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Habital

Questions about Referees

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OMSAS states that "At least 1 referee should be a non-academic/character referee." Can anyone elaborate on what "non-academic" means? I was planning on asking the Student Life Advisor at my CÉGEP for a letter of reference (basically, he was in charge of non-academic student activities), but would he count as academic since he is affiliated to a school? 

Also, if I'm applying to the French stream, does it matter if my reference letters are written in English?

Thanks in advance!

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Can you have 3 references that are non-academic and from the same organization? I have been working for the past year and have built amazing relationships at the organization. Would it look bad if all three of them were from the same place? (from different people of course) 

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I would think at the very least one of your references should be academic. Personally, I would not select 3 non-academic references, they will likely overlap each other and there will be a gap in leaving out an important attribute - your scholarly, academic abilities as this is an essential part of the package. Does it matter that your referees come from the same organization? Absolutely not in my opinion; so long as each referee is credible and does not merely give a laundry list of adjectives and validates by examples the credentials attributed to you.

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At least for Ottawa, I don't think not having an academic reference matters (they already know you have a great GPA..). As an accepted candidate, all of my references were non-academic but varied (one from work, one from volunteering and one from my pastor with whom I do benevolent work). The important thing is that they know you well and together bring different aspects of your abilities that will most accurately depict who you are.

IMO Each reference should have some degree of overlap (for consistency of your inherent qualities) but they shouldn't all tell the same story. Non academic and from the same organization should be fine. However, interview your three people to get the gist of what they would say (what qualities and event of you stood out the most) and you'll see if all three are unique enough.

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Id have to agree with the deer, although picking from the same place is convenient it can feel redundant/overlap. Try to get people that know totally different aspects of your life. Then again its not graded against others so it dosent really matter.. Keep in mind your referees dont only submit a letter, they fill in a survey from 1-5, asking if they would recommend you, language proficiency, etc. So the choice of individual is very important.

Mr Duck

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On 9/7/2017 at 11:16 AM, rupchatt said:

whens the deadline for submitting references? oct 1 or dec1?

I was wondering this too. On the website it says Oct. 2 as the "official" deadline, but I have heard cases in past years when referees sent the letters around December..

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The deadline for the University of Ottawa is December 1st. If your referees require more time, they may send their references by mail to OMSAS. Ottawa needs to receive those references by December 1st though, so make sure that they plan out the time required for mailing, and processing by OMSAS; I'd say at least a week before the deadline. If this is your case, when you input your referee's information on OMSAS, do not input their email. This will automatically allow you to download the printable version of the reference, which you can then send to your referee to fill out and mail. 

If not, the online version of the references are due for October 2nd along with the rest of your OMSAS application. 

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29 minutes ago, Habital said:

The deadline for the University of Ottawa is December 1st. If your referees require more time, they may send their references by mail to OMSAS. Ottawa needs to receive those references by December 1st though, so make sure that they plan out the time required for mailing, and processing by OMSAS; I'd say at least a week before the deadline. If this is your case, when you input your referee's information on OMSAS, do not input their email. This will automatically allow you to download the printable version of the reference, which you can then send to your referee to fill out and mail. 

If not, the online version of the references are due for October 2nd along with the rest of your OMSAS application. 

Where can I find this info? I looked on their website but couldn't find it

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They "highly advise" that you send in references through OMSAS by October 2nd. They prefer to receive those online references, as it is easier for everyone. However, their official deadline is December 1st, and you won't be penalized if your reference is sent through the mail.

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I doubt it, as you will need to submit your online OMSAS application for review by October 2nd. However, it is my first time completing the application, so I would check with admissions if I were you since I'm not certain. 

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