Students should secure letters of recommendation from individuals who have supervised their work as a volunteer in a clinical or research setting, and from employers in medicine or health care.
Students with substantial work experience either before or while completing their prehealth studies should also request letters from their employers, current and former, regardless of the field of employment since these often provide valuable information about such matters as work ethic, initiative, team work, leadership, and other qualities prized in the medical profession.
Applicants to Schools of Osteopathic Medicine
Schools of osteopathic medicine like (and, in some cases, expect) to see a letter from a doctor of osteopathic medicine in support of a student's application. Such letters provide these schools with some assurance that the applicant is reasonably well-informed about the distinctive features of the profession. To merit such a letter, students may need to shadow a D.O. or volunteer in a D.O.’s practice.
Applications to research-intensive MD/PhD programs should be supported with letters of recommendations from the scientists who supervised the student’s research, preferably with at least one letter representing each research setting.