LOR's, Personal Statements, and Interviewing


Letters of Recommendation (LORs) are an important part of any graduate level program. Building relationships early during your time as an undergraduate is valuable! LORs allow admissions committees to get a better picture of your personal qualities and capabilities. Students should check with specific programs on the type and quantity of letters required. The standard is 3-5 letters. Most highly recommend (if not require) a letter(s) from science faculty members. Personal references are not accepted. If interested in obtaining a Committee Letter of Recommendation, visit UTA's HPAC Page


Suggested Steps for asking for Letters 

  1. Start building relationships with your professor. (Starting freshman year!) This can include participating in class, asking questions, going to office hours, etc. This can also happen virtually via email, keeping your camera on during lecture, going to office hours just to introduce yourself and/or ask questions. YOU have to make an effort early! 

  2. Research application & letter deadlines and be sure to give the evaluator/letter writer enough notice! I recommend at least 1 month's notice. Since most application cycles for health professional schools begin in May, letters should have been requested by April. For HPAC, letters should be requested in December and followed up with in January. Recently dated letters are preferred over letters from a year ago.

  3. Choose evaluators that KNOW YOU WELL who can attest to your personal qualities. Contact the evaluator via email or in person. Your approach should be kind and professional. Provide enough information to the evaluator such as transcripts, personal statements and/or resume (including volunteering/shadowing experience). Offer to meet with them. A letter should NOT be EXPECTED. The evaluator has the right to decline your request.

  4. If your evaluator has agreed to write a letter, provide instructions on how to send the letter.
    1. Medical, dental and vet only - If you would like the Health Professions Office to send your letters to application services and/or for the HPAC application, provide evaluators this COVER LETTER to send with the letter. Fill out the top section. Delivery instructions are provided on the cover letter. You should also provide them with a copy of the Guideline Handout below and a deadline. Clarify delivery instructions and letter requirements***.

    2. If you are planning to have evaluators send their letters directly to the application service(s) as individual letters, the cover letter is not required. However, you should make sure the evaluator is aware of the process for sending the letter, the letter requirements***, and deadline

    3. ***TMDSAS Letter Requirements 

      All letters of evaluation must include the following criteria in order to be accepted by TMDSAS. Any letters that do not meet these standards will be rejected. 

      1. Be written on official letterhead: personal or professional letterhead
      2. Include the evaluator's contact information: phone number and/or email address) 
      3. Include the evaluator's signature (typed signatures not allowed) 
      4. Include the applicant's name
      5. Letter must be dated. Admissions committees will take the date of the letter into consideration during review, with a strong preference for letters written after May 1, 2023.
      6. Written in English
  5. Follow up when needed. Evaluators are human and can forget! We are very busy so a friendly reminder in person or via email can't hurt. However, do not constantly bug us!

  6. Don't forget to send a thank-you card or email and notify them when accepted!

Guidelines for Letter Writers

This Guideline from AAMC for Letter writers can help evaluators when composing a letter. Even though this guideline focuses on letters for medical school applicants, it can be useful for all pre-health professions.


REQUESTING LETTERS to be sent to TMDSAS, AMCAS, AADSAS, or AACOMAS by the Health Professions Advisor 

This service is available to all alumni and current students regardless if they received an HPAC letter. In order for the Health Professions Advisor to upload a letter packet on your behalf, read the following instructions thoroughly. This does not apply to students using the Individual Letter option.

