This page is a work in progress. It is intended as a resource for faculty who are new to pre-health letter writing. Please send your suggestions/corrections to holland@csus.edu.

Things to consider:

  • Do you know the student well enough to write a letter for him/her?  If not, you should be honest with them and give them suggestions as to whom they should use (other faculty who know them better, etc.).  Students often think that just because they earned a passing grade in a class that the instructor will be able to write them a strong letter. 
  • Is the student asking for an individual or committee letter? 
    • Most medical and dental schools prefer committee letters but this is variable.
  • Letter writing advice

Individual letter 

Students' are advised to provide to their letter writers:

  • The name of each school, with deadline for receipt of letter
  • Stamped, addressed envelopes (faculty may need to provide University envelopes to students) 
  • A copy of the student's personal statement

Faculty may also want to talk to the student while preparing to write a letter.

Committee letter 

Students need someone to chair their committee. Typically this will be their pre-professional advisor. Plan on meeting with your advisee in late spring or summer to give feedback on their application, and plan the committee interview (for late summer or early fall). Based on the application, past interactions, the interview, and letters from other professionals familiar with the student, the chair will write the first draft of the letter and email it to the other committee members for feedback.

Chair check list

  • Meet with your advisee in late spring or summer to give feedback on their application
  • Make sure the interview occurs well in advance of the deadlines for the secondary applications so that you have time to write the letter 
  • Write the letter (with advisory assistance from the other committee members)
  • Submit to the schools the committee letter plus copies of the outside letters (if appropriate; schools vary), as the student is notified of secondary application requests