Considerations about letter writers

Who should should I ask?

  • Medical and dental schools may vary a bit on requirements, but in general, most students ask 3-5 people for letters, and those letters are sent to Laurie Goll to complete a packet and overall assessment of each student (all letters are included in the upload to programs).
  • Most medical and dental schools need 2 letters from science professors (that you have had in class).
    • For dental schools, a third letter from a dentist is strongly recommended, and some dental schools require an employer letter. (This does not have to be a dentist.)
    • For medical schools, it's helpful to have someone who can speak to your interest/passion in medicine, serving others and overall qualities that will make you a good physician. This can include a physician, employer, non-science professor at MU, academic advisor, or almost anyone who can speak to your interest and fit for medicine.

How do I ask?

  • There are many ways you can go about this, but the most important thing is to make sure you meet with the letter writer in person (or face to face in a video meeting) at some point in the process. (Hint: don't just send an email asking for a letter!)
  • Many students have found it helpful to schedule a face to face meeting with each potential letter writer.
  • In the meeting, it's important to ask if the letter writer feels they can write a strong letter of support for the application, and to explain they are working with the CHS Pre-Health Office and will have a packet of information to help the letter writer with specifics.
    • The completed packet can be sent to the letter writer anytime after this. Letters are not due to the CHS Pre-Health Office until July 15 (even though primary applications will be submitted in early June).

What is a Committee Letter? Do we have one at MU and do I need one?

  • Our LOR service consists of a letter packet, which is a hybrid between individual letters and a committee letter system. If a medical or dental school requires that students use their university committee letter service, our letter packet/LOR service will count as a committee letter, since it's coming from Laurie Goll, CHS Pre-Health Advisor.
  • Though our ideas for who to ask come from knowing what most schools require, it's important that students check each school they are applying to regarding letter of recommendation requirements.
    • For the primary AMCAS, AACOMAS and AADSAS applications that are submitted in early June, students don't need the letters. Simply indicate that you are using the MU LOR Service and enter Laurie Goll's information as the primary author. (It can get confusing if you enter any other information, so there is no need to enter your individual letter writer names on the primary applications.)