1 Drexel Drive
New Orleans, LA 70125
- Full-Time Staff
- Ms. Quo Vadis M. Webster, MA, LPC
- Director of Premedical Program
(504) - 520-7437
Advice For Xavier Premeds about Collecting Letters of Evaluation and Sending them to Health Professions Schools, Research Programs, Summer Programs, etc. (Updated 7/12/16)
This document is one in a series designed to provide instructions to XU premedical students for collecting and/or forwarding letters of evaluation (a.k.a. letters of recommendation).
The Premedical Office encourages students who are applying to summer programs and medical, dental, etc. school to have their individual letters of evaluation (a.k.a. letters of recommendations) filed in the Premedical Office so that students can utilize the Premedical Office's service for sending evaluations to schools or programs. However, if you prefer to have your evaluators bypass the Premedical Office and send your evaluations directly to summer programs or health professions schools, you are free to do so. Be advised that the Premedical Office does NOT write composite or committee letters of evaluation.
Faculty, staff, and other individuals are NOT required to write letters of evaluation. Therefore, since you are asking for a favor, be VERY nice when asking AND be considerate by giving evaluators adequate time to write the evaluations (at least eight (8) weeks before the evaluations are DUE). Do not ASSUME that an evaluator will agree to write your evaluation: ASK FIRST!!! AND, if a potential evaluator is not willing or able to write a letter of evaluation on your behalf, kindly thank him/her then ask someone else. NOTE: If someone takes the time to write an evaluation on your behalf, please show your sincerest gratitude with a formal "Thank You" note.
When considering which faculty members you should ask to write evaluations, reflect on the following questions: 1) Did you make a grade of "B" or better (preferable) in the course? and 2) How would this faculty member evaluate you beyond classroom performance (i.e. observations and impressions of you based on behaviors in and outside of the classroom)? NOTE: Faculty impressions of you beyond the grade you earn in a course may impact how you are viewed as a future health professional and may therefore impact whether or not you are viewed as a favorable candidate. Always be mindful of how you perform academically AND how you behave pre-professionally. Regardless of the setting----be it a classroom at Xavier, a hospital, a research lab at a medical school----your overall demeanor, interaction with others, attendance, attentiveness, preparedness, appearance (e.g. clothing worn to class/lab), activity on social media, etc. are ALL being observed. Don't allow poor judgement to make others questions whether or not you would be a good physician, dentist, or other health professional.
IF an evaluator AGREES to write an evaluation on your behalf, we encourage you to him/her send the evaluation directly to the Premedical Office rather than the individual school or program, UNLESS a) you do not want to use the Premedical Office's letter storing and transmitting services or b) the school or program REQUIRES the completion of an online form or special paper form. If your evaluations are filed in the Premedical Office, you will receive an email notifying you of receipt; once the evaluation has been filed in the Premedical Office, you should follow our instructions, detailed below, for submitting the Send Evaluation Form
- We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE students to waive their right to see letters of evaluation that are written on their behalf. Why? First, medical and other professional schools will put little weight on evaluations that they know students have access to (i.e. the evaluator may be less prone to give an honest and thorough evaluation of a student if that student retains his/her right to view the evaluation). And second, many prospective evaluators will NOT write letters of evaluation unless the student waives his/her right to see the evaluation. If you would like to utilize the Premedical Office's letter storing and transmitting services, you must waive your right to see any evaluations that are filed in the Premedical Office on your behalf by completing the Evaluation Waiver Form (submit only ONCE to the PM Office where it will remain in your file throughout enrollment at Xavier).
Types of Evaluation and Transmission Methods
- Typically, summer programs and medical, dental, etc. schools require letters of evaluation from two (2) faculty members who taught you in the sciences (BCPM=Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math) and one (1) faculty member who taught you a non-BCPM course. In addition to these required evaluations, it is okay to also secure letters of evaluation from research mentors, volunteer supervisors, etc. and have them forwarded to the Premedical Office to be placed in your file. Be advised that the Premedical Office does NOT write composite or committee letters of evaluation. NOTE: Some medical, dental, etc. schools will require a letter of evaluation from a clinician (e.g. physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, veterinarian, podiatrist, physical therapist, etc.). It is imperative that you periodically review the evaluation requirements for the schools that you are interested in applying to so that you can secure the required evaluations in a timely fashion.
