Medical School Committee Letters of Recommendation 101
Some schools provide pre-med students with the option of having a medical school committee letter. A medical school committee letter, which is written by a faculty member or a pre-med advisor at your school, summarizes the comments from all your recommendation letters. Visit the AAMC website for more information about a committee letter vs. a traditional letter of rec. If your school will write a committee letter for you, take advantage of this opportunity! It can also hurt if your school usually writes committee letters and you don’t submit one.
From the perspective of interviewers and medical school admissions committees, a medical school committee letter provides an efficient and comprehensive picture of your strengths and your overall candidacy. Additionally, the medical school committee letter can help contextualize any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your academic performance. Medical School Committee letters, however, must be completed very early, usually the spring before your applications are due. If you want to use a medical school committee letter, you’d better start early!
Each school will have its own process for writing medical school committee letters. Generally, one faculty member will be assigned to your file, will interview you, and will then be responsible for drafting your medical school committee letter. Make sure you are aware of your school’s committee letter deadlines and ensure that your individual medical school recommendation letters are written before the school’s deadline.
If you’re worried about the committee letter or other letters of recommendation email us at email@example.com
Advantages of Using a Medical School Committee Letter
1. A Committee Letter forces you to get your medical school recommendation letters earlier
This may be seen as a downside to some because of the additional stress it will heap on, but mark our words, earlier is always better! Being forced to start early, however painful it may be, will only create an advantage later on. Plus, some Universities offer to send all your Letters of Recommendation to AMCAS and your medical schools, so you don’t have to worry about coordinating all the snail mail with your letter writers!
2. Committee Letters are good for summarizing who you are as a medical school applicant
The general nature of the committee letter make them good for getting a holistic view of you as an applicant. This can be especially good if you don’t think you did a good enough job of creating that holistic image in other parts of your application.
3. Committee Letters help explain extenuating circumstances to medical schools
Having a faculty member vouch for you in a letter and explain away some critical shortcomings is a great way to shore up extenuating circumstances or ease medical school admissions committees into overlooking certain red flags, like a low GPA one semester, or a low grade in a key science course. Make sure you speak to these extenuating circumstances in your interview so that the explanation will be reflected in your committee letter.
4. Schools will often copy and paste the best lines and qualities about you
One of our mottos here at Cracking Med School Admissions is: don’t ever hesitate to let other people sing your praises! Take advantage of the fact that a medical school committee letter is essentially an elevator pitch about you from a reputable source. The sales value of a committee letter should never be overlooked when applying to medical school.
Remember, if your school has a committee letter and you don’t submit one, this will reflect negatively on your medical school application. So do your research, and make sure to budget enough time to ask for committee letters from your favorite faculty member or adviser in advance!
Here at Cracking Med School Admissions, we can help with the strategy of approaching faculty for committee letters and in general helping to select the best people to write you glowing letters of recommendation. Feel free to ask a question below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to help!