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Office of Undergraduate Studies

Letter Writing Services

Letter Writing Services

CWRU undergraduate students and recent alumni who are applying to a professional health science schools may request a Composite Letter Packet to be submitted by the Pre-Medical Advisor, Wesley Schaub, or Dean Steven Scherger. The packet consists of individual letters of recommendation submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies from faculty, professional mentors and supervisors, and a letter of evaluation from Mr. Schaub or Dean Scherger.

Students

The Composite Letter Packet requires the inclusion of three letters of recommendation from CWRU faculty. Two of the faculty letters must come from STEMM areas (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine). At least one of these two letters must come from a STEMM faculty member who has taught a course in which you were enrolled. The third faculty letter must come from a non-STEMM 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, or supervisors.

All letters of recommendation submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies should be accompanied by the Letter of Recommendation Submission Form. 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.

For the 2018-2019 Application Cycle

To guarantee the Composite Letter Packet is submitted by Aug. 1, 2018, the Composite Letter Request Form and accompanying documents must be received by the Office of Undergraduate Studies by March 9, 2018, and letters of recommendation by June 1, 2018. The latest date (no exceptions) this form will be accepted, but without a guaranteed submission date, for the 2018-2019 application cycle is July 2, 2018.

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. To the extent a recommender can include specifics on academic and non-academic competencies, it will be 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 the brochure is directed at letters or recommendation for MD medical schools, the principles presented can be applied to any letter for a professional health science program.)

Whenever submitting a letter of recommendation to the Office of Undergraduate Studies 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.

Questions regarding the letter-writing process should be directed to Mr. Schaub or Dean Scherger.

Letter Confidentiality

Although students may retain their FERPA access rights to letters of recommendation that are submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 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.