Why would you need a Credentials File?
If you are applying to many employment opportunities, or graduate or professional schools, you may find a credentials portfolio service to be very beneficial. A credentials portfolio service empowers you to collect, store and deliver your most important documents in a portfolio that you manage. In the credentials portfolio you can store a multitude of files including: letters of recommendation, your resume or curriculum vitae, writing samples, dissertation abstracts, student evaluations, important certificates, and other relevant documents. UMass Amherst Career Services offers both our paper-based credentials service, and Dossier - an electronic (online) service provided by Interfolio and described in OPTION 2 below.
Option 1 - Paper Credentials Service
Frequently Asked Questions
|What is a credential file?||A typical credential file contains 3-5 evaluations and an unofficial transcript. All material submitted to your file becomes the property of the UMass Amherst.|
|How do I start a credential file?||You may download a Credentials Registration Form or pick up copies in the Career Services office.|
|How long can I keep evaluations on file?||Your credential file may be kept active with us for up to five years after you graduate. After that we will contact you with your options, which include transferring your file to Interfolio a commercial online credentials service providing similar management of evaluations.|
|Who should write an evaluation for me? How?||
Choose faculty or supervisors with whom you have a strong relationship and who are familiar with your work. You should discuss the purpose of your letter with them in advance and supply them with copies of the approved UMass Amherst Evaluation Form. If they wish, they may use their own letterhead. Decide which, if any, of your letters you want confidential and sign the waiver on the form. You should discuss your confidentiality preferences with writers, keeping in mind your performance in their class, your relationship, and the fact that most graduate schools require confidential letters.
In the future, recommenders may replace their evaluations, but not amend them. If they wish to substitute new evaluations for old ones, they must show proof that they have properly notified you.
|What is in my file? Can I see it?||File contents may be checked during business hours at Career Services, at our main lobby or by telephone, but you may read only non-confidential material. To ensure the confidentiality of the material and for your own protection, we will not read material over the telephone.|
|Should transcripts be in my file?||
Yes, but it is up to you to bring one (or have one sent) to our office. The transcript sent as part of your file will always be unofficial and cannot be sent alone. It is your responsibility to keep the copy in your file up-to-date.
For information on how to send an official transcript to a graduate or professional school, go to the Registrars Web site.
|Will I be notified when my file is complete?||It is your responsibility to stay informed about the contents of your file. You can contact our office to do so. When your file is requested it will be sent as is and must contain at least one evaluation. It is also your responsibility to know which evaluations are active (i.e. being sent out) and which are inactive (i.e. not being sent out).|
|How do I have my credentials sent out?||
You may request, in writing with a Credentials Request Form, that we send your credentials to an employer or graduate school. Include your full name, year of graduation, and social security number in your request, along with the complete address of the recipient. Include any special envelopes or forms required.
If an employer or graduate school requests your credentials by writing directly to the Career Services Office, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that we obtain your signature before sending your credentials. A completed, signed registration form on file authorizes Career Services to send your materials in this case.
You may request a copy of your file, which is called an "Unofficial Student Copy" and will be clearly marked as such. You will receive a copy of all non-confidential material in your file at the time of your written request.
|What are the fees for sending my file?||You may have a certain number of copies mailed free: ten if you have or are completing a bachelor's degree and fifteen if you have or are completing a graduate degree. After reaching that number the charge is $2.00 per mailing if you have or are completing a bachelor's degree and $3.00 per mailing if you have or are completing a graduate degree. Payment must accompany your request; checks should be made payable to the University of Massachusetts.|
Can I phone in my request in an emergency?
How fast are requests processed?
|All requests must be in writing and are processed in order of receipt; there is typically a 3-5 (working) day processing period. Faxed requests are acceptable but will still be taken in order of receipt and will be processed only if you have free mailings available. We cannot deliver or fax files, and you may not hand carry your file to addressees even if they are at UMass Amherst.|
|Can I have my file sent via Federal Express, Express Mail, etc.?||With prior approval from the Credentials Office you may use Federal Express or another agency EXCEPT the U.S. Post Office Express Mail. You must provide acceptable prepayment and complete any forms required. Because the regulations for these services vary, you should check with us before making arrangements. Your request will still be processed in order of receipt.|
Electronic Credentials Service
What you need to do
Should you wish to move your current paper based credentials file, you must request that it be transferred to Interfolio by first setting up an account with Interfolio, then completing and submitting the Credentials File Transfer Consent Form to Career Services.
To start the transfer process, set-up a Dossier account at Interfolio, then complete the Credentials File Transfer Consent Form and mail or email it to Career Services. Our address is on the form. Once your file has been transferred, all future requests you make for distribution of your credentials must go through Interfolio.
If You Do NOT Have a Credentials File at CAREER SERVICES
If you have not established a credentials file at UMass Amherst Career Services and wish to create one of your own, you will need to set-up an account directly with Interfolio. Career Services will not be upgrading its credentials service on-campus.
How much does the off-campus service cost?
Individual Interfolio accounts can be set-up for as little as $19 for one year, $39.90 for three years, and $57 for five years (including three free first-class USPS mailings). Delivery options range from $6.00 (electronic) to $33 (overnight hardcopy domestic). This delivery pricing information is current as of March 1, 2015. UMass Amherst Career Services is not responsible for any fees associated with document transfers or new Interfolio files.
To submit a letter to an Interfolio account, first set up a FREE account with Interfolio. If you are writing a letter of recommendation for a student with an Interfolio account, refer to Interfolio's Help for Letter Writers page that tells you step-by-step how to submit letters to Interfolio (both electronically or by mail) once you've received a request. It also informs you how to create an Interfolio Free Writer Account so you can view pending letters, view uploaded letters, replace your loaded letters, how to replace uploaded letters submitted by mail, and how to add your electronic signature.