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I am currently a master's student in the process of applying for an internship, and the program requires that I submit two signed reference letters. Unlike typical graduate school applications, where recommenders send their letters directly to the institution to maintain confidentiality, this particular internship application asks that I, the applicant, upload the letters myself. This has led to some concern on my part, as I'm unsure whether my professors will be comfortable providing the letters in this manner. I tried to reach out to the organization providing the internship program but wasn't able to get any response.

Would it be possible to assure my professors by offering them the option to upload the letters themselves? I'm considering sharing my application portal password with them, so they can handle the submission if they wish to keep the content of the letters confidential. This way, they can maintain control over the process, and I can fulfill the application's requirements. Could this be an appropriate solution?

Thanks for the help!

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    Ask your professors first, before borrowing trouble. If they express concern, then yes, I think providing them with a way to do the uploads themselves (or e-mail them to the program) might make sense.
    – keshlam
    Aug 7, 2023 at 23:06
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    If the references are going to benefit you, they will be favourable. In which case, I dont see why anyone would refuse to give them to you. Aug 8, 2023 at 5:22
  • This is very common and typically it is fine, I've given probably a 100 reference letters to students and to team members for programs/interships and I always asssumed it's a public endorsement that is: they can send the letter with their CV whenever they send it for all I know and I'm fine with that. I think it depends on culture, can you clarify where you are located? Aug 12, 2023 at 15:18

2 Answers 2

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This has led to some concern on my part, as I'm unsure whether my professors will be comfortable providing the letters in this manner.

The short, simple answer to this is: ask them

Only then you will know if they are OK with that. If not, then you can proceed to explain that it's a requirement from the company, and take further steps accordingly.

Would it be possible to assure my professors by offering them the option to upload the letters themselves? I'm considering sharing my application portal password with them

Yes, this could be a solution, although now there are aspects like password/account security, a safe way of sharing the password, etc..

An alternative I can think of is, join your professor(s) in a Zoom call, share screen and show them the process of uploading the letter they send you.

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  • I don't see how your Zoom call solution is supposed to work. If the professor mails OP the recommendation letter, then OP can read it. If the professor wants to prevent OP from reading it, they have to upload it themselves which requires the professor to get the account details.
    – quarague
    Aug 8, 2023 at 9:56
  • @quarague feel free to post an answer if you have another solution. If that's the case and the Profs don't want OP to read the letter at all, options are minimal or if they exist have their concerns (like sharing the password). Another possibility is that the Profs don't want OP to "tamper" with the letters, but in that case sharing them as PDF could work better than an editable text... the point is we don't know if this is an issue (yet) so the best course of action, as suggested, is to speak with them and see how to proceed
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 8, 2023 at 16:55
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...this particular internship application asks that I, the applicant, upload the letters myself.

Then, you can try to explain that requirement to your professor, and see how they respond.

Would it be possible to assure my professors by offering them the option to upload the letters themselves?

Yes, if the company's website has such option.

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