Letters of Evaluation
Whether you have the intellectual capacity to do the work of your profession will become clear to the admissions committee when they receive your undergraduate transcript and the scores from your national standardized test. However, there are other qualities on which you will be judged, such as motivation, maturity, perseverance, judgment, compassion, integrity, interpersonal and communication skills, and the potential for continuing intellectual and professional growth.
You can expect that, after initial screening, admission committees will require letters of evaluation. The more personalized and specific the evaluation is, the more valuable it can be for you. Therefore, it is your benefit to get to know well a few faculty members, in order to fulfill this requirement when the time comes to apply to professional schools.
Hofstra uses a composite evaluation prepared by our health professions advisory committee. This method uses letters of evaluation from faculty members chosen by the applicant, with summary comments and ratings prepared by the Pre-Health advisor. Additionally, a waiver form should be completed by you that states you are giving up your right to see faculty member recommendations and that all were written confidentially.
In gathering your faculty evaluations, the most important factor is that your evaluator knows you well and is not going to submit a generalized, impersonal letter written for all his/her high-achieving students.
Here are some guidelines:
The LEAST helpful evaluations are those which are:
- A repetition of information from application
- Unsubstantiated superlatives, vague generalities
- Descriptions of grade in ONE particular class (suggests not knowing student very well)
- Irrelevant information (family connections, religious beliefs)
The MOST helpful evaluations are those which comment on:
- Academic Ability
- classroom behavior
- work ethic
- Personality Characteristics
- common sense
- problem-solving ability
- Social Skills
- interpersonal and communication skills
- ability to interact in groups and establish peer relationships
- altruism / service to others
- Relevant Experience
- exposure to the profession
- Overall Suitability for Health/Medical Career
- Who the applicant is as a person
As you are considering which faculty to ask for letters of recommendation, keep in mind the following:
- Ask professors/faculty that can speak to your academic abilities and personal strengths.
- Ensure that you have a diversity of academic fields represented among your recommenders. (i.e. make sure you ask for recommendations from professors in the humanities, social and natural sciences, etc).
- Consider the time it will take a professor to write your recommendation, given his/her other commitments. Make sure to give your professor ample time for submission.
- Make an appointment with the professor you intend to ask for recommendations to make sure your request has been received. Bring along your updated resume, transcript, personal statement, and any other materials that may be helpful to the professor to learn more about you and your interest in pursuing medical school.
Letters of recommendations coming from outside of campus can be mailed to:
Attn: Ellen Miller, Pre-Health Advisor
The Center for University Advisement
101 Memorial Hall
Hempstead, New York 11549