Medical School Letters Of Recommendation: Whether you are applying to study for a DO(Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) or an MD(Doctor of Medicine) you will definitely need letters of recommendation.
Often times as important as the Medical School Letters Of Recommendation is, this part of the application process is either ignored or no serious attention is paid to it.
For some that even try to do it, they sometimes misunderstand what they are required to do here.
The letter of recommendation is meant to present to the admission committee an external objective evaluation of your worthiness to pursue a career in Medicine.
After our article on Recommendation letter for a Volunteer | How to write one, we got numerous emails asking questions about how medical school applicants can get a good medical school letter of recommendation.
Well, in this article we going to discuss what a med school recommendation letter is, how to get stellar recommendation letters from referees,
provide you with medical school letters of recommendation sample, and answer some questions you may have about this intricate process.
without further Ado let’s dive in…
What Is A Medical School Letter Of Recommendation?
As earlier stated the medical school letters of recommendation are a very important part of your med school application process that gives the admission committee a good insight into who you are and the kind of doctor you will eventually become.
Though focusing on getting a good MCAT score and crafting a great application is not bad, your letter of recommendation carries a great weight too and positively affects your success ratings.
Almost all medical schools require these letters, and they have more impact than most students realize.
As the name suggests, letters are pieces of correspondence from people who have some level of experience with you.
They can come from educators who know your skills, from employers who have managed and overseen your work, or even from supervisors who have seen your work ethic.
Needless to say, strong letters of recommendation from those who support your endeavors are paramount.
Well-written recommendation letters can make all the difference and give your application a competitive edge. Entry into medical school is difficult, so you should take this process seriously!
The Importance of a Strong Recommendation Letter
Your medical school recommendation letters must be exceptional.
Do not solicit a letter from someone who does not describe you as a great, excellent candidate to study medicine.
Your referees must be able to speak about your best abilities, your greatest accomplishments, and your virtuous character. You don’t want mediocre or half-hearted letters of recommendation.
The writers shouldn’t hesitate to drop you a letter when you reach out to them.
If you are unsure of the referee you have chosen, it is best to ask someone else, as these letters are intended to improve your application and help you stand out to the admissions committees.
After reviewing hundreds of applicants with high GPAs, MCAT scores, and impressive personal statements, these letters of recommendation, along with all of your other application materials, will influence your impression.
In short, Letters of recommendation can substantiate the rest of your application and highlight why you are a good candidate for medical school.
These letters should underline your extraordinary character in order to leave a lasting impression.
How Many Letters Of Recommendation Do You Need For Med School?
The number of letters of recommendation to submit depends on the requirements of the medical school. Most schools require at least three letters of recommendation. However, some will ask for five or six!
Even if your school only requires two or three letters, it’s always worth having more. As long as you are not explicitly limited to a certain number of letters, you are welcome to send more. This may give you more opportunities to highlight certain skills or credentials that don’t appear in the other letters.
Remember, however, that sending too many letters can work against you too. Be sure to read the requirements of your medical school.
Another important consideration is the type of letters you will need. Here, too, the requirements can vary from institution to institution.
The admissions process is pretty strict and some medical schools want to see letters in a specific format for optimized operations.
Most common types of medical school recommendation letters:
Medical schools may require a variety of letters of recommendation depending on your current situation or professional history.
If you are a student, some schools may require a certain number of letters from the science faculty, and some may require letters from employers or supervisors if you have a job.
Requirements can be very different if you’ve served in the military.
As mentioned earlier, find out from your program what kind of letters of recommendation are expected from you.
That being said, there are three different types of medical school letters of recommendation. please for to the end we have medical school letters of recommendation sample to give you an idea of what you are expecting.
#1. Committee letters:
Committee letters are common in the United States. A committee letter will be prepared by your university’s pre-medical advisory board, which will present your school’s assessment of you as a candidate.
This type of letter is not available in all schools.
Committee letters are more formal and ask for detailed information that only specific organizations can provide
#2. Letter packets
The Letter packets are also an option in some schools. This Letter packets are also formal.
The packets consist of several letters written by referees from your current university.
Letters from your referees are compiled and mailed by your school’s career center, but there is no letter from your pre-med advisor or committee.
#3. Individual letters
Finally, there are the individual letters. Individual letters are, by far, the most common.
As you can guess, these letters provide a more personal touch and come from people you ask.
well, here is something to hold on to, ensure to request more letters of recommendation in case one of your referees didn’t come through for you.
some schools may not call you for an interview until your letters of recommendation are all submitted.
So do ensure you ask for them to be submitted in a timely manner.
How Long Should Your Letters Of Recommendation Be?
