Letters of recommendation are an important factor in the medical school admissions process. This is typically the only area of your application where a medical school will learn about your personal qualities.
AMCAS has also developed Letters of Evaluation Guidelines to help you and your letter writer strategize the organization of the letter and the key competencies to convey in the letter.
To ensure that all of your letters of recommendation have arrived, make sure you open an account with Interfolio, for your letter writers to upload their letters to.
- Who should I ask for letters? (How many? What type?)
In general, the majority medical schools require at least 2 letters of recommendation. You should have more than 2 letters available, as some medical schools are open to receiving more than three letters. It is not the quantity of letters that is important but rather, the quality of these letters.
Note: Note: AMCAS has a Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation Service for participating medical schools. Your letters are included as part of your primary application to medical schools. Once your letters are submitted to AMCAS, you can select which letters to distribute to each medical school. Please check individual schools, for more information.
How Many of What Types Letters: It is recommended students have 2 science and 1 non science letter. Typically, science letters are those from biology, chemistry, math or physics faculty. Non science letters would represent letter writers whose discipline is in the social sciences or humanities, such as English, Economics, Women’s Studies, etc. Each medical school ultimately decides whether or not a letter of recommendation from a Nutritional Science or Astronomy faculty, as an example, will be categorized as a science or non-science letter.
Note: Letters going to AMCAS must include your AMCAS Letter ID found on your Letter Request Form. ACCOMAS accepts evaluations electronically by evaluators using the AACOMAS recommended portal Letters by Liaison. Be sure to provide your letter writer your ACOMAS ID# to include in your letter.
- How should I ask for letters?
Requesting Letters of Recommendation
Who To Ask: Always ask individuals who know you well. At Cal, the large class sizes create a challenging environment for you to get to know a professor and vice versa. It is common practice for Cal students to request a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) to write a letter and to have the GSI ask the professor to either cosign or co-write the letter of recommendation. Another option is to request letters from professors in an upper division course.
When To Ask: Letters of recommendation should be requested several months prior to submitting your application.
Note: If you plan to delay your application to medical school for several years, a letter between 3-5yrs. old may not be accepted at a medical school. If you still want the letter that you obtained to be a part of your application, you should maintain contact with your letter writer(s) so that they can submit a more recent letter.
- When should I request my letters? When are letters due?
When should I request my letters? When are letters due?
Ideally, after you are finished with their class. Ask a professor what they need and have Interfolio hold the letter/s, until you are ready to apply.
Letters for medical school are due with secondary applications.