CWRU undergraduate students and recent alumni applying to a professional health science schools may request a Composite Letter Packet to be submitted by the pre-medical or pre-health advisor. The packet consists of individual letters of recommendation submitted to Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education from faculty, professional mentors and supervisors, and a letter of evaluation from the pre-medical or pre-health advisor.
The Composite Letter Packet requires three letters of recommendation from CWRU faculty. Two faculty letters must come from STEM areas (e.g., biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics). At least one of these two letters must come from a STEM faculty member who has taught a course in which you were enrolled. The third faculty letter must come from a non-STEM area, such as the arts, humanities, social sciences or business.
Up to two additional letters may be submitted for inclusion in the letter packet. These optional letters may come from additional faculty members (CWRU or non-CWRU), primary investigators and research mentors, health professionals you have shadowed, advisors or supervisors.
All letters of recommendation submitted to Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education should be accompanied by the Letter of Recommendation Submission Form linked below. Submitted letters will be held in a confidential file and will only be shared with professional health school admissions committees upon a student’s request via the Composite Letter Request Form.
- Composite Letter Request Form: First-time Applicant
- Composite Letter Request Form: Re-applicant
- Letter of Recommendation Submission Form
- PRE-DENTAL STUDENTS: Composite Letter Request Form for first-time applicants (Sign in to Handshake to access the electronic form)
- PRE-DENTAL STUDENTS: Composite Letter Request Form for re-applicants (Sign in to Handshake to access the electronic form)
For the 2020-21 Application Cycle
To guarantee the Composite Letter Packet is submitted by Aug. 3, 2020, the Composite Letter Request Form and accompanying documents must be received by Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education by March 6, 2020, and letters of recommendation by June 1, 2020. The latest date (no exceptions) this form will be accepted, but without a guaranteed submission date, for the 2020-2021 application cycle is June 22, 2020.
Faculty and Other Letter Writers
Letters of recommendation are a critical component of the admissions process for professional health science school applicants. Professional health science schools appreciate letters from individuals who are in a position to judge the student's ability to be successful in their programs, which includes academic capabilities and personal characteristic and skills. If a recommender can include specifics on academic and non-academic competencies, it will help the professional school admission committees evaluate the student's readiness and fit for their programs. For helpful information on what to include in an effective letter of recommendation, please review AMCAS's Letter Service for Advisors and Other Letter Authors. Although this AMCAS resource is directed at letters of recommendation for MD medical schools, the principles presented can be applied to any letter for a professional health science program.
When letters of recommendation are submitted to Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education for a student’s Composite Letter Packet or directly to a professional health science application service or school, be sure that it is written on department/office letterhead, dated, addressed to the “Admissions Committee” and includes your signature.
Although students may retain their FERPA access rights to letters of recommendation that are submitted to Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education, it is strongly encouraged that letters be submitted confidentially by having the student waive such rights. Selection committees tend to view confidential letters as having greater credibility and assign them greater weight. They place less value in letters that the applicant has seen, as it is assumed that the author is less forthcoming than if the reference is confidential. Not only can this be true in regards to letter-writers withholding potential concerns, but some authors feel less inhibited in their praise of students in confidential letters. Furthermore, many admissions officers have stated that they find a confidential letter a display of confidence on the part of the applicant.