It is important to check with your medical school requirements regarding the length of your letter. As It is important to understand all of the specifications required by your school.
That being said, letters of recommendation for medical school applications are usually one to three pages long.
For example, the medical school of your choice may want to see the letters in a certain format. Some won’t even read the letter if it’s not on the official letterhead.
These little details are important and you need to pass them on to your referees to avoid any delays or headaches.
However, the quantity of words is not as important as the overall quality of the letter. A short, to-the-point letter of ardent praise can have a bigger impact than a letter full of fluff without any conviction.
You cannot control what others say in their letters, but you can certainly have a say in who writes them.
Beyond the requirements, quality is always more important than quantity!
How to Choose your Recommendation Writers
When it comes to who should write your Letter Of Recommendation it is easy to get a close friend or even a family member to do the job as they are bound to do a great job at praising your personality.
In med. school, this is not what is needed.
Medical schools want unbiased letters of recommendation from people that can illustrate what you have to offer. As a result, many have strict requirements that they must meet.
In many cases, schools will ask you for different letters based on your current situation or work history.
If you are like most applicants, you are a student looking to enroll in medical school. So you have limited practical work experience.
Schools will often ask for insight into your knowledge and skills from:
If you are a professional or have been away from school for a year or two, the school may request letters from employers or supervisors.
Writing requirements can also be different for those who have served in the military.
Usually, medical schools require multiple letters that are divided into two different categories.
#1. Faculty Recommendations
While exact requirements can vary, most schools will request two letters of recommendation from science professors and one from a non-science faculty member.
Faculty letters are great for illustrating your academic prowess and subject-matter skills. It is best to get letters from different disciplines and from professors who gave you a grade.
Remember: these letters should explain your academic performance, and professors who have already taught and graded you will be in a better place to do so.
Which faculties are the best? Reach out to professors who have taught you topics that will have a direct impact on your medical career. Medical schools usually prefer letters from professors in biology, chemistry, or physics.
This does not mean that the school automatically rejects other science subjects. However, those closely related to what you will study in medical school are always better.
Anything other than biology, chemistry, and physics is sufficient for letters from non-scientific professors. Many applicants like to ask professors in the humanities, arts, or social sciences.
Letters from the Faculty of Science should speak of your mastery of their subjects. Your glowing assessment of your academic ability goes far. However, letters from non-science professors can address other essential skills as well.
For example, they can talk about your critical thinking, understanding, or communication skills. These letters can even highlight the diversity of your academic experience, the way you work with others, or what you do to develop interpersonal skills.
Good examples are teachers who have read your texts, watched presentations, or supervised larger group projects. As long as they can comment on your skills, their letters can make a difference.
#2. Character Letters
Medical schools may also ask for one or two letters of recommendation from non-academic sources. These are often referred to as character letters.
These letters of recommendation should tell the admissions committee who you are on a more personal level.
Think of it as a letter in which someone “vouches” for other critical personality traits, not just your academic excellence.
While you might be tempted to reach out to family and friends, this is totally wrong.
Many medical schools categorically reject correspondence from someone who has too great a personal connection with you. Therefore, family, friends, and clergy are out of the question.
Each letter of recommendation should have weight and add something new to your application. While they don’t comment on your academic achievement, they can write something about your attitude, work ethic, dedication, and other qualities that you will use as a doctor.
The best character letters come from employers, volunteer supervisors, doctors you’ve followed in the past, someone you’ve researched with, or education counselors in clubs. Anyone who’s seen you interacting with patients is also a good candidate.
How To Get A Letter Of Recommendation For Medical School
Once you’ve figured out the types of medical school recommendation letters you need, it’s time to get the ball rolling.
This step in the application process can be intimidating. It’s not always easy to introduce yourself and ask people you respect for help.
However, this step is necessary to get you started on your future path as a med school student.
The Right Timing for the Recommendation Letter
First of all, when do you need your letters?
Letters of recommendation are usually only due when you make a confirmatory application. This means that you can send them in July at the earliest of the year in which you apply. Don’t wait until the last second!
Give your referees enough time to write a great letter. Rushing them will only leave you feeling bitter.
The referees are doing you a favor, so the last thing you want to do is get their bad side trying to speed up the process.
Give your referees at least two weeks. If possible, aim for a month or two to go! The people you ask faculty letters from probably have a long list of letters they need to write.
Professors are constantly asked for letters of recommendation. Therefore, the sooner you ask, the easier it is for everyone involved.
Now don’t be surprised if some of the people you ask don’t answer. Things happen and people forget. Instead of bugging them all the time, have a backup plan it can come in handy.
