What is a dossier service?
A dossier service (also called “credentials service”) is an online platform that provides secure storage of confidential documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation and writing samples. This page provides resources for students exploring the use of a dossier service platform.
Why do students use a dossier service?
Students and alumni use a dossier service primarily for the following purposes:
- applications for faculty positions
- applications for other opportunites at colleges and universities
- applications for teaching positions at independent schools
- applications to graduate school or professional schools (such as medical school or law school)
- applications to fellowships and post-doctoral positions
How does a dossier service work?
Students will create an account and set up a profile with an online dossier service provider. They will be able to upload documents such as writing samples, transcripts, curriculum vitae and any other relevant application materials. They will also be able to request confidential letters of recommendation via the system. Using the system, they will be able to schedule delivery of their application materials to search committees, graduate schools, etc.
Dossier service providers
Interfolio is an online dossier service platform that provides storage for confidential letters of recommendation and application materials. Account holders can schedule deliveries of their application materials electronically or by mail. Account holders can also search for jobs, grants and fellowships. Learn more about their service and their pricing on their website. They also have an extensive online support page to assist users with technical questions.
ChronicleVitae is a service provided by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Targeted towards faculty and administrators, the service offers free career management tools including a dossier service, community networking, job postings and resources. The service is free to use. Their detailed FAQ page provides resources on setting up an account and requesting confidential letters of recommendation.
Center for Student Advising dossier support for undergraduate students
Dossiers for undergraduate students and alumni of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are administered by the Center for Student Advising. Questions about dossiers offered through the Center for Student Advising should be directed to 212-854-8711. The forms required for confidential letters of recommendation for graduate school and fellowship applications can be found here. Students applying to law school or medical school should contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising at 212-854-8722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Dossier Service File Holders
Prior to 2007, the Center for Career Education managed an in-house dossier service. As of 2007, all dossier accounts need to be set up with an external dossier service provider, such as Interfolio. Columbia University, Center for Career Education does not retain record nor guarantee that it can access Interfolio files on behalf of students/alums.
Files from 2003 and earlier are no longer retained by Columbia University, Center for Career Education and are not accessible. You can try contacting your academic department to see if they kept a copy of your recommendation letters.