  1. Check YES to releasing the information to your Health Professions Advisor and/or UTA on your application(s)
  2. Read the letter of evaluation section in the application guide(s) thoroughly.
  3. In the letters section of your application(s), select the HPE Committee Packet or Letter Packet option. Students that received a committee letter should pick the Committee Letter/Packet option if available. (NOTE: For TMDSAS- all students should select the HP Packet option; For AACOMAS & AADSAS- the committee packet must be selected for me to send a packet of letters but they may only count as 1 letter by some schools - verify with school)
    1. If contact information is needed, input Sandy Hobart- sandy.hobart@uta.edu. NOTE: This information must be entered for AACOMAS and AADSAS in order to upload your letters and rights to the letters must be waived
  4. COMPLETE SUBMIT this Recommendation Submission Request Form ONLY IF THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS ADVISOR HAS ALL LETTERS REQUESTED & the LETTERS SECTION ON THE APPLICATION IS COMPLETE.  It is the student's responsibility to verify if the Health Professions Advisor has received all letters and contact evaluators as needed.  
    • All IDs, Letter ID’s, and PINs are required for each application service you are requesting letters be uploaded. 
    • An AMCAS Letter ID is needed for ALL AMCAS requests
    • If submitting to multiple applications, it is preferred to complete 1 submission form when all applications are ready for letters. However, a separate request can be sent for each application service when ready.
    • Any missing/incorrect information on the form WILL cause a delay in the request and/or require re-submission of the form. 
  • Please allow up to 3-5 business days for your request to be completed. ***Letters DO NOT cause a delay in application processing. You can submit your completed application(s) even if letters have not been uploaded.



Most primary and secondary applications to health professional programs require some form of a personal statement and additional essays. There are intended to get a better picture of you as an applicant while also giving you the opportunity to convey your background. There is no such thing as the "perfect" essay as each student's response to prompts should be unique. It is dependent on you and your interests, experiences, characteristics, strengths, and mindset. It never hurts to start preparing early! And yes, it's OBVIOUS when you use AI to write your essays so DON'T DO IT. 


    • TMDSAS Personal Statement: Explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. Include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician (MAX 5000 characters with spaces)
    • TMDSAS Personal Characteristics: A key aspect of holistic review includes the consideration of applicants' attributes within the context of their experiences and academic metrics. Describe any personal qualities, characteristics, and/or lived experiences that could enrich the educational experience of others. (MAX: 5000 characters with spaces) 
    • TMDSAS Unique/Life Circumstances: Briefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your applicants, which have not previously been presented. (MAX 2500 characters with spaces)

    • TMDSAS DO/PhD or MD/PhD: Explain your motivation to seek a MD/PhD or Do/PhD dual degree. Discuss your research interests and careers goals as an applicant to a dual degree program.

    • AMCAS Personal Comments Essay: In this essay address 1. Why have you selected the field of medicine? 2. What motivates you to learn about medicine? 3. What do you want medical schools to know about you that has not been disclosed in other sections of the application? You can also include unique hardships, challenges, and obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuit. (MAX 5300 characters with spaces)

    • AMCAS MD/PhD Essay: State your reasons for pursuing the combined MD/PhD degree. (MAX 3000 characters with spaces)

    • AMCAS Significant Research Experience Essay (for MD/PhD applicants): Specify your research supervisor's name and affiliation, the duration of the experience, the nature of the problem you studied, and your contributions to the research effort. (MAX 10,000 characters with spaces)

    •  AACOMAS Personal Statement: Why do you want to study osteopathic medicine? (Include your understanding of osteopathy and examples from your own experiences) (MAX 5300 characters with spaces)

    • TMDSAS Personal Statement: Explain your motivation to seek a career in dentistry. Discuss your philosophy of the dental profession and indicate your goals relevant to the profession. (MAX 5000 characters including spaces) 
    • TMDSAS Personal Characteristics and Unique/Life Circumstances: same as medical - see above section
    • AADSAS Personal Statement: Brief statement explaining why you want to pursue a dental career. (MAX 4500 characters with spaces)
    • CASPA Personal Statement: Explain why you are interested in being a PA. (MAX 5000 characters with spaces)
    • PharmCAS Personal Essay: Write a personal essay that addresses why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals. (MAX 4500 characters with spaces)
    • PTCAS Personal Essay:  Every person has a background, an identity, interests, or talents which they feel their application would be incomplete without having mentioned. Describe the traits or experiences that make you unique and explain how they will help you be a successful physical therapist. (MAX 4500 characters with spaces)
    • OTCAS Personal Statement: Explain why you selected occupational therapy as a career and how this degree relates to your immediate and ling-term professional goals. We invite you to share how your lived experiences (personal, professional, cultural, etc.) have influenced your interest in pursuing OT. (7500 characters including spaces)
    • TMDSAS Personal Statement: Describe opportunities and challenges (veterinary and non-veterinary related) you have experienced and how these have helped to prepare you to enter the veterinary profession. (MAX 5000 characters including spaces) 
    • TMDSAS Personal Characteristics and Unique/Life Circumstances: same as medical - see above section
    • VMCAS Statement of Purpose: One-page essay that gives veterinary admissions committees a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly answers the question: Why do you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine? (MAX 3000 characters with spaces)



