Letters of Recommendation

Each student must submit at least FOUR and no more than SEVEN letters of reference from individuals. These letters should be from academic and professional sources.

  • One of the letters is REQUIRED to be from your clinical exposure to the health profession to which you are applying.
  • One of the letters is REQUIRED to be from a PhD level natural science faculty who has instructed you in class.
  • A second natural science faculty letter is strongly recommended as it is a common school requirement. 
  • A non-science faculty letter is recommended and is occasionally required by some schools. Please note the non-science letter does not need to be from a PhD level instructor. 
  • For students applying to MD/PhD or DO/PhD programs, one letter is required to be from a research experience.
  • Although becoming more rare, some DO medical schools may recommend or even require a letter from a DO physician. Check with the schools you are applying to. 
  • Other letters can be from research, employment, extracurriculars, community service, etc. Consider who knows you best in an academic or professional capacity.
  • Letters from family or close friends are strongly advised against.

In order to accept your application, at least four letters, including those that are specifically required, must be submitted and received by the deadline.

Tips for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

  • Give people a reasonable amount of time to write and submit. Three to four weeks would be a minimum. You don’t want your recommenders feeling pressured.
  • Have a meeting with the individual. Give them a resume and even a draft of your personal statement. Make it easy for them to write a comprehensive letter.
  • Follow up the request a few days later with a thank you note.
  • If letters have not been submitted, please contact the recommender politely, but promptly alert them to any pending deadlines. 

VE Collect for Letter Submission

Beginning with the Fall 2022 Prehealth Committee cycle, letters can only be submitted through VE Collect and only at the time that you are coming through the Prehealth Committee application or reapplication processes. We are no longer able to collect early letters for you. Please keep in mind that it is preferred to have letters dated closer to when you plan to apply so it is not at all necessary to get letters early, and we would encourage you to have a conversation with your potential recommenders about your application timeline. Most are willing to write a letter and keep it on file until the time you will need it for your application. If you have a concern about this, please contact us to discuss it further. 

You will still need to accurately list your recommenders in your Prehealth Committee application so that we can upload them there for the Committee to review. Similarly for reapplicants, an accurate list of recommenders must be listed in your addendum application. For all applicants - both current and reapplicants - even if they are submitted to VE Collect, if they are not listed in your application, they will not be included in your Committee packet. If you need to make any changes to this list after your application submission, email Amanda at alp25@buffalo.edu to assist you with the edits. 

Registering for VE Collect

VE Collect is free for active Prehealth Committee applicants and reapplicants. Within a few days of opening a Prehealth Committee application, Prehealth Advising will provide you with an authorization code for VE Collect. For reapplicants, once you submit an addendum application, you will either receive an authorization code if you have not previously used VE Collect, or have your previous account reactivated. You will then go to the VE Collect website to register your account by following these directions. 

  • Click “Register for Access” in the upper right corner.
  • Select NY for your state and continue. 
  • Select the University at Buffalo and continue.
  • On the registration page, enter the authorization code and fill out your information, except the application identification numbers (we will request those from you later in the cycle on a separate release form). Submit your registration.
  • Registrations are manually approved as quickly as possible, but please give us up to 5 business days.
  • Once you are approved and able to log in, there are instructional videos linked in orange and information that you should read. 
  • Please note that we will not use every step through VE Collect as we are still handling certain aspects ourselves within the Prehealth Advising office. 
  • We ask that you read ALL of the steps below first before getting started with adding your recommenders. 

Create Evaluators

  • Once logged in, click on “My Evaluators” at the top. 
  • Click on “Create New Evaluator Record” on the top right or the bottom of the page.
  • Enter the letter writer’s information and click on “Create Evaluator Record.”
  • Repeat this process for each letter writer. 

What About Letters Prehealth Already Has from Before Fall 2022?