It is always better to have more letters of recommendation than necessary to make up for these worst-case scenarios. The last thing you want is to crawl at the last second!
What is the Right Way of Asking For Letters Of Recommendation
For the record; The best way to ask for letters of recommendation is to visit your referee in person.
It’s tempting to make requests over email. While there’s nothing wrong with making the first contact through email, an in-person visit can be more beneficial.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
#1. First, it helps the writer remember you
Professors see students come and go all the time. If you haven’t taken their course recently, they could forget your name. A face-to-face visit is a great way to jog their memory.
Plus, it gives you a chance to catch up and talk about your aspirations. That personal connection makes all the difference.
#2. Gauge the writer’s response
Another benefit of personal inquiry is being able to evaluate the author’s response. The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to provide correspondence from someone who will support your endeavors. If you’re a little hesitant, use these non-verbal cues as a sign to ask someone else.
Try to visit your referees when they are not busy. Asking a teacher right after class or an employer in the middle of the workday can seem awkward and rash. Have a discussion when things are calm as people are more likely to respond positively.
Be sure to ask for a solid medical school recommendation letter when you visit. The word “strong” is the most important part of the question here. This simple word indicates the meaning of the letter and allows you to include more non-verbal cues.
The person’s answer confirms your choice or indicates that you need to ask someone else.
Do not be offended if your letter request results in a “No, thank you”. Writing a letter of recommendation can be time-consuming. It is not uncommon for some faculty members to have a personal policy against it.
Some may not be comfortable writing the letter for you. It’s good. It’s much better to hear a referee say “no” than to find out later that they have some not-so-nice things to say about you.
What to do next After Your Referee has Agreed to write your letter
Once your professor, employer, or supervisor has agreed to write a medical school recommendation letter for you, provide them the assistance they need. Ask them what you can do to help them write a strong letter.
Listen carefully and respond to these requests as soon as possible. Don’t leave your writers on hold. Providing these additional documents will remind them to finish the letter.
Many academic referees will ask for things like resumes, transcripts, lists of awards, etc. Either way, have the materials ready and wait to get your letter!
How to Submit Your Medical School Letter of Recommendations
There are several ways to submit your medical school application letters.
Usually, these letters are sent via the AMCAS portal. Interestingly, this is one of three sections you can edit after submitting your first AMCAS application.
Letters of recommendation are private. Technically, you can ask to read them before submitting them. Most medical schools, however, will not rate them positively.
It is important to give up the right to read the letters. This way, your copywriters can say what they want without any pressure from you.
Medical schools prefer that your letter writers submit documents on your behalf rather than the other way around. This type of submission guarantees absolute confidentiality at all levels.
Your umpires can do this in a number of ways. The easiest way is via the AMCAS mail service. After providing a letter request form, authors can enter your AMCAS ID and an AMCAS letter ID. With these few access data, editors can log in and send letters directly.
The advantage of the AMCAS platform is that documents are accepted immediately. It saves a lot of trouble and waiting.
Authors can also submit letters via Interfolio. The fully digital system is also quite slim. However, it can take up to three days to be accepted and marked as “received”.
Medical School Letters Of Recommendation Sample 2022
Now you have seen what it entails to get a recommendation letter here are medical school letters of recommendation samples.
Medical School Recommendation Letter Sample from A Science Professor’s Letter
Name of writer and contact information if not included in the letterhead
Dear Admission Committee Members,
It is a pleasure for me to write this recommendation letter for Scott Johnson, who was my student in the fourth-year seminar “Advanced Embryology and Developmental Biology” in the fall of 2018.
Scott is an exceptional person. He is one of the best students I have ever had the chance to teach in my 10 years at X University.
Scott has impressive critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which served him well during my class. I have spoken with his other instructors, and they have also noted his extraordinary analytical abilities.
His capacity to observe and develop insightful and reflective conclusions has been noted by me on many occasions, especially during his laboratory work. I noticed that Scott spent a lot of his time diligently working on his laboratory experiments, even outside of the scheduled lab time.
Scott demonstrated outstanding levels of understanding techniques and developments of embryological systems. His insightful questions demonstrated his curiosity into unknowns and his motivation to increase his knowledge base.
He is an excellent collaborator who is always ready to help his peers. I have witnessed Scott help his classmates with complex lab experiments inside the classroom, as well as outside of classroom hours as a tutor. He is joyful and kind during his interactions with students, professors, and other faculty.
Aside from submitting his assignments on time to the highest quality, completing all lab and tutorial work, he volunteered to organize a student study group before the final lab and exam in my course.
