Letters of Recommendation & Personal Statements
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Letters of Recommendation are an important part of any graduate level program. Building relationships early during your time as an undergraduate is valuable! The letters allow admissions committees to get a better picture of your personal qualities and capabilities. At least one letter (if not more) should be from a science faculty member. Letters must typed, dated, on an official letterhead, contain contact information, and have a signature.
Suggested Steps for asking for Letters from Evalautors
- Give your evaluator enough notice! I recommend at least 1 month's notice. Since most application cycles begin in May, letters should have been requested by April. For HPAC, letters should be requested by December and followed up with in January. Recently dated letters are preferred over letters from a year ago.
- Choose evaluators that KNOW YOU WELL and 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 and resume (including volunteering/shadowing experience). A letter should NOT be EXPECTED. Keep in mind the evaluator has the right to decline your request.
- If your evaluator has agreed to write a letter provide them this COVER LETTER to send with your letter. Delivery instructions are provided on the cover letter. You can also direct them to this website to read the Guidelines for Letter Writers below or provide them with a copy. If you do not plan on utilizing the Health Professions Office to send your letters and are planning to have evaluators send their letters directly to the application service(s) or schools, the cover letter is optional. However, you should make the evaluator aware that they will receive a request via email with instructions from the application service or school to send their letter.
- 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 them!
- Send a thank-you card or email.
Guidelines for Letter Writers
Writing a Letter of Recommendation can be daunting. Please use this Guideline from AAMC for Letter writers. 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.
- Check YES to releasing the information to your Health Professions Advisor and/or UTA on your application(s)
- 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 Packet option. All students should read the letter of evaluation section in the application handbook(s) thoroughly. If contact information is needed, input Sandy Hobart- email@example.com. NOTE: This information must be entered for AACOMAS and AADSAS in order to upload your letters
- Complete the Recommendation Submission Request Form ONLY IF THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS ADVISOR HAS ALL LETTERS REQUESTED. 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 uploaded letters. *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
- Please allow up to 5-7 business days for your request to be completed. ***Letters DO NOT cause a delay in application processing. You should submit your completed application(s) even if letters have not been uploaded.
A personal statement is you opportunity to convey your unique personality and journey. The ultimate question to answer is WHY and the WHAT? Why do you want to pursue this field and what have you done to solidify your reasoning? Self reflection and details are important. Below are some helpful links to writing personal statements.
- 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
- Personal Statement Analysis
- Tough Love for your Personal Statement
- Unique vs Cliché Personal Statements
- Creating a Great Personal Statement - Webinar