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Committee Letters and Recommendations

Health Professions Advisory Committee

Professional health programs, like medical schools, value committee letters because they provide an integrated and institutional perspective on an applicant’s readiness for graduate school. These letters provide a comprehensive evaluation of applicants based on direct observation and the synthesis of information provided by faculty and others at an institution. This integrated perspective provides unique and valuable information about applicants.

Moravian University students and alumni have the opportunity to participate in the Health Professions Advisory Committee and receive an institutional letter of recommendation. This process is held in the spring before health professions admissions cycles typically start. Applicants must attend a mandatory information session to learn about the process and what to expect.

Resources of letter writers

Have you been contacted by a student about writing a letter of recommendation and you aren't sure what to include? Below is information from the Association of American Medical Colleges on the Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommendation.

Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation
1) Provide an accurate assessment of the applicant’s suitability for medical school rather than advocate for the applicant.

2) Briefly explain your relationship with the applicant:

How long have you known the applicant?
In what capacity have you interacted (e.g., faculty, premedical advisor, supervisor)?
Are your observations of the applicant direct or indirect?

3) Quality of information is more important than letter length. Focus on the applicant rather than details of the lab, course, assignment, job, or institution.

4) Only include information on grades, GPA, or MCAT scores if you also provide context to help interpret them. Grades, GPA, and MCAT scores are already available within the application.

5) Focus on behaviors you have observed directly when describing an applicant’s suitability for medical school. Consider describing:

The situation or context of the behaviors.
The actual behaviors you observed.
Any consequences of the behaviors.

6) Ask the applicant for permission if you plan to include any information that could be considered potentially private or sensitive.

7) Consider including unique contributions that an applicant would bring to an incoming class, such as:

Obstacles that the applicant had to overcome and how those obstacles have led to new learning and growth.
Contributions that an applicant would bring to a medical school’s diversity, broadly defined (e.g., background, attributes, experiences).

8) Admissions committees find comparison information helpful. If you make comparisons, be sure to provide context. Include information about:

The comparison group (e.g., students in a class you taught, students in your department, co-workers).
Your rationale for the comparison.