Waiver of Access for Recommendation Letters:
Montclair High School’s complies with the Federal Rights and Privacy Act. At the bottom of this page is the text of our notification (which is also in the Program Planning Guide each year). For more detailed information on this act, please go to:
All students from Montclair High School who apply to colleges or other post-secondary institutions are asked to complete our Secondary School Report Form. We have chosen to use the form that is used by the Common Application. All students are asked to complete this form whether they are applying to colleges that use the Common Application or not. Students and parents may view this form at:
A copy of the completed form is sent along with the transcript, the letter of recommendation and the school profile to each college or program which the student applies.
There is a request on the form for students to decide whether they would like to waive their right of access to their counselor letter of recommendation:
IMPORTANT PRIVACY NOTICE: Under the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), you have access to this form and all other recommendations and supporting documents submitted by you and on your behalf unless you waive your right to access below, regardless of the institution to which it is sent:
______Yes, I do waive my right to access, and I understand I will never see this form or any other recommendations submitted by me or on my behalf.
_______No, I do not waive my right to access, and I may someday choose to see this form or any other recommendations or supporting documents submitted by me or on my behalf.
Signature _____________________________ Date___________________
Factors to Consider in Deciding to Retain Access
• A potential recommender may choose not to write a letter for you if you retain your right of access.
• If you retain access, you need to be prepared to explain your reasons for your choice during interview(s).
• An employer or a member of an admissions committee at a school receiving the letter might tentatively draw one or more of the following conclusions:
- The evaluation may be less candid as the writer knew that the student would see it. As a result, less weight may be assigned to such letters.
- The student wanted to discuss the letter with the recommender/evaluator before it was put in final draft.
- The student feels a moral obligation to exercise his/her civil rights. You will have an idea of the information schools/employers have and therefore can prepare for interviews accordingly.
• It may relieve stress and anxiety to know exactly what has been said.
• Factual mistakes in the letter can be corrected, if the writer chooses to make those corrections.
• If you conclude that the letter is unfavorable, you can choose not to use the letter. By reading an evaluation, you have a chance of learning from criticism.
Factors to Consider in Deciding to Waive Access
• If your recommender knows you well and has said he/she can write a letter in support of your candidacy, the chances are slight that inaccuracies or unfair statements will be presented in the letter.
• Certain subjective judgments or supporting comments of benefit to the student may not be included in a recommendation letter that is not confidential.
• A member of an admissions committee might tentatively draw one or more of the following conclusion:
• That the evaluation may be more candid if the writer knew that the student would not see it.
• As a result, more weight may be assigned to such letters.
• The student has nothing to conceal.
• The student did not feel it was necessary to review the letter before it was sent.
• The student does not feel a moral obligation to exercise his/her civil rights in this way.
Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. & 1232g; 34 CRF Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”
Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
Parents or eligible students have the right to request that school correct records, which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student than has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR & 99.31):
School officials with legitimate educational interest;
Other schools to which a student is transferring;
Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
For additional information or technical assistance, you may call (202) 260-3887 (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339. On the other hand, you may contact us at the following address: Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
Page Updated: Feb 26, 2013