  • If you had a letter sent in to Prehealth Advising under the old method prior to Fall 2022 and you have confirmed that we have it on file, please follow the directions below.
  • Click on “Create New Evaluator Record.”
  • Enter the letter writer’s name.
  • Use the Prehealth office’s contact information.
  • Address 1: 112 Capen
  • City: Buffalo
  • State: NY
  • Postal code: 14260
  • Evaluator Type: Other
  • Email: alp25@buffalo.edu
  • Phone: 716-645-6013
  • Prehealth Advising will upload it to VE Collect. 

What About Updates to Letters Already Received by VE Collect?

  • If you had a letter sent to VE Collect and then later want to request an updated version from your recommender, create a new evaluator record using all of their current contact information, but add the year after their last name. 
  • For example, if you already had a letter submitted to VE Collect from Jane Doe and she is going to submit an updated version in 2023, create a new record under Jane Doe 2023. 

IMPORTANT: Create Additional Evaluator for the Prehealth Committee

  • After you have added all your recommenders, create an additional evaluator entry for the Prehealth Committee. Input the information as listed below.
  • First Name: Prehealth
  • Last Name: Committee
  • Address 1: 112 Capen
  • City: Buffalo
  • State: NY
  • Postal code: 14260
  • Evaluator Type: Other
  • Email: alp25@buffalo.edu
  • Phone: 716-645-6013
  • This step is REQUIRED for any Prehealth Committee packet.

Create Letter Records for Evaluators

  • Once you have entered your recommenders, click on “My Evaluators” at the top.
  • You should see your list of recommenders. 
  • For each recommender, click on “Create New Letter Record.” 
  • Choose the type of professional school you are applying for from the drop down menu.
  • For those applying to MD schools, DO schools, or both, please choose “Medical School.” 
  • Read the FERPA statement. Professional schools strongly prefer confidential letters so we advise that you request a confidential evaluation. 
  • Type your name in the signature box and click on the “Create Letter Record” button.
  • Repeat for each evaluator, including the Prehealth Committee. 

Communicate with Your Evaluators - i.e., Send Your Letter Request

  • Click on “My Evaluators.”
  • Though UB allows letters to be submitted to VE Collect via direct upload or fax, the preferred method is a direct upload. The fax option is provided for recommenders who may have a more difficult time with the uploading technology. Check with each recommender to see which method they are comfortable with.
  • You will see both an envelope (for direct upload) or fax machine (for fax submission) icon under each evaluator name. 
  • Click on the icon for the submission method to be used. Only click on one for each evaluator. 
  • For submitting by upload, click on the envelope icon. Confirm by clicking OK and an email will be automatically sent to the recommender with submission directions. 
  • For submitting by fax, click on the fax machine icon. It will download a cover sheet with submission directions for you to give to your recommender. 
  • Repeat for each evaluator, including the Prehealth Committee. 
  • Note: If your evaluators indicate they have not received the email from VE Collect, have them check their junk folders. 

Tracking Your Letters

  • Click on “My Evaluators.”
  • If a letter has not been received yet, there will be a blank white box under that recommender’s name. 
  • If a letter has been received and uploaded, the box will contain the red Adobe symbol. 
  • Please note that it can take 1-3 business days after a letter has been received for it to be uploaded. You may want to discuss this with your recommenders so they can consider submitting a few days early.
  • If there is a delay in the upload, it may be that there is an issue with the letter and VE Collect is communicating with the recommender to resolve it. 
  • VE Collect can be contacted at help@virtualevals.org

Other Notes About VE Collect

  • Creating a "quiver" is optional, but it is essential that your list of recommenders is accurate in your application as that is what we will be using to complete your final packet. 
  • You do not need to “process” your letters and actually ask that if you do create a quiver, DO NOT LOCK your quiver. 
  • You are welcome to list the schools you are applying to by clicking on the My Institutions tab, but we do not require it.
  • You do not need to input your applicant ID numbers in VE Collect. We will ask for them later with your release form.
  • Questions? Email Amanda at alp25@buffalo.edu