Letters of Evaluation
The College of Human Medicine requires a minimum of three letters of evaluation and a maximum of five letters.
Letters of evaluation must be submitted through the AMCAS Letters service. AMCAS begins accepting letters in mid-May. Instructions for submitting letters to AMCAS are provided within the AMCAS application.
The College of Human Medicine requires a minimum of three letters of evaluation. However, AMCAS will not mark your letters as "Received" until they receive all of the letters you indicated would be sent to us. We will not review your application until all letters are received, even if the minimum three letters have been submitted. The absolute deadline for letters of evaluation is November 30 for Regular and MD/PhD applicants, and August 31 for EDP applicants.
We DO NOT provide a status message indicating receipt of letters of evaluation. If AMCAS has confirmed receipt of your letters, then we have them as well. It is not necessary to contact our office to ask if we have your letters.
A committee letter, authored by a prehealth committee or prehealth advisor and intended to represent your institution's evaluation of you, counts as one letter entry. A letter entry may consist of more than one letter. If the committee letter is accompanied by at least two of the individual letters it references, one letter entry will fulfill our requirement. However, if your committee letter is not accompanied by a minimum of two of the individual letters referenced in it, you will need to submit two more individual letters to meet our minimum requirement of three letters.
A letter packet is assembled and distributed by your school. It may or may not include a cover letter from your prehealth advisor or committee, but it does not include a committee evaluation. A letter packet counts as one letter entry. If the letter packet contains at least three individual letters, it will fulfill our requirements. However, if the letter packet includes fewer than three individual letters, you will need to submit additional individual letters to meet our minimum requirement of three letters.
Unsolicited letters sent directly to the college outside of the AMCAS Letters service will not be reviewed, placed in your file, or retained in any form; they will be discarded.
Guidelines for Letters of Evaluation
Letters of evaluation should follow these guidelines:
- One letter must be from a basic science or medical science professor who can critically evaluate your academic potential, maturity, strengths and weaknesses, and the difficulty of coursework, if applicable. Comments that expand beyond what may be reflected by your grade in the class or address any special achievements or attributes are desirable.
- One letter must address personal experiences and characteristics that will help us to develop an overall portrait of you. A letter based upon direct interaction with you and addressing qualities such as maturity, empathy, character, reliability, interpersonal skills, and any special attributes or experiences will be the most helpful.
- It is highly desirable that at least one letter is written by someone who has observed you in a clinical setting.
- All letters should be from individuals who know you well.
- Letters should be submitted on college/university or business letterhead and must contain clear and current contact information for the author.
- Additional letter(s) may be authored by individuals from an academic, clinical, employment, research, or volunteer setting. People who know you well and who can attest to your character and abilities based upon their personal experience with you will be the most meaningful.
- If you are currently enrolled in a graduate program or a professional school, one of your letters must be from a faculty member at your graduate or professional school.
- If you are just starting a graduate program, you do not have to provide a letter from a faculty member at this time. However, we may ask for one at a later date.
- If extenuating circumstances prevent you from providing a letter from a basic science or medical science professor, we are willing to consider making an exception if your MCAT is 505 or above, you have taken more than the required two upper level science courses, you have math beyond the minimum, and we have a letter that describes your problem solving ability as well as your contribution to group-based problem solving.
- If you are currently enrolled in a postbaccalaureate program or taking postbac classes, one of your letters must be from a postbac program faculty member.
- A letter from a graduate assistant will be accepted only if it is cosigned by the faculty member.
- If you have taken time off between college and medical school, you should also send a letter of evaluation from a person who can comment about experiences during that period.
- If there are special circumstances or potential concerns raised within your application (ex: lower grades one semester, compelling reason for withdrawal from a class, minor institutional action), consider securing a letter that could validate or clarify the situation.
- Ideally, letters should be dated within one year of your application.
MD/PhD and MD/MPH Letters
Applicants to the MD/PhD program and the MD/MPH program must submit letters as requested by these programs.