the original author(s) of the evaluations complete the rating of attributes.
Please note that while PSYCAS will accept the rating of attributes from a college official who is a designee for the college or university’s letter service office, applicants should also check with the individual programs for which they plan to apply to confirm that evaluations completed by a third-party will be accepted.
Q: Can evaluations be sent using Virtual Evals?
A: Only evaluations completed through the PSYCAS online portal can be submitted electronically; therefore, PSYCAS will not be able to accept an electronic Virtual Eval.
Q: What do I do if I want to change the person who is sending the reference or edit the information I entered?
A: Even after you submit your application, you may edit, delete, or replace references whose status is still listed as “Requested” or “Accepted.” Once a reference is “Complete,” you may not make changes to that reference, regardless as to whether or not you’ve submitted your application.
Q: How do I know my reference received the e-mail request?
A: Reference e-mail notifications are sent immediately once you save the reference’s information into the system. Please advise your reference to monitor their junk e-mail and spam folders for messages from “firstname.lastname@example.org,” subject heading “Evaluation Request Submitted” as these e-mails are automated and therefore sometimes filtered as spam. If your reference has not received their request within 24 hours, click the pencil icon to the right of their name on your PSYCAS application, and then click the “Resend This Evaluation Request” button at the bottom of the page.
Q: My reference can’t log into the Evaluator Portal. What do I do?
A: If the reference continues to experience difficulty, they should contact PSYCAS customer service directly at 617-612-2088 or email@example.com so that we may assist them.
Q: How do I change a reference’s e-mail address?
A: To change the e-mail address of a reference, please log into your PSYCAS application and click the pencil icon to the right of their name on your PSYCAS application, and then edit the required information. Click the “Resend This Evaluation Request” button at the bottom of the page to resend the request to the correct address.
Q: Can evaluations be co-signed by a Teaching Assistant and a Faculty member?
A: Yes, an evaluation from a Teaching Assistant must be co-signed or include the name and contact information of a Faculty member within the letter.
Q: Once I submit an evaluation request, can I change my waiver selection?
A: No. Your waiver decision on the PSYCAS application serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding.
Q: How do I know if PSYCAS received my evaluations?
A: You can monitor the status of your reference at any time by returning to the “Evaluators” section of the application. Each reference has a “STATUS” bar underneath. References which we have received will have a green “Status: Completed” flag and include A COMPLETE DATE. Since the references are completed electronically, these updates occur in real-time. Therefore, as soon as your reference clicks “submit” on the reference website, it also shows up on your application. If your reference does not have a complete date, then we have not received it.
Q: Can I e-submit my application before my references are received by PSYCAS?
A: Yes. Once you have successfully filled out your application, you can e-submit it to PSYCAS at any time.
Q: Can I view my letters of reference?
A: No. Even if you have not waived your right to view the reference, you still cannot access the reference via PSYCAS. If you have not waived the right to view your reference, this means that you may ask your reference for a copy of their recommendation, or, once you matriculate into a graduate psychology program, you may view the reference in their offices.
Q: Can PSYCAS forward my letters of reference to me, my references, or schools not affiliated with PSYCAS?
A: NO. As per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), PSYCAS may not release letters of reference to anyone other than your designated schools, including other schools or the applicant themselves.