    • SHOW don't TELL - your interests, motivation, and personal characters should be backed with actions & evidence. 
    • AVOID GENERIC statements- EX: I want to help people, I love science, the human body is cool, etc.
    • DO NOT LIST competencies or skills - just SHOW - EX: This shows I'm resilient, I believe I am adaptable because my parents divorced. I am empathic and skilled at organizing. 
    • BE HONEST - don't write what you think will "sound good" to admissions committees
    • REFLECT, REFLECT, and reflect some more on the real reason WHY along with experiences that can back up the WHY. Be sure to write these reflections down. 
    • Make sure to ANSWER the PROMPT!!!
  • SECC (LS 106) Resources
    • Get Into Medical School: A Guide for the Perplexed
    • Barron's Essays that will get you into Medical School
    • The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions



  • Health Professions Office Essay Feedback
    • Essays can be emailed to Sandy Hobart at sandy.hobart@uta.edu - feedback typically given within 5 business days (MAX 2 essay reviews per student)
    • Appointments for feedback by Sandy Hobart or Dr. Gellman can be made HERE
  • Dr. Timothy Ponce, Senior Lecturer English Department message timothy.ponce@uta.edu on Teams for appointment
  • UTA's Writing Center



The interview is an important part of any admissions process. It allows admissions committees to get to know an applicant in person and assess personal characteristics. It also provides the opportunity to clarify information on the application and to see if you are a good fit for that school and it is a good fit for you. There are several resources below to help you! 

**Students who are in need of a quiet space to interview can reserve a room for their upcoming JAMP or Health Professional interview. Please contact Teresa Jendel-Davis at Teresa.jendeldavis@uta.edu at least 48 hours in advance.  



    • Dress in business casual, even if it is a virtual interview
      • Tie up long hair if you have a tendency to touch it
      • Where comfortable dress shoes - Heels should be short - I recommend flats when possible


    • If virtual, find a quiet, comfortable location for the interview
      • Be aware of your surroundings, lighting, and background
      • Check the internet connection ahead of time
      • If there is unavoidable potential for distractions, it is ok to tell the interview about them and explain it professionally and how you plan on minimizing the distraction.


    • Be aware of your non-verbal body gestures
      • Minimize distracting movements such as poor posture, fidgeting, swiveling the chair, lack of eye contact, etc.


    • SMILE and be friendly to everyone!
    • LISTEN to what is being asked and ANSWER the QUESTION
      • Similar to essays, you may have a good story but it is pointless if it does not answer the questions ("prompt") of what is truly being asked. 


    • Make it conversational and AVOID GENERIC statements
      • The interview is intended to get to know YOU off of paper. It is an opportunity to show how you are capable of connecting and communicating with people. (AKA future patients, professors, students, colleagues, etc.)
      • Remember, they know NOTHING about YOUR story or your personality. Share SPECIFIC experiences that support what you are saying and gives the interviewer a look into who you are as a person. 
      • Avoid rambling 
      • Do NOT read off a pre-prepared answer.


    • Be HONEST
      • Do NOT answer questions based on what you think "sounds good" or what you believe the interviewer wants to hear. The interviewer wants to hear YOUR REAL thoughts and experiences. It always helps to provide examples and really reflect on WHY you think specific experiences made you who you are. Include if your viewpoints have changed and your own thought process. 
      • If you make a mistake, do not have the experience/knowledge to answer the question, or need time to think, just state that. Include how you are planning to get that knowledge or correct a mistake as well. 


    • Have questions prepared for the interviewer
      • Ask specific, informative questions that you are ACTUALLY interested in knowing about
      • Do not ask generic questions or questions that can be found on the internet