Link to Committee Letter Process

The committee letter is San Diego State University’s endorsement of your application for admission to medical or dental school. For these health profession schools, the committee letter is usually required for applicants whose colleges or universities provide such a letter. The SDSU committee includes 2-3 SDSU faculty members and the director of the Health Professions Advising Office.

Committee letters can add important information and support to your application; however, the committee’s rating of your application does not guarantee an interview or offer of admission regardless of high the committee rating is. The committee letter is the “icing on the cake” for an already competitive application and does not in any way compensate for or replace the components of a strong application.

The committee letter is based on the information you are asked to provide (see below) as well as the committee’s evaluation and overall rating of the strength of your application, and your readiness to apply.

You may:
  • go through the committee letter process one time only.
  • go through the committee letter process for the upcoming application cycle only and not for any future application cycle.
  • request one update to your committee letter should you not be accepted this application cycle.

Your committee letter is written for application for admission to one health profession only. Committee letters will not be provided for anyone applying for admission to more than one health profession (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc.).

Committee letters will not be updated or forwarded as part of your application for admission to another health profession during a future cycle.

Committee Rating Scale
Most highly recommend:  This individual represents the very best of our applicants and has demonstrated a clear understanding of and commitment to becoming a physician/dentist as evidenced by exceptional experiences and personal attributes. We believe this individual will be a physician/dentist and leader who will make positive contributions to medicine and to society.
Strongly recommend:  We are confident the applicant demonstrates skills, experiences and personal attributes to be successful in medical/dental school and as a physician/dentist.
Recommend:  We believe the applicant meets requirements and can be successful in medical/dental school and then in the profession.
Recommend with reservations:  We believe this applicant can be successful in medical/dental school and then in the professions although there are some deficiencies in their academic preparation or experiences.
Postpone:  The applicant demonstrates potential to become a competitive applicant and will be advised to continue to develop/enhance their academic record and/or further develop other components of the application.
Not recommended:  There is little or no evidence the candidate is prepared to be successful in medical school. The applicant will be counseled about next steps,.

 


 Requirements for a Committee Letter

  1. Intent to Apply 

For your expected year of admission, you must complete and submit the Intent to Apply Form  by January 15 of the prior year. Email this form to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu. In the subject line, enter “Intent to Apply.”

  1. GPA Requirement

To request a committee letter, you must have a
  • minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA
  • minimum 3.25 science GPA

If either of these GPA’s is 3.0-3.24, you may submit a written appeal to the HPAO director outlining your reasons for requesting an exception. An appeal to waive the GPA requirement must be submitted to the HPAO director by January 15.  Email this to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu. In the subject line, enter “Committee GPA Appeal.”

If your appeal is not approved and you choose to move forward with your application anyway, HPAO will provide only a letter packet with a cover sheet and your letters of recommendation.

Few students are admitted to medical or dental school with GPA’s below 3.25, and for those accepted there are compelling and specific reasons for accepting that applicant, e.g., significant upward grade trend, “distance traveled,” or exceptional experiences and background beyond the admission test score and GPA. If you have questions, be sure to make an appointment to see the HPAO director prior to the January 15, 2016 deadline. 

  1. CV/Resume

Submit via email to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu by January 15. In the subject line, enter “Committee CV/Resume”

  1. Autobiographical Questions

Answering the Autobiographical Questions will help you determine if you have a strong application and are ready to apply. These questions will also help you generate ideas for your personal statement. Give careful consideration to your responses. This information will go to the committee members for review and will be used in the committee letter to provide background information about your life and preparation and motivation for your chosen health profession. Submit to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu by January 15.

  1. GPA Calculations – Cumulative and BCPM (Medicine) or ADEA Calculated Cumulative and Science

For medical school applications, use the AMCAS GPA Calculator Excel. For dental school applications, use the ADEA GPA Calculation Instructions (handout). Submit these in pdf format to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu by January 15. In the subject line, enter “Committee GPA Calculations.”

