Guidelines for Letters of Evaluation or Recommendation

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/himSubmission instructions
A list of courses you took from her/him and the grade(s) you receivedSubmission deadline
Dates of interactionExamples: Semester took class, employment start and end dates, or volunteer period
Any exceptional work you produced for her/himRecommendation/evaluation form, if applicable
The area you hope s/he will addressA stamped, addressed envelope (postal service submission) or student and letter ID numbers (electronic submission)

Follow up!

  • 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: