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How old can a letter of recommendation be for FNP school?


Hello guys!

I am currently one year away from graduating with my BSN. I have my mind set on pursuing my DNP and becoming a family nurse practitioner. Hence, I have already started looking at the application process and the items that would make me more competitive. I noticed most programs ask for letters of recommendation, preferably from academic sources. Two of my professors, who I considerably admire and have gotten close to, are planning to retire this year. I asked them both for recommendation letters and both have written amazing and thoughtful ones highlighting my academic success and nursing skills. However, will I even be able to use these recommendation letters? None of the programs I looked into have a limit regarding how old the letters can be. However, I'm not planning to go into a DNP program immediately after graduating with my BSN since I want to get practice. So would it be appropriate if I use them 4-5 years from now in my application?

Have you asked your references if they would be accessible four or five years from now for updated letters? They might be willing to sign newly edited/dated letters. Otherwise, I would be inclined to use the same letters they originally gave you.

Have to be careful here.. many programs will specify that letters must be no older than X years(months). And there are programs that require a reference be sent (or emailed) a specific form once references are identified. Will require that the references be completed in the provided format and be submitted directly to the program. They do not take letters that have been supplied directly to the candidate, so be sure that you have contingency plans for any required form or time frame that may be required.

Best of luck.

Neuro Guy NP, DNP, PhD, APRN

Specializes in Vascular Neurology and Neurocritical Care. Has 9 years experience.

Not only that, but since you'll have RN experience, many programs will want a letter from a manager or supervisor or someone who can attest to your clinical acumen. It is good to have someone like an old professor who can attest to your academic ability, but the further out from school you get, the less weight the letter may have depending on the school's outlook. The school may think that the professor has not been updated on how you've done since school and give more weight to the letters from current managers or supervisors or others in a position to evaluate you currently.