6. Letter of Recommendation (LOR) form

The Letter of Recommendation form is a list of your letter writers with their contact information (email and phone). Complete the form and email this to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu  by January 15. Enter “LOR’s” in the subject line. 


7. Personal Statement

This does not have to be the final draft of your personal statement, but it must be close to a final draft, since committee members will review this. If you are applying to MD programs, you may also submit the three most meaningful activities you will enter on AMCAS.

  • Include your name, the date, and Personal Statement in the upper right corner.
  • Be sure to adhere to the character limit required by your health profession. (MD 5300, DO and DDS 4500, all characters including spaces)
  • MD applicants: AMCAS also provides an opportunity for you to address your three most meaningful activities. Including these along with your personal statement will provide valuable additional information for the committee.
    1. Activity description – 700 characters (counting spaces)
    2. Why most important/transformative – an additional 1325 characters (counting spaces)

Email this as a Word document to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu by March 5. In the subject line, enter “Committee Personal Statement” or “Committee Personal Statement and 3 most important activities.”

  1. Career Services Mock Interview (optional)

Call Career Services at 619-594-6851 to schedule. Mock interviews must be completed by March 5.


 Committee Letter Update

If you went through this year’s committee process and applied to medical or dental school but are not accepted, you will be eligible to request an update to your committee letter to apply for the next cycle if you meet these requirements:

  1. An Intent to Re-apply form that includes specific and detailed information about what you have done to improve your application since you first submitted it.
  2. One additional recommendation letter supporting what you have done since your committee review.
  3. MCAT or DAT scores

You must meet these requirements for an update to your committee letter—no exceptions.  If your re-application update is not approved, we will still forward a letter packet with your other letters of recommendation/evaluation to your CAS with a cover sheet only. Submit the completed Intent to Re-apply to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu by March 15. In the subject line enter “Intent to Re-apply.”

A committee letter update may not be used for application to a different health profession program.


Next Steps in the Committee Letter Process

  1. Start work on autobiographical questions
  2. Attend a Fall or Spring semester personal statement writing workshop.
  3. Attend a Fall semester interviewing workshop
  4. Start or continue working on your personal statement
  5. Sign up for personal statement peer review
    1. Small groups of 3-4 students will share their personal statements and others will ask questions and provide feedback.
    2. Use the resources in the Writing Center for review and/or schedule a review with the CASA writing tutor (GMCS 322).

Committee Interview  

No materials for committee review will be accepted after March 5 — no exceptions. Committee interviews will take place late March through May 15.

When notified, schedule a one-hour block interview time. You will receive an email with a link to a Google doc to choose an interview time.


Finalizing your Application for Submission

  1. Schedule the MCAT or DAT.
    1. Be sure you are ready to take the test. 
    2. If you are not prepared to do well (particularly based on your practice tests), you should not apply until you have a competitive admission test score.
    3. While you may submit your application to AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS without the test scores, your application will not move forward for review without this information.
    4. Plan to have received your test scores no later than August 1 (and preferably much earlier) for optimal consideration. Almost all medical and dental schools use “rolling admissions” which means they are evaluating complete applications and scheduling interviews throughout the admission cycle.  APPLY EARLY!
  1. Request your letters of evaluation/recommendation.
    1. Identify your recommendation/evaluation letter writers early in the process. Your letter writers should be those who know you well and can speak to your qualifications and readiness for your health profession program.  Check the schools to which you plan to apply to determine if they have specific requirements for who writes your letters.
    2. Complete and submit the Letters of Recommendation form which will be emailed to you.
    3. Two of your letters should come from science faculty who have taught you. An MD letter is not required, but many schools will require or recommend a DO or a DDS/DMD letter.
    4. Other letter writers may include non-science faculty, community members, others who know you well although NEVER family members, even if they are healthcare professionals. Check school requirements.
    5. Complete an HPAO Request for Letter of Recommendation/Evaluation form to give to your letter writers.
    6. You cannot be required to waive access to your letters, but health professions schools prefer that your letters are confidential and that you have waived your right to see them.
    7. Letter writers tend to be more candid when writing confidential letters.Provide your recommenders with your personal statement, resume/CV, and any other information they request. Do not write your own letter for their signature. If this is an issue, see the HPAO director.
    8. Give your letter writers ample time, but we should have received at least one letter prior to your committee interview. However, no committee letter will be written before HPAO has received all your recommendation letters.
    9. You do not have to have your recommendation letters before you submit your application.
  1. Ensure that ALL your letters are received in HPAO no later than July 15.
    1. Your committee letter packet cannot be uploaded until all your letters are received. *All letters received are attached to your committee letter and forwarded. We do not screen letters.*
  1. Attend one of the workshops Applying to Medical School (MD and DO) or Applying to Dental School during the Spring semester.

