We ask all students to get at least one recommendation from a faculty member who has had them in a class or an academic adviser in their College or department who has worked with them.  Some students do not understand the difference between an academic reference and a character reference.  EA will not accept recommendations from non-academic persons and the reference should be from a Penn State employee unless the applicant is a recent transfer.  Examples of unacceptable referees include, but are not limited to, the following:  a high school teacher or coach; an employer, either downtown or on campus; a rabbi or member of the clergy; a Penn State athletic coach; a sorority adviser; a relative or friend.  Applicants should have their recommendations from faculty or academic advisers with Penn State access IDs.  If the student has transferred from another college or university we will allow them to send us a recommendation from their former institution, and we can attach it to the application as a PDF document.  If a student is missing a recommendation please contact the Education Abroad office

Some programs may require a recommendation from a language professor.  If that is the case, the applicant must get a reference from a language instructor with whom they have had a class.  Without the language reference, the application will be considered incomplete.  If you find that the student has a reference, but not from a language instructor, we will have to put the application on hold until the student can submit one.  Heritage speakers have different requirements for IES and CIEE programs.  Notify EA staff if you have a case like this.

If you encounter a negative or concerning recommendation, please contact for appropriate follow-up measures.