Information for Letter Writers

Thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for a prehealth applicant. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of an application to health professional schools. Your candid evaluation of an applicant’s abilities and potential will greatly aid in our evaluation, as well as in the admission process for the health professional schools.

Below are some resources that we hope will assist you in the letter writing process. If you have any additional questions, please contact our letter coordinator, Carl Lam, at carllam@buffalo.edu or 716-645-6012.

Best Practices for Letters of Recommendation

Before writing any letter of recommendation, each applicant should provide you with a signed waiver statement that specifies whether they are requesting the content of the letter to be confidential or non-confidential. A waiver form, that should accompany this form, must be submitted with the actual letter.

Letters of recommendation written by faculty members and practicing professionals who know the applicant well are of particular importance to this file and for the professional health schools. The purpose of your letter of recommendation is to share your insights regarding the applicant’s character, motivations, and specific abilities that would be of value in the professional health system. If possible, meet with the student in person before writing a letter on their behalf. You as the writer should know the applicant well and have a good sense as to their achievements academically, professionally and/or personally. Schools and our committee value your perspectives.

Most Helpful

  • Relationship with applicant, period of time and what capacity.
  • Applicant’s intellectual readiness and maturity for health professional schools.
  • Difficulty of coursework or experience of applicant.
  • Applicant’s special attributes and assets academically, professionally and personally.
  • Comparison of applicant to other applicants you have recommended.
  • Specific examples or supporting circumstances.

Least Helpful

  • Repetition of grades, information on applicant’s transcript.
  • Positive recommendation without specific examples or supporting circumstances.
  • References to applicant’s appearance.
  • Referencing specific school(s) where applicant is applying (e.g. UB).

The University at Buffalo Prehealth Committee will write a composite letter of evaluation for each applicant. Excerpts may be used in the committee letter and all supporting letters accompany the University at Buffalo Prehealth Committee letter to the applicant’s designated schools.

AAMC Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant (also applicable to other health professional schools).