Skills Verification Letter Request
Academic department staff may receive requests from alumni for a letter verifying various skills acquired during their degree program. This may occur when they’re working with an immigration attorney on a permanent residency petition. Please follow the following guidance, approved by the Office of General Counsel (OGC) and the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).
Identify appropriate department representative
Identify the person in your department who has the authority to write and sign a letter verifying the skills obtained during the alum’s degree program (the director of graduate studies or academic dean, for example)
Department representative sends the following to firstname.lastname@example.org
All items must be attached in one email.
- Skills Verification Form
- One printout of each official course description/syllabus that refers to the skill to be verified. Must include course number and be from the year in which the course was taken.
- Copy of the transcript. Courses taken as an audit, Pass/Fail, or which a grade of B minus or below was earned do not qualify for skills verification.
- A copy of the template/draft provided by attorney
ISSO reviews Skills Verification documents
Keep in mind that:
- Skills not mentioned in the course description/syllabus will not be verified. No further attestations regarding verification of skills can be issued other than those listed and submitted on the Skills Verification Form.
- It is not appropriate nor necessary for Columbia to define, provide context or opine on the application of an acquired skill or skills.
For example, although it might be verified that "data visualization" was taught in a specific class, it would be inappropriate for Columbia to provide context or an opinion on the ultimate utility of the specific skill, as in "designed rich data visualization to communicate complex ideas to customers or company leaders." (emphasis added)
ISSO will contact the department representative
Within 5-7 business days, the ISSO will provide guidance for the completion of the skills verification letter. Your letter:
- will certify that the alum successfully completed specific course(s)
- will certify that the topics/skills to be verified are mentioned in the course description/syllabus
- must adhere to University-approved specific text and language (that ISSO will provide)
- must be prepared on academic department letterhead and signed by the academic department representative