Composite Letter Services

Case Western Reserve University undergraduate students and recent alumni applying to medical or dental schools may apply for a Composite Letter Packet to be submitted by a healthcare careers advisor. The packet consists of individual letters of recommendation submitted to the Career Center from faculty, professional mentors and supervisors, and a letter of evaluation from a healthcare careers advisor.

Eligibility for a Composite Letter Packet

Only current CWRU undergraduate students and alumni who received their undergraduate degree from CWRU less than three years ago are eligible to apply for a Composite Letter Packet. Those who meet that criteria must have a cumulative undergraduate and science GPA of 3.0 or higher OR have completed an academic enhancer post-baccalaureate program with a GPA of 3.5 or higher to be eligible to apply for a Composite Letter Packet. Anyone who does not meet these guidelines is ineligible to apply for a Composite Letter Packet.

Required Letters of Recommendation

The Composite Letter Packet requires three letters of recommendation from CWRU faculty. Two faculty letters must come from STEM areas (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. NOTE: The best practice for STEM letter writers is always biology, chemistry, physics and math; medical schools are HIGHLY unlikely to consider subjects such as biomedical engineering and nutrition to be STEM for their purposes. 

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.

    First-Time Applicants that completed the Medical School Application and Preparation Canvas Course by the posted deadline and Re-Applicants for Composite Letter Packets will collect letters of recommendation through PrivateFolio.

    Create Your PrivateFolio Account

    1. Use the CWRU referral link to create your PrivateFolio account:
    2. Enter your information, choose a password, and press "Submit" to create your account.
    3. You will receive a confirmation email. Click on the confirmation link in this email, and then log in to your account using your email address and password.
    4. You will be asked to choose an account term. The cost for one year of access to PrivateFolio is $9.99; they also offer three years of access for $24.99, and five years of access for $37.99.

    Request Confidential Letters of Recommendation

    1. Log in to your PrivateFolio account.
    2. Under "Recommendation Letters", click on "Request a Letter."
    3. Fill in your letter writer's name and contact information, as well as a title for the document (e.g., Professor FIRST NAME, LAST NAME - Letter of Recommendation). This title will be visible to the writer and any institution you send deliveries to.
    4. You have the option of modifying the text of the request that will be sent to your letter writer. We highly recommend that you specify a due date for the letter and that it should be signed.
    5. Check the box indicating that you waive rights of access (this is required to ensure the confidentiality of letters).
    6. Click on "Submit."
    7. Your letter writer will receive an email with the details of your request and a link through which he or she can upload the letter.
    8. You will receive a confirmation email once the letter writer has submitted their letter to PrivateFolio and it is available. Our Healthcare Careers staff will also be able to view the letter.

    For additional guidance, visit the "Collecting Letters of Recommendation for Composite Letter Packets" page in the Canvas course.

    Application Requirements

    First-Time Applicants, including students who previously applied for a Composite Letter Packet but did NOT submit their primary application to medical or dental school:

    • Complete the Canvas Course (Attend live or watch recording of Composite Letter Info Session, Submit Pre-Application Self-Assessment, and get 80% or better on each quiz) by Jan. 5, 2024.
    • Submit application by Feb. 2, 2024
    • Complete Composite Letter Interview appointment after application submission by May 24, 2024

    Re-Applicants who applied to medical or dental school WITH a completed Composite Letter Packet in a previous cycle:

    • Submit application by May 24, 2024
    • If desired, complete optional Composite Letter Interview appointment by June 21, 2024

    Any students that fail to satisfy the above requirements will be ineligible to receive a Composite Letter Packet, but are strongly encouraged to proceed with the application process by requesting individual letters of recommendation through their respective application systems.

    Summary of Dates and Deadlines

    • Dec. 1, 2023: Application cycle opens
    • Jan. 5, 2024: Last day for First-Time Applicants to complete the Canvas Course (Complete Pre-Application Self-Assessment, quizzes, and view Composite Letter Info Session)
    • Feb. 2, 2024: Last day for First-Time Applicants to submit their applications
    • May 24, 2024: Last day for Re-Applicants to submit their applications AND Last day for First-Time Applicants to complete their Composite Letter Interview
    • June 3, 2024: Letters of Recommendation for First-Time Applicants due
    • June 21, 2024: Last day for Re-Applicants to complete optional Composite Letter Interview
    • June 28, 2024: Letters of Recommendation for Re-Applicants due
    • Aug. 10, 2024: Guaranteed Date for Composite Letter Packets to be submitted