He was very generous with his time and energy to make sure that he and his classmates were well prepared.
I remember Scott taking extra time to explain the material to an international student who was struggling to understand a difficult concept.
He listened to the student’s concerns, broke down the concept one step at a time until he was sure the student understood the material. His empathy truly touched me.
Scott also impressed me with his maturity and professionalism. During his time in my class, he formed courteous relationships with everyone: assistants, peers, and myself.
He is great in conflict resolution scenarios, as I have had the chance to see that he solves problems quickly and efficiently.
During a confrontation with a peer who was experiencing anxiety about his grades, Scott was able to diffuse the tension and offered his help. His peer ended up excelling in the next assignment due to Scott’s mentoring.
I wholeheartedly recommend Scott Johnson as a perfect candidate for your medical school program. Over the years of my teaching career, I can think of few students who deserve such high praise and recommendation.
Scott is a skilled scientist, a highly intellectual and compassionate individual, who would make a great doctor in the future. His dedication to excellence is inspiring. Please contact me if there is anything else I can add to impress upon the high caliber of character that is Scott Johnson.
Dr. Name of Writer
Medical School Recommendation Letter Sample: Physician’s Letter
Name of Writer and contact information if not included in letterhead
Dear Admission Committee Members,
It is my great pleasure to write this recommendation letter to support Anna Smith in her application for your medical school program.
Ms. Smith has been one of the best volunteer observers in my 11 years as a family physician at X General Hospital. In total, Ms. Smith has spent over a year shadowing me during the work process.
Ms. Smith is a responsible and reliable individual. She carefully prepared for each day’s work by familiarizing herself with patients’ history and diagnoses.
She has always indicated a high level of knowledge about patient’s circumstances by asking me questions and giving appropriate advice.
For example, after a patient’s visit, Ms. Smith accurately commented on remedies for the patient’s abnormal blood pressure. Her awareness and attentiveness constantly impressed me.
Ms. Smith demonstrated her dedication and compassion during patient interactions. She handled patients very professionally with a kind and welcoming tone.
Patients personally approached me to compliment Ms. Smith on both her friendliness and compassion. She has a great reputation as being dependable and reliable among our patients and staff.
Other volunteers and nurses have informed me about Ms. Smith’s friendliness and readiness to help, and I consider her a great team player.
Ms. Smith possesses excellent comprehension skills. She follows directions and requests with utmost diligence.
More than that, she has been able to develop a highly intuitive approach to assisting me. Her level of knowledge and experience has prepared her to flawlessly support me in my work.
Ms. Smith will make a great addition to your medical school program. She is incredibly mature and responsible.
Over my years in clinical practice, Ms. Smith stands out as one of the best potential physicians I know.
Her attention to detail, compassion, and ability to learn quickly and efficiently endorse her as a skilled professional.
I recommend Ms. Smith without reservation. If you have any more questions about Ms. Smith’s candidacy, I will be glad to help.
Name of Writer, MD
Frequently asked questions on Medical School Recommendation Letter
What makes these medical school recommendation letters strong?
Who should write your medical school letter of recommendation?
Most often medical school recommendations are written by people from these five categories:
How do i submit my med school letter of recommendations?
Your referrers should submit letters electronically using the AMCAS Letter Writer Application or Interfolio.
If a letter is uploaded via the AMCAS Letter Writer App, it is immediately marked as received.
It takes approximately three days for a letter uploaded via Interfolio to be marked as received.
Can i ask my TA for a Recommendation letter?
Absolutely! Due to the high number of students in most Bachelor’s programs, you do not always have the opportunity to work directly with your professors.
As such, you will most likely work with and get to know your teaching or laboratory assistant. Getting a letter of recommendation from them is better than from a professor who barely knows you
It’s been a while since i gradauted from college, my professor may not rememeber me. what should i do?
Asking in person may help jug their memory up. Nonetheless, If you are concerned about the quality of your past teacher referrals, it is best to get a letter from another suitable person.
If you need to send a letter from a member of the science faculty, you need to contact the professor or tech assistant with whom you have interacted the most.
Most of the time, a little refresher will enable them to remember you, and on top of that, you might be more memorable than you think!
Medicine is a collaborative environment, but also one where you will spend time learning from more senior practitioners for a long time.
Medical schools do not just want to hear from you, they want to hear from people in supervisory positions who you have worked with.
They want to learn about your potential to become a strong physician from people who you have collaborated with and learned from.
Getting a medical school letter of recommendation is not something you should take lightly. These letters are incredibly important and can have a major impact on the outcome of your application.
If you have any questions about the process feel free to get in touch! We’re always happy to help.