Letters of Recommendation

Assembling Your Applications

The College of Charleston is committed to helping our qualified pre-health professions students gain admittance into professional schools. Many medical schools prefer a composite evaluation, in addition to letters of evaluation from individual evaluators. The composite evaluation can help an admissions committee better interpret the individual letters of evaluation as a whole and gives an overall perspective of a student from a particular institution. A confidential file can be started with your Health Professions Advisor, usually during the spring semester of either junior or senior years when you are ready to begin applying to professional schools.

Students who plan to apply to medical (both MD & DO) schools are encouraged to establish a confidential file with their Health Professions Advisor. Letters for other professional programs, including Dental, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health (PA,DPT, OT, Perfusion) are usually submitted electronically by the applicant as a part of the application process. A meeting with your Health Advisor prior to beginning your application is strongly recommended to ensure that your application is prepared properly and submitted in a timely manner. Applying EARLY is extremely important to this process. 

Once your file is complete, a letter packet will be generated by your Health Professions Advisor and will be submitted electronically to AMCAS or AACOMAS at your request to complete your application. This system is far superior to submitting your letters individually or through the mail. The letter packet is professional and timely and will be received within 24 hours after being submitted.

Edie Hering
Director, Pre-professional Health Advising

Office: School of Science and Mathematics Building (SSMB) Room 132
Phone: 853.953.6460

Establishing a Confidential File

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I. Confidential Letter File – to complete your file you must provide the following:

A1. Personal Data Sheet: This form needs to be submitted to the Health Advising office to establish your Confidential File. It is important that the contact information listed on the Personal Data Sheet is current. The Personal Data Sheet is the only form required to begin your file, all other information is for the applicant's use and does not need to be submitted. The outline is designed to help the student explore their experiences, character, and decision making process and can be used by the student to develop their personal statement for their professional school application.

A2. Faculty Evaluation Form: Contact a minimum of 3 evaluators to request letters of evaluation and no more than 5. You can request letters from outside evaluators, for example professionals you have shadowed, job supervisors and research mentors. Most medical schools require evaluations from two science professors and one academic non-science faculty. Some professional schools have specific guidelines, such as a letter from a DO is required for most Osteopathic Medical Schools. You should select your evaluators carefully. Make sure they know you well enough to feel comfortable writing a letter for you. They need to be able to evaluate not just your academic abilities but also your character and personality. It is your responsibility to see that your faculty evaluators have submitted their evaluations to the Health Advising Office. Make sure you sign the evaluation form indicating whether or not you waive your rights to review the evaluation before giving the form to the evaluator. Make sure to tell your evaluator to return the completed form, together with a letter written on professional stationery with their signature. The evaluator should return the form to the Director of Pre-professional Health Advising in a signed, sealed envelope or as a PDF attachment via email.

  1.  Transcript: Obtain unofficial copies of your transcript(s). You will need these to fill out your professional school applications. It is not necessary to submit copies for your file.
  2.  Photograph: Not required, but a personal photo may be attached to your personal data form. A professional photo is not necessary, a snapshot will be fine.

         II. Creating a Confidential Letter Packet

A. The Health Professions Advisor cannot create a Letter Packet until the file is complete.

1. It is your responsibility to see that all materials have been submitted and are in your file.

a. If you are applying for the Early Decision Program, your file must be complete by no later than June 30th. Many faculty members are not readily available during the summer; therefore, you should try to complete your file before the end of spring semester if possible.

b. Students applying for regular admission should have their file completed no later than June 30th of the year they are applying

2. As soon as your confidential file is complete, the Health Advisor will create your Letter Packet and create a PDF file to be distributed to the proper processing agencies and/or individual professional schools.

a. The Health Advisor creates a composite evaluation based on the completed evaluations submitted on the students behalf, along with a cover letter.

b. The Letter Packet includes the composite evaluation along with individual letters of recommendation submitted by faculty evaluators. The Letter Packet is forwarded to one of the central processing organizations and/or the individual professional school admission's office.

B. A student's Confidential file will be kept for 3 years.

1. You can have your Health Professions Letter Packet sent to a professional school by sending a written request to the Health Professions Advisor. Email requests to the Health Professions Advisor, Edie Hering.

a. Your written request should be sent to:

College of Charleston
School of Science and Mathematics
Director of Health Professions Advising
202 Calhoun St; Room 132
Charleston, SC 29424

2. If your file is complete, when you make your request, your letter packet will be submitted within 5 days. It is the responsiblity of the applicant to monitor the status of their application through AMCAS, AACOMAS and the individual medical schools.