Admissions Talks: Recommendations for Recommendations

Admissions Talks: Recommendations for Recommendations

A Word from Deb Driscoll, PhD and post-Master’s DNP Recruiter

Regardless of which program you are applying to, the Admissions Committee is looking for your recommenders to speak to your ability to be academically successful in a rigorous graduate program. 

If you are applying to one of our doctoral programs, then recommenders should be able to speak to your clinical skills (for DNP and DNP/PhD programs) and/or your research interest and experience (for PhD and DNP/PhD programs). Academic recommenders should speak to your commitment to academic success, commitment to nursing, and any additional experience you have had with them outside the classroom (like research, mission trips, or conversations about your future career). Specifically addressing your critical thinking skills, commitment to excellence, communication skills and ability to work in a team environment is helpful.

On the other hand, professional recommenders should focus on your clinical experience and any leadership experiences you may have had. Other helpful items for them to touch on are your interest in nursing (or alternatively, to translate your professional skillset into as skillset that will contribute to you being a good nurse), your critical thinking skills and communication skills, your commitment to excellence, and ability to work in a team environment. 

How to send recommendation requests through NursingCAS

  • In NursingCAS you will see where you enter the email addresses of your recommenders in the “Program Materials” quadrant under the ‘References’ Tab. 
  • NursingCAS will send a link to them at the email address you enter. They need to open the link they receive in the email, which will drive them to create an account in NursingCAS. Once they have created an account, they will be able to access your recommendation request. After they have completed the form (Likert scale), they can then upload their letter of support. 
  • When they hit the ‘submit’ button, the recommendation will go electronically back to NursingCAS and be uploaded into your application there.  Recommenders don’t mail anything anywhere – it’s all online. 

Tell recommenders that Google Chrome seems to work best with NursingCAS. You can watch the status of your recommendation letters in NursingCAS. A status of “accepted” means they have clicked on the link to create an account, “submitted” means that your recommender has completed the form and letter and it has been uploaded to your application in NursingCAS. Keep pestering your recommenders until you see their recommendation has been “submitted!”  You can resend the recommendation request email by going into your NursingCAS account and under the “Program Materials” quadrant, click on the program and then choose the reference tab.  Next to the reference name is a pencil for edit.  Click and you will see a prompt to resend.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, contact the Admissions Office at [email protected]. We also have some great informational videos up on our website to give you more specific information about each individual program.

Stay safe and well!

Join our email list so you can keep up with the latest opportunities to connect and learn more

Admissions Talks is a series by the admissions team at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Hopkins nurses are full partners and leaders in the health care process, and their role in patient care is unmatched. The admissions team is here to offer advice and guidance on how to be a competitive applicant. Admissions & Financial Aid at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Read more:


Deb Driscoll is Assistant Director of Recruitment for the DNP Executive Track, DNP/MBA, PhD, and DNP/PhD programs at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She has worked in higher education since 2008, and at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing since 2017. Born in Valencia, Spain, she is lawyer by education and a member of the Maryland State Bar Association. She believes strongly in the personal connection that is the hallmark of the ‘Johns Hopkins Experience’ and encourages nurses interested in Johns Hopkins School of Nursing graduate programs to reach out to her directly at 410-502-4132, [email protected], on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Stay Up-To-Date

Get updates on the latest stories, from hot topics, to faculty research, alumni profiles, and more.

Ways to subscribe