Submitting your Application

APPLY EARLY!

Submit your application to your Centralized Application Service (AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS) no later than July 1 (and preferably sooner) for best consideration of your application.

  1. You do not have to have your letters or test scores to submit your application. It will take 4-6 weeks for CAS verification of transcripts and GPAs. Letters and test scores can follow.
  1. Request your transcripts after you start your online application.
  1. Print out the Transcript Request Form to take to the Registrar’s office.
  2. You must submit transcripts from every institution you have attended even if these courses appear on your SDSU transcript.
  3. The Transcript Request form will include your AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS ID, essential to matching your transcripts to your application.
  1. For Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation, choose Committee Letter (not Letter Packet) and enter only one name and one email address: Gwendolyn Hill  ghill@mail.sdsu.edu
  1. The Committee Letter will have all your individual letters attached.
  2. If you have an additional (usually outside) letter to add, enter that as a separate individual letter.
    1. AADSAS considers the committee letter as three of the four allowed letters. You may add an additional letter.
  1. All your letters of recommendation must be received before your committee letter will be written.
    1. Provide ample time for your recommenders to submit their letters to HPAO, preferably by June 15.
    2. Ensure that ALL your letters are received in HPAO no later than July 15.
    3. Your committee letter packet cannot be uploaded until all your letters are received.
  1. Complete and return all secondary/supplemental applications to the individual schools within 2 weeks of receiving these.
    1. You will receive some secondary/supplemental applications before your application has been verified. Other schools will screen before sending secondary/supplemental applications.
    2. Do not wait until the deadline to return these.
    3. Your application will not move forward without this information. 
  1. Committee letters will be written and uploaded between the first Monday in June when the first Centralized Application Services open and July 31.Committee letters will not be written after July 31.  The committee letter will not be written until we have received a pdf of your SUBMITTED application, including both AMCAS and AACOMAS if applicable. Email to healthpr@mail.sdsu.edu. In the subject line enter Application PDF

Interviews and Acceptances 

Attend an interview workshop.

Notify HPAO when you are called for an interview if you would like to come in for a mock interview.

You will receive the Application Summary Report form after your committee letter is uploaded to AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, or Interfolio for AACPMAS. Please keep the office updated about your applications, interviews and acceptances.

Contact HPAO whenever you have questions. We are here to support you!

Remember this is a journey, not a race, and everyone’s path is different.  Take the DAT or MCAT when you are ready, and never “just for practice.” Apply only when you are ready and know you are competitive.  There are never guarantees for admission, but preparing to be the most competitive applicant you can be is always your best bet.  Your efforts will pay off!


 IMPORTANT DEADLINES for COMMITTEE INTERVIEW/LETTER
No materials for committee review will be accepted after March 5 — no exceptions. 
January 15 Intent to Apply form  
  Autobiographical Questions  
  CV/Resume  
  GPA Calculations  
  GPA Appeal (if applicable)  
  Letters of Recommendation form (list)  
     
 March 5 Personal Statement(s)

AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, AACPMAS

 AMCAS 3 most important activities
  Career Services mock interview (optional)  
     
March 15 Intent to Re-apply form