Letters of Recommendation

All health profession programs require applicants to submit letters of recommendation.   Most will ask for 3, but you should always check with each program to which you apply for the exact amount and if there is a requirement on who should write the letters.   The general rule is to have one health professional, one or two professors, and one recommender of your choosing.  However, you are often free to choose any combination of writers.   In selecting a letter writer, it is helpful to consider the following:

  • How does this individual know me, in what setting, what context?
  • Do the individuals I have chosen know me well enough to write strong letters for me specifically?
  • What do they see as my strengths and how will these apply to my health profession of interest?
  • If I have an area of “weakness” on my application, can this person address the weakness and show that I have overcome or compensated for this weakness?
  • Have I selected letter writers who will each add something different and unique to the application?


It is professional to provide your letter writers with the following:

  • A copy of your resume
  • Highlights from your work together
  • Submission information; will it be electronic or paper format. If it is paper, should the writer mail it directly or give/send the letter to you?
  • A deadline for the submission of the letter – this should be at least one month from the date you ask for the letter.