FAQ's Recommendation Letters

Frequently Asked Questions

For best results, have letters sent once you have submitted your AMCAS application.
Letters received or dated prior to April 1 will not be accepted, nor will undated letters.

Your Pre-professional Advisory Committee has its own form and format, but for all others we have no special format, official letterhead stationary is preferred.

Letters must be signed and dated.

Click here for the address and e-mail of the Admissions Office.

AMCAS Letter Service?
Yes - Now accepted.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

A letter from the Pre-professional Advisory Committee or its equivalent is the one we want and the only one you need. If your school does not have a committee, and for more details, go to Recommendation Letters

What sorts of information should be included in letters of recommendation?

The best letters are from faculty members (and others) who know you well enough to comment in some depth not only on your academic performance, but also on your personal qualities for a career in medicine. Both things are equally important! They should mention how long they have known you and in what capacity, and how well they know you. They should also put their remarks about you into some kind of comparative context with others for whom they have written letters.

I plan to send letters from the governor, several alumni of the medical school, and physicians whom I have known. Will that help my application?

Letters from elected officials who do not know you personally can prove embarrassing. It looks as if you're trying to substitute influence for excellence, connections for achievement, privilege for accomplishment, and the Admissions Committee generally does not like that. Letters from physicians you have shadowed have a tendency to be uniformly positive and tend to offer committees little help in distinguishing between applicants.

I have been out of school for five years and I cannot get letters from my old professors. Are there any substitutes for these required letters?

Military commanders (for military personnel) and immediate supervisors (for applicants with a long employment history) may be good people to write such letters. Still, we want to hear from science professors if at all possible