Letters of recommendation are an important component of the application process to health professional schools. The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to share information and insights regarding your character, motivations, and specific abilities that others observed.
Preparation: Prepare for letter writers
- What kind of letter do I need?
- Letter of recommendation: Referee explains why you would be good in the field you are applying to
- Letter of evaluation: Referee objectively evaluates your strengths and weaknesses in the field you are applying to
- How many letters will I need?
- The number and type of letters required vary by school
- Check each school to determine what kind of letter and how many you will need!
- If you are applying to a school that requires a letter of recommendation from a pre-health academic advisor AND you are a current student or graduate of UHM, then you can apply for a letter from the pre-health academic advisor here.
The Ask: Ask for letter of recommendation
- Whom should I ask?
- Ask people whom spent time with you, admire your work, and can talk about you in detail
- It is not about whom you know, but what they know about you!
- When should I ask?
- Give your referees at least a month to write the letter
- Always give a deadline at least two weeks before the letter is due
- How should I ask?
- Be sensitive when you ask: find a moment when the person is not rushed or distracted
- Ask if they can write you a strong letter or if they know you well enough to write a meaningful letter
- If they agree, provide a packet; the more information you provide, the more detailed the letter
|Packet should contain the following:|
|Why you asked her/him||Submission instructions|
|A list of courses you took from her/him and the grade(s) you received||Submission deadline|
|Dates of interaction||Examples: Semester took class, employment start and end dates, or volunteer period|
|Any exceptional work you produced for her/him||Recommendation/evaluation form, if applicable|
|The area you hope s/he will address||A stamped, addressed envelope (postal service submission) or student and letter ID numbers (electronic submission)|
- Additional helpful materials may include copies of the following:
- Check with your referees occasionally: have they had a chance to write yet?
- Ask whether they need additional information/ materials
- Once referees submit letters, regularly check with admissions office until you receive confirmation that all letters have been submitted
- Most importantly, send a sincere thank you note to everyone who wrote a letter for you!
Original letters of recommendation for graduate/professional schools or academic employment can be stored through various resources, if incase you need it for future use: