Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendations may be requested at any time during the undergraduate years or beyond.  For example, a student majoring in the humanities may want to request science recommendations directly after completing science courses, or a student who has worked well with a professor might ask for a letter before the faculty member leaves on sabbatical.  Please understand, gathering letters early is not necessary, and in general it may be wisest to wait and see who knows you best when you’re actually ready to apply to health professional school.  However, if you do have individual reasons for requesting a letter early in your college years, ask that the individual complete the Early Recommendation Letter Request Form, making sure to complete the name and class year portion of the form before giving it to him/her.  Your recommender will then attach this form to his/her letter and send it directly to HPA, where it will wait in your file until you are ready to use it.    In order to maintain the confidentiality of your letters, —something health professional schools value greatly, you will also need to waive your right of access to those letters.  You will do this in the Committee Letter Application, and record of this will be kept safely on file should an individual request proof of your waived rights.   

Also suggested to give to your recommenders, if you think they may help:

2015 Applicants to Medical & Dental School

Request at least four letters of recommendation from faculty members and others who know you.  Please ask that the individuals complete the Recommendation Letter Request Form for 2015 Applicants, making sure to complete the name and class year portion of the form before giving it to him/her.  Your recommender will then attach this form to his/her letter and send it directly to HPA, where it will wait in your file until you are ready to use it.  

Also, if you are applying to allopathic (MD) medical school, your recommenders will probably appreciate seeing the AAMC's Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant.  We strongly suggest you include a link to these guidelines in an email to your recommenders or print out the pages at this link and deliver them to your recommenders personally.​


At least two of your letters need to be from science instructors, including at least one from someone who taught you science at F&M.  Others who can write on your behalf certainly include non-science faculty as well as advisers, administrators, deans/dons/prefects, physicians, coaches, chaplains, supervisors of campus or summer jobs, those who have known you in volunteer positions, those who have observed your work in elected offices, and those who have observed your work in a hospital or in research.  The total number of recommendations should not exceed six.  Since we do require that at least four recommendations be submitted by May 1, 2014, you will need to ask for more than a total of four if, for instance, someone teaching you in the spring prefers to write for you after you have completed the semester.  Letters arriving later will be sent as supplemental to your committee letter and may/may not have impact.  Remember:  It is your responsibility to follow up on your recommendations and to complete your file on time.  We will not write your committee letter until we have four recommendation letters, including one from an F&M science professor.  Also, please note:  We write letters only for F&M students and alumni who have taken at least some of their pre-health coursework at F&M and who have at least one F&M science letter among their collection of letters.

If you make any revisions to the list of expected recommenders that you submitted before your PAI, please make sure to update that information by contacting HPA.

Submit to our office before July 3, 2014:  A final, verified copy of your AMCAS, TMDSAS, and/or AADSAS application including the list of designated schools.  Your file will not be complete until we have received a copy of this processed application, and we will not be able to send your committee letter until you have completed this step.  For all deadlines regarding the application process, see the 2015 Applicant Checklist.

2015 Applicants to Veterinary School

Although the process of applying to vet school is similar to that for medical and dental school, there are a few significant differences to be aware of as an applicant.  We urge you to review vet school websites early and frequently during the application process in order to check up on prerequisite courses, deadlines, and other announcements unique to each vet school.  Remember to keep in contact with Ms. Kirby and feel free to ask him questions.  You will have your recommenders submit letters of evaluation electronically via the “eLOR” (electronic letter of recommendation) system within your VMCAS application.  As you will see when you visit www.aavmc/vmcas and click on “Evaluations” under “Application Resources,” vet schools vary a great deal when it comes to their letter preferences.  Make sure to consult the “evaluation requirement chart” available under “Evaluations.”  Also, please note, that while some vet schools accept committee letters, it has been our experience that vet schools prefer individual letters of recommendation.  Feel free to discuss this further with Ms. Kirby if you like.  

2015 Applicants to Other Health Professional Schools

If you are applying to PA school, PT programs, pharmacy schools, or other health professional programs, please follow the very specific instructions for letters of recommendation available to you both on the websites for individual schools and the application service (or “CAS”) that oversees the process.  If you have any questions or concerns, please check in with Ms. Kirby.

"Recommendation" vs. "Evaluation"

Some health professional schools refer to letters of support as “recommendations” and some “evaluations.”  When applying to allopathic medical school through AMCAS, for instance, applicants will encounter “letters of evaluation.”  While we acknowledge that there is a slight difference in mission between a recommendation and an evaluation, we use the term “recommendation” to keep the information here as generalized and simple as possible.  MD applicants should consider the terms interchangeable.