LSU-Shreveport and LSU-New Orleans Medical School Applicants: If you requesting letters of evaluation for application to MEDICAL SCHOOL and will be applying to LSU-NO, be advised that you will need three (3) evaluations from faculty members who taught you at least BCPM LECTURE (cannot have ONLY taught you BCPM lab); additionally, if you are applying to LSU-Shreveport, your letters cannot be dated PRIOR TO MAY 1st of the year in which the application cycle starts (e.g. if you are applying in 2017 for entry in in 2018, your letter cannot be dated prior to May 1, 2017). Go to http://www.lsuhscshreveport.edu/Admissions/Requirements.aspx for LSU-Shreveport's detailed requirements for evaluations (i.e. letters of recommendation).
Listed below are the types of letters of evaluation that Xavier premeds usually COLLECT
from faculty, staff, and other individuals:
- Letter of evaluation, written on letterhead in standard "letter" format, for a non-specific school or program. If you secure a general, non-specific "summer program," "medical school," etc. letter of evaluation and have it filed in the Premedical Office, you can use the letter to support your applications to MULTIPLE programs or schools.
- Program or school-specific paper evaluation/recommendation form. Some schools/programs REQUIRE the completion of a special paper form. If the program/school does NOT require the completion of a specific form, it is okay to submit a non-specific evaluation written on letterhead for a summer program, medical school, etc.
- Program or school-specific online evaluation/recommendation form. Some programs and professional schools (e.g. optometry school, podiatry school, etc.) REQUIRE the completion of an online form by the evaluator. If an evaluator agrees to complete such a form, it is IMPERATIVE that you give him/her instructions for doing so.
Listed below are the methods by which Xavier premeds may SEND
letters of evaluation to programs or schools:
- Ask the evaluator to submit the evaluation/recommendation directly to the Premedical Office, where it will be securely stored and transmitted to programs/schools, at your request, by Premedical Office staff. This method is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by the Premedical Office. Instructions for having evaluations that are on file in the Premedical Office sent to programs/schools are provided below.
- Ask the evaluator to submit the evaluation/recommendation directly to the program/school by mail, email, or fax. If you want the evaluator, not the Premedical Office, to transmit your evaluation to program/school, be sure to give him/her detailed instructions for doing so on the Evaluation Cover Letter .
- Ask the evaluator to submit the evaluation/recommendation form directly to the program/school ONLINE. Some programs and professional schools (e.g. optometry school, podiatry school, etc.) REQUIRE the completion of an online form by the evaluator. If an evaluator agrees to complete such a form, it is IMPERATIVE that you give him/her detailed instructions for doing so on the Evaluation Cover Letter .
Special note about summer programs: Although many summer enrichment and research programs have special evaluation forms, most will accept a non-specific program letter written on letterhead in lieu of a program-specific form. Therefore, whenever possible, instead of giving evaluators multiple forms to complete for multiple programs,it is probably a good idea to ask your evaluator to write ONE non-specific "summer program," "research program," "medical school," etc. letter on your behalf. That way, if you have the letter filed in the Premedical Office, the original letter will be retained and copied/scanned as many times as needed for transmission via fax, mail, or email to schools or programs at your request. NOTE: If the school or program REQUIRES the use of a special recommendation or evaluation form (paper or online), you will have to ask your evaluator if he/she would be willing to complete the form on your behalf. If the evaluator agrees, give him/her very specific instructions for completing and submitting the form to the school or program.
Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) Applicants:
If SHPEP is the ONLY summer program you are applying to for the upcoming summer, we recommend that you ask the evaluator to complete the SHPEP Recommendation Form
instead of writing a letter on letterhead. Why? Because a relatively LARGE number of Xavier students apply to SHPEP, and we do not want to place the extra burden of writing a letter of evaluation on letterhead for SHPEP if you are only apply to that one program.***REPEATING***If you are ONLY applying to SHPEP, let the faculty member know that it is okay for him/her to just complete the special SHPEP Recommendation Form instead of taking the time to write an actual letter on letterhead. Be sure to attach the SHPEP Recommendation Form to your completed Evaluation Cover Letter
Instructions for COLLECTING Letters of Evaluation
- To get an evaluation from faculty, staff, or other individual (e.g. research mentors, supervisor, etc.):
Complete and submit the Evaluation Waiver Form to the PM Office to be placed in your file. You need only submit the Evaluation Waiver Form to the PM Office ONCE...it will suffice as long as your evaluations are on file in the PM Office.
- ASK the prospective evaluator NICELY if he/she is willing to write an evaluation on your behalf.
- If he/she agrees, complete the Evaluation Cover Letter (copies available in the PM Office).
