Letters of Evaluation give admissions committees an opportunity to understand you through the eyes of individuals who have seen your personal, professional, and academic growth.
Generally, medical schools require at least 3 letters of evaluation and will accept no more than 6 letters. Once you have finalized your school list, check with each school to be sure you have met their requirements or recommendations.
We recommend applicants collect 3-6 letters comprised of:
- 2 science faculty members or instructors with whom you have completed a course (lecture or lab component)
- 1 from a non-science faculty member or instructor with whom you have completed a course (SOSC, PSYCH, HUM, etc.)
- 1-3 from people who can speak to your accomplishments outside the classroom (e.g., a research supervisor, volunteer coordinator, internship supervisor, or athletic coach)
MD/PhD applicants should collect letters from all the principal investigators who supervised a significant research endeavor.
DO applicants should request a letter from an osteopathic physician whom they have shadowed.
It is best to prioritize quality, not quantity, when selecting your recommendation providers. Not every letter needs to highlight all of your strengths and good qualities, but taken together they should present a holistic view of yourself.
The best recommendations come from people who know you well, and can speak to the qualities and competencies that will make you a good physician. The AAMC provides a helpful guide for letter writers to address the core competencies medical schools look for in applicants.
STRATEGY AND ETIQUETTE
We strongly encourage students to reach out to their chosen individuals to request a letter by April 1. Letter writers can begin submitting letters as soon as the primary application services open in early May. We recommend that you ask your letter writers to submit their letters by late June.
Once you have secured your recommenders, ask them if they need any additional information from you, such as a:
- Personal Statement draft
- Copies of papers or other assignments you completed for their class
- AAMC guide for writing a Letter of Evaluation for medical schools
Here are some additional etiquette tips to follow when requesting a letter:
- Politely follow up with the writer after a few weeks, asking if you may provide additional information to guide their writing
- Send a thank-you note once the letter has been submitted
- Inform the writer of your outcome, and thank them again
Letters and School List Workshop: This workshop helps applicants identify letter writers and craft a school list. It covers what whom they should ask and how to ask. It also helps students understand how to evaluate whether a school is a good fit for them as well as how to use MSAR to evaluate their competitiveness for individual schools. Held in February each year.
Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant