Credential File Policies and Procedures
What is a credential file?
A credential file consists of up to six reference letters confidential (closed) or non confidential (open) and are housed in the Career Center. It is essential that you have a letter of recommendation from your supervising teacher and your college supervisor. Faculty members and others who have observed you in a teaching related role are your best references (practica, camp counselor, tutoring, etc.)
When should I start my credential file?
Begin establishing your credential file early in the school year you graduate. Start requesting references early in your senior year but wait on requesting references from your Cooperating Teacher and Supervising Teacher until they’ve had ample opportunities to observe you in your full-time student teaching. Providing all references with copies of your resume will aid them in writing a better reference for you.
What services are provided?
Your credential file will be sent by the Career Center to support application materials for jobs with various school systems.
Before making credential file requests, it is very important that you clarify with school systems which reference forms they want you to include in your application materials. A growing number of school systems want candidates to use the reference forms they post on their websites. Others might want Berry Credential files in lieu of their forms or in addition to them. Contact the teacher recruitment departments for all respective school systems to ensure you are sending them the proper references and to confirm what materials you must provide for a complete application. It is also your responsibility after submitting materials to confirm that your application is complete.
Who is eligible to use a credential file?
Only Berry students and alumni actively working toward teacher certification or who are certified are eligible for the credential files service.
What is the retention policy?
Credential files will be kept for a period of five years after graduation. After that time, the file will be destroyed.
What fees are required?
There is no fee to students and alumni to establish and utilize the Credential Files service.
How do I set up a credential file?
Complete the following forms and send them to the Career Center.
Include name, date of graduation, and whether you want a “closed” or “open” file. Sign, date and give this form to the reference writer. Reference forms require both your signature and the reference writer's signature before they can be mailed out.
Reference Form Guidelines
Legislation for Letters of Recommendation:
In 1974, the Buckley Amendment was passed into law, stating that all reference letters written after December 1974 are assumed to be non-confidential (“open” to you), unless you waive your right of access to these letters and elect to have a “closed” file. The option to waive your right of access to your confidential letters of recommendation is contained on each Recommendation Form. You will need to decide whether you’ve decided to have a “closed” or “open” file. All references must either be closed or open not a combination of both.
Why would anyone waive their right to read their own reference letters?
Some school district officials feel that a confidential recommendation letter is a more honest appraisal of a job applicant, particularly when it comes to weaknesses, and therefore may be given more credibility by a prospective employer. However, based on your circumstances and your comfort level, you must decide for yourself what works best for you. Please feel free to consult with the Career Center and/or your faculty members on this decision.
Filing the Reference Form
Reference forms should be given to individuals who know you well enough to comment on your strengths and skills. BE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR REFERENCE WRITERS RETURN THE FORMS DIRECTLY TO THE CAREER CENTER to the address listed on the form. Your reference writers can type their references on a separate sheet of paper or write directly on the form. However, typewritten letters must be accompanied by the completed Reference Form or they are invalid. You must fill in your information at the top including the waiver and other information and you and the reference writer must both sign the reference form before it is complete. Incomplete references will not be processed.
Provide each “off-campus” reference writer with a fully addressed and stamped full sized envelope for returning your references to the Career Center. Provide both your on-campus and off-campus references with a copy of your resume to assist them with writing the most positive reference possible.
When can my credential file be mailed to employers?
You can request that your credential file be mailed out to potential employers after it is complete. This means that the Career Center must have received at least 3 references (maximum of 6) before the file will be sent out. It is your responsibility to ensure that your credential file is complete so you must follow-up with the Career Center to confirm that your materials have been received.
How do I request that my file be mailed to a school system?
We can send your file only by written request. Because of the confidential nature of your Credential File, we do not process requests without your YOUR permission. This means that your credentials cannot be mailed at the request of a friend, family member, or employer.
You may submit your written request to the Career Center by e-mail but in order for us to process your request, you must provide the last four digits of your social security number in the body of your e-mail to help verify identity.
Always provide the following information with your Credential File Requests:
- 4 digits of social security number
- full name (including maiden name)
- current address and phone number
- graduation date
- school systems’ complete address including zip code
How do I update my Credential File?
- Submit a written request to remove old references and to allow for new reference
- Remove old references after 3 years of teaching and replace them with up-to-date professional references
- Keep your email address current. Most contact from our office will be through your email address
- Develop your resume and have it critiqued by a career counselor (by appointment or email). Make appointments for job search tasks such as cover letters, networking, and interviewing, and other career related topics
- To schedule an appointment, please call the Career Center
- Check the Career Center website for other “Education related resources” to aid your job search efforts
Career Center Contact Information
P.0. Box 495005
Mt. Berry, GA 30149
Phone: 706-236-2292 | Fax: 706-238-7819
All credential file requests and correspondence should be directed to Beckie Jarrell at firstname.lastname@example.org