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Center for Experiential Learning

Credential Files

A credential file is a compilation of documents that support students’/alumni’s professional qualifications to be used during job and graduate school application processes. It includes an up-to-date résumé and at least three letters of reference. Additional documents may be included, such as unofficial co-curricular transcripts and copies of certifications. Academic transcripts are not permitted in credential files.

The Center for Experiential Learning maintains and distributes credential files for a period of 10 years from the year of graduation. They are only sent out at students’/alumni’s requests.

Credential file components must be typed and have a neat, professional appearance. The following documents are required of every credential file before it can be sent out:


This will serve as a cover or identification page to credential file materials.  Résumés must contain no misspellings or typographical errors and should be updated on a regular basis.

It is highly recommended that students/alumni receive feedback on their résumés from a staff member in the Center for Experiential Learning. Résumés need to reflect all relevant and up-to-date information and therefore should be updated at least every three years, especially when there are any major changes in employment positions or education levels.

Letters of Reference

Students/alumni are required to arrange for their files to have a minimum of three professional letters of reference. The reference cover sheet, provided by the Center for Experiential Learning, must accompany each letter, and be completely filled out, including signatures of the reference writer and the student/alumnus.

Students/alumni must sign the bottom of the form indicating whether or not they waive their right to access each letter. This will inform the writer and anyone who receives the credential file, whether the student/alumnus can or cannot view the contents of each letter. Reference writers can type their comments on the form and/or use an additional sheet if necessary as long as they sign both the bottom of the reference cover sheet and the attached letter. Do not write on the back of the reference form.

It is recommended that those who waive rights to access their letters, request that each reference writer send the letter directly to the Center for Experiential Learning in a sealed envelope. If such students/alumni wish to hand deliver the letter, it must be in a sealed envelope with the writer’s signature across the seal.

There is no limit to the number of letters one can have in his/her file, but it is highly encouraged to limit the number of letters sent to an employer or graduate school to three to five letters if no specific application instructions are given. Otherwise, follow application instructions exactly. If a credential file contains more than the number of letters requested by an employer or graduate school, the student/alumnus is responsible for specifying which letters to include.

Authorization to Release Information

By signing this form, students/alumni give the Center for Experiential Learning permission to send out their credential file. The Center for Experiential Learning must have a signed original of this form in order to process credential file requests due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Register of References

This form lists current and permanent contact information of the students/alumni, along with the names of their references.

Notice of Receipt of Reference (Optional)

Students can fill out this form if they wish to receive notification that a letter of reference has been returned to the Center for Experiential Learning.

Additional Credentials (Optional)

Additional items such as a co-curricular transcript and/or proof of certification may be included.

Your first ten credential files will be sent out at no charge but must be used within a year of your date of graduation.  After the first ten the fee for processing is $5.00 for each file sent out. Please contact Career Services at (315) 279-5274 or at [email protected] if you have any questions.