Letters of Recommendation
Each type of program in the health professions will have a different process for submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf. Review the information for the particular professional program you are interested in for details.
For many programs—e.g., medicine (M.D. and D.O.) and dentistry—you may submit a letter from the Health Professions Advising Committee. This letter is composed by your HPAC adviser and consists of the individual letters of recommendation submitted to your adviser from the faculty, mentors, and other individuals you have solicited. We recommend that you have at least six letters of recommendation from these individuals, with at least three coming from faculty. This committee letter will also contain the evaluation from HPAC of your candidacy. Based on a student’s academic record, mock interview, individual letters of recommendation, and experience, HPAC rates each candidate on the following scale:
- Recommended with Enthusiasm
- Recommended with Confidence
- Recommended with Reservations
When requesting letters from individuals, we recommend that you provide them with relevant information, including to which programs you are applying, your most recent transcript, and a personal resume. We also recommend that you discuss with them what they may include in your letter, focusing on stories of direct evidence they have of relevant qualities you possess. For example, if you shadowed at a doctor’s office, you should discuss with your supervisor the kinds of work they observed and the qualities those experiences evinced. The strongest letters of recommendation are those that are specific, personal, and succinct.
We suggest providing some guidance we have prepared to your recommenders for guidance:
- For letter writers who will contribute to the HPAC letter composed by your adviser
- For letter writers who will contribute their own individual letter to your portfolio
The specific guidelines for how to submit your letters of recommendation to the schools to which you are applying vary widely. For most areas, a centralized application service will receive your letters, either from the recommenders directly, or from Ursinus. Consult with the schools to which you are applying or the service you are using for specific directions. As always, you can also consult with your HPAC adviser or the HPAC co-coordinators if you have further questions.