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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

College of Science

LOR's, Personal Statements, and Interviewing

 Letters of Recommendation & Personal Statements

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

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. Other letters can include health professionals, volunteer coordinators, supervisors or any other professional that can attest to your personal characteristics in becoming a successful healthcare professional. More letters are not necessarily better. Personal references are not accepted. 

 

Suggested Steps for asking for Letters 

  1. 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.
  2. 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). Offer to meet with them. A letter should NOT be EXPECTED. Keep in mind the evaluator has the right to decline your request.
  3. If your evaluator has agreed to write a letter and you would like the Health Professions Office to  send your letters to application services (Medical, Dental and Vet Only), provide them this COVER LETTER to send with your 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. Also clarify delivery instructions. If you 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 sure the evaluator is aware of the process and deadline for the letter. 
  4. 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!
  5. Send a thank-you card or email.  

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.

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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 handbook(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 2 packet options are 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) 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 the 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 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 can submit your completed application(s) even if letters have not been uploaded.

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PERSONAL STATEMENTS & ESSAYS

A personal statement is the 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 prove your reasoning? Self reflection and details are important. Below are some helpful links to writing personal statements and how to receive feedback. 

  • 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 

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INTERVIEWING 

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. The Career Center and Health Professions Office offers resources to help you.