Where do I Send Letters of Recommendations?


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Session 42

During the application process, you need to have letters of recommendations submitted to go along with your app. Let’s talk about where to have those sent. Once you’ve asked somebody for that strong letter of recommendation, what do you do with them next?

There are a couple different scenarios at play here.So I’m breaking down several of the most common ways to collect these letters of recommendation and you choose which one works best for your specific situation.

By the way, the episodes in this podcast are recordings of our Facebook Live that we do at 3pm Eastern on most weekdays. Check out our Facebook page and like the page to be notified. Also, listen to our other podcasts on MedEd Media. If you’re interested in learning about different specialities, listen to the Specialty Stories Podcast.

[00:41] Situation #1: Your School’s Pre-Health Office

You’re at a university as an undergrad or you’re a nontraditional student  and you still have access to your pre-health office. If they offer a committee letter service, usually you would have your letters of recommendation sent to your pre-health office. They will have this letter submission service. You give the address of the pre-health office to your letter writer. And the letter writer sends the sealed letter to the office. You’re not supposed to see these letters.

If you’re a nontraditional student and if you still have access depending on your pre-health office if they allow you to use their services still, then you can use their service.

If your school doesn’t offer a committee letter, they may still offer a letter of recommendation service. They’ll hold on to the letters for you and once you’re ready to submit your applications, they’ll help you submit the letters to the different application services.

[02:31] Situation #2: A Third-Party Service

If you’re applying through AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, there are services out there, including Interfolio, being one of the biggest out there. Just like a pre-health office, they will hold on to your letters of recommendation. You just pay around $20 per a year. Just log in and say you want a letter from this certain doctor. They will then send the doctor an email saying you’re asking for a letter of recommendation and they’d list down what the letter writer needs to do. Then the writer sends the letter to Interfolio and then the service will take care of everything and your letters get submitted. It’s a cool service actually!

[03:31] Situation #3: Direct to the Application Services

This is probably the riskiest way which is to have letters sent directly to AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS, etc. When you submit directly to those services, first, you have to wait for the application to open up to be able to get the proper identification numbers and everything else. So when your letter writer submits the letter of recommendation, it goes to the proper file. If you’re waiting that long for a letter of recommendation, then it gets risky having your application delayed because those letters aren’t submitted. Or you could have asked back in February, ask them to write your letter but they don’t have to submit it until June.

'If you're waiting that long for a letter of recommendation, then it gets risky having your application delayed because those letters aren't submitted.'Click To Tweet

And guess what a normal person is going to do if you say that you don’t have to submit it until June? They’re not going to write it until June. Hopefully, they’ll still remember and that you have the proper followup to make sure they’re doing it. You have to be careful with that process.

The other problem with this process is that the same letter writer now has to write three different letters if you’re applying to all three application services. If your letter writer submits directly to the application services, they’d have to submit one to AMCAS, one to AACOMAS, and one to TMDSAS. Whereas if they submit one to Interfolio, then the system can just transmit one letter to all three application services.

'To make it easy on your letter writer, using a service like Interfolio is great.'Click To Tweet

Links:

Interfolio

MedEd Media

Specialty Stories Podcast

Medical School HQ Facebook page

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