- Give the a) completed Evaluation Cover Letter , b) a critiqued/revised Personal Statement [for Juniors this means the personal statement that you should be AGGRESSIVELY revising to include on your medical, dental, etc. school application], c) a critiqued/revised Post-Secondary Experiences Form, and d) Program-specific recommendation form IF such a form is required by the school/program OR if SHPEP is the only summer program you are applying to. NOTE: Please be sure to CORRECTLY SPELL each evaluator's name when you complete the Evaluation Cover Letter (for Xavier faculty and staff, review the Campus Directory).
- If you indicated on the Evaluation Cover Letter that you would like the evaluation/recommendation submitted to the Premedical to be stored in your file, you will receive a confirmation email from the Premedical Office as soon as the letter is received.
Instructions for SENDING Letters of Evaluation on File in the Premedical Office to Programs/Schools
- If you are currently enrolled in classes at XU:
- Complete (print clearly) the Send Evaluation Form (copies available in PM Office).
- If the program/school gives you a special "cover" form to include with your evaluations, complete your part and then attach it to your completed Send Evaluation Form so we can include it with your evaluation when we forward it to a school or program; if you are sending an evaluation that was written on department letterhead to SHPEP (as opposed to the SHPEP Recommendation Form), you must complete the student portion (i.e. 1st page) of the SHPEP Rec Form (available on your SHPEP web application) and submit it with your completed Send Evaluation Form.
- Put the completed Send Evaluation Form and any special "cover forms" you'd like attached to your evaluations in the "IN" basket in the Premedical Office.
- You will receive a confirmation email from the Premedical Office as soon as your Send Evaluation Form is processed.
- If you are NOT currently enrolled in classes at XU: You may request to have evaluations sent to a program/school by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email request must include...
- Your full name.
- The program/school name and the mailing address, email address, or fax number you'd like the evaluations, that you have on file in the Premedical Office, sent to.
- The names of all the evaluations you'd like sent to the program/school.
- SENIOR PREMEDS and ALUMNI: To get evaluations already on file in the Premedical Office sent to schools via AMCAS, AADSAS, AACOMAS or another application service (OR to individual graduate or post-bacc programs)...
- Make sure you have completed and submitted the Evaluation Waiver Form to the PM Office to be placed in your file. You need only submit the Evaluation Waiver Form to the PM Office ONCE...it will suffice as long as your evaluations are on file in the PM Office.
- Applicants to medical, dental, graduate etc. schools should NOT use the "Send Evaluation Form" to have professional/graduate school evaluations transmitted to application services or directly to schools (where applicable); instead, you should follow our instructions (sent out to applicants who are on the appropriate email list serve when applications open in MAY) to submit your request to the PM Office at email@example.com.
- Very specific instructions are sent to medical, dental, etc. school applicants when application services begin opening in May, so it is IMPERATIVE that you have a working email address on file in the PM Office and that you are being advised with the correct application class!!!
- Advice Regarding Online Letter of Evaluation Forms: If a school or program requires the completion of an ONLINE evaluation (e.g. OptomCAS, SOPHAS, VMCAS, CASPA, PTCAS), the Premedical Office CANNOT complete such an evaluation on your behalf; instead, you will have to ask the faculty member if he/she would be willing to complete the online evaluation. NOTE: If the program will accept a letter of evaluation written on department letterhead in lieu of the online evaluation, you should follow our regular instructions for sending evaluations by email, fax, or mail.
- Special Instructions for Students Collecting Evaluations for AMCAS, AADSAS, and Other Health Professions Schools Applications: During November of junior year, prospective professional school applicants are encouraged to complete the One-on-One Letters of Evaluation Meeting with a premedical adviser to discuss which faculty they will secure medical, dental, etc. school letters of evaluation from. Click the appropriate link(s) for details regarding the process of securing evaluations for specific application services: AMCAS (MD), AACOMAS (DO), TMDSAS (MD, DO, Dental Schools in Texas), AADSAS (Dental), OptomCAS (Optometry), PTCAS (Physical Therapy), CASPA (Physician Assistant), SOPHAS (Public Health), and VMCAS (Veterinary).
- Special Instructions for Senior Premeds: Seniors who need evaluations that have been filed in the Premedical Office sent to medical, dental, graduate etc. schools should NOT use the "Send Evaluation Form"; instead, these students are given very detailed SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS via email (during the summer they apply) regarding the appropriate way to have evaluations on file in the PM Office transmitted to professional or graduate school programs.
- Finally, if you are accepted into a summer program, professional school, etc., write formal "Thank You" notes (if you hadn't already) to the faculty who wrote evaluations for you, indicating which program(s) you were accepted into. You may need to ask them for another favor later.