Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation

Medical schools place great weight on the recommendations submitted in support of a student's candidacy for admission.

Types of Recommendations

Students should submit letters of recommendation from faculty and employers or volunteer supervisors, especially related to medicine and health care. Athletic coaches, advisors, and other officers at one's undergraduate school can also be excellent sources of recommendation letters. Admissions committees are interested in letters only from people under whom you have studied or worked. Generally speaking, character references, letters from family physicians, and the like are not appropriate.

In addition to faculty and employer recommendations, the Premedical Committee provides individualized institutional letters of support (committee letters) recommending students who are applying for admission at medical, dental, and veterinary schools. Students must meet a list of minimum requirements to be eligible for a committee letter.

Required Letters

To be complete, a student's file must contain a minimum of four recommendation letters, at least two of which must be from Columbia science faculty with whom the student has studied. Optimally, a student's file will contain five to seven letters from which, at its discretion, the Premedical Committee will choose those most appropriate to attach to the committee letter.

Tracking Recommendations

If you make use of the internal application system to receive, store, and manage your letters, you will be able to see which of the letters you have requested have been received for your file. You may need to communicate with gsdosreception@columbia.edu concerning the status of any recommendation letters you requested from outside the internal application system. Students are responsible for ensuring all letters are in on time, and they may need to remind referees, periodically and diplomatically, to send in recommendations.