It is your responsibility to identify faculty members (ideally three science and two non-science) who can write meaningful, positive letters of recommendation for your application to allopathic medical school. They must submit their letters to our Premedical and Predental Advisory Committee, which then writes a composite letter of evaluation (click here for an information sheet for students requesting a committee letter of recommendation), quoting directly from the faculty letters. If you are applying to other types of health-related professional programs, you may not need a committee letter. Check with the individual schools to which you are applying to determine whether they prefer a committee letter or separate individual letters.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind when soliciting letters of recommendation:
- Get to know your faculty instructors. This may mean consulting them outside of class if you have questions, or simply making an appointment with them to talk about your career goals and personal aspirations. If the faculty do not know you, they cannot write anything that will help medical schools determine what kind of person you are and what are your personal strengths and skills. Make sure the faculty knows more than just how you scored on their exams; if the letter focuses only on your academic credentials, it may not reveal much beyond what your GPA or MCAT scores already indicate.
- Ask for positive recommendations. If the faculty member is not willing to commit to a positive letter, then thank them for their time, but do not include them in your final list.
- Ask the instructor to write a letter soon after you have finished the course with him or her. If you wait until your junior year to ask your first-year chemistry professor, chances are he or she will not remember enough about you to write a meaningful letter. The letters will be sent to the Premedical and Predental Advisory Committee and kept on file until needed.
- The official written request for a letter of recommendation is sent to the faculty instructor by the Health Careers Office. You should pick up and sign the forms as soon as you identify a professor who is willing to write a positive letter. You will be asked to read and sign the form to indicate whether you do or do not waive your right to see the individual letters of recommendation. You do not have to waive your right to see the letters, but if you do not do so, this fact must be conveyed to the medical school in the committee’s letter. Some schools may then be concerned whether the letters were written with full candor. The signed forms will be distributed to faculty by our office; do not distribute them yourself.
- Be sure that all letters are received by the Health Careers Advising Office ideally by March, but at the latest by May. This means keeping in touch with our office to know which letters have been received, and possibly reminding faculty who have not yet sent their letters that delaying your application can hurt you.
- If you engage in extracurricular activities or research, you should also ask your supervisor to write a letter, especially if you have made a significant contribution. If you do laboratory research, it is especially important for you to get a letter from your supervisor. If you cite your research experience on your application, but do not include a letter from your supervisor, the medical schools may become concerned. It should now be apparent that simply showing up for such activities is not enough; you should strive for leaving a legacy of accomplishment to which a reputable supervisor can attest. This can be a very powerful and persuasive part of your application.
AMCAS Letters of Evaluation
Asking for a Recommendation Letter
Best Medical School Recommendations
Choosing the Right Recommendation Letter Writers
Don’ts for Getting Letters of Recommendation for Grad School
Dos and Don’ts for Requesting a Grad School Recommendation Letter
Getting a Letter of Recommendation After Graduation
Getting a Recommendation Letter for Graduate School
Getting Good Letters of Recommendation
Getting Great Letters of Recommendation
Getting Great Recommendations
Getting Letters of Recommendation
Getting Letters of Recommendation: A Student’s Guide
Getting Recommendation Letters for Grad School
Getting Stellar Letters of Recommendation
Getting Superb Letters of Evaluation
Getting the Best Med School Recommendation Letters
Letter of Recommendation Fails: How to Avoid the Pitfalls and Recover from the Most Common Problem
Letters of Recommendation Advice
Letters of Recommendation Guidance
Med School Letters of Recommendation
Med School Recommendations That Helped Applicants
Medical School Committee Letters of Recommendation: Why They’re Important
Medical School Letters of Recommendation
Medical School Letters of Recommendation: Definitive Guide
Medical School Recommendation Letters Q & A
Nailing Medical School Letters of Recommendation
Obtaining and Using References and Recommendation Letters
Obtaining Letters of Recommendation Resources
Requesting Medical School Letters of Recommendation After a Gap Year
Securing Strong Letters of Recommendation for Medical School
Thanking Professors for Writing Recommendation Letters
Update Letters of Recommendation for Your Medical School Reapplication
What an Excellent Medical School Letter of Recommendation Includes
Who Should Write Letters of Recommendation
The Cover Letter
Categories for Evaluated Students
- Superior Candidate:
We have great confidence that the student has the academic and personal qualifications for studying medicine and becoming a respected member of the profession.
- Highly Qualified Candidate:
We believe that the student will succeed in medical school and in the practice of medicine.
- Qualified Candidate:
We believe that the student is able to do acceptable work in medical school and in the profession.
- Candidate Presented for Consideration:
We think this student should be considered but are uncertain of the chances for success for reasons indicated in our letter.
- Special Letter:
We write a special letter when unusual circumstances make it difficult to assign an applicant to one of the above categories.
2022-2023 Supplementary Information
Because Clark University does not publish class ranks and because knowing the distribution of grades helps in evaluating the significance of each transcript, the Premedical and Predental Advisory Committee maintains the current grade distribution. The average GPA for all courses across the university in the 2021-22 academic year is 3.43. The GPA in BCPM courses (biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics) is 3.26. Thus, in terms of percent, the GPA of students with a heavy concentration of science courses should be raised almost one level in the following table.
Students Who Have Completed Three Years of Work
and Have Cumulative Grade Point Average
The Committee evaluates candidates on the basis of their academic record, extracurricular activities and interests, character, and suitability for medicine based on factors such as emotional stability, maturity, motivation, judgment, integrity, and social responsibility. The Committee consults instructors in premedical courses, advisors, and other faculty members designated by the students as knowing them particularly well. Students are also urged to solicit letters of recommendation for us from coaches, employers, or supervisors having significant information to offer. Our committee letter cites the entire content of letters we receive (excluding non-relevant portions such as biographical introductions). Original letters are available upon request. Unless otherwise indicated, students have chosen not to see their evaluations, and both these letters and individual references on which they are based have been, and should be, kept confidential.
Our evaluation is made after comparison with the performance of recent Clark graduates in medical school. The Committee decides on the level of recommendation and the degree of enthusiasm within that level. The letter is then composed by the Chair, reviewed by the Committee, and finally edited and signed by the Chair; significant comments and divergent opinions are included and attributed to their source. Sanctions stemming from academic or social transgressions range from a letter of warning to expulsion. Students are advised to fully disclose on their application to medical school any sanction they have received. Our letter will note any probation, suspension, or dismissal from the University.