Letters of Evaluation

Letters of Evaluation allow people who know you and have worked with you to support your application.

A strong letter provides information about characteristics that will enhance your success in graduate professional school, and as a practitioner. They speak to qualities such as your resourcefulness, integrity, motivation, drive, altruism, interpersonal skills, intellectual drive and curiosity.

Evaluators typically put tremendous time and effort into letters that they write. It is expected that all LOEs that are received in support of your career goal will be sent on to health professional schools. Students are not allowed to “letter shop,” asking for extra letters and then choosing the best ones to submit.

Before selecting evaluators, please consider that participation in the Letter of Evaluation (LOE) process is voluntary. Anyone writing a letter of evaluation for a health professional school bears an obligation of candor to you, the institutions to whom it is addressed, and to the institution the writer represents. It is the writer’s responsibility to determine how to respond to your request for a letter. If a prospective evaluator feels that they are not able to write a letter, then it is their responsibility to decline. Individuals should not press for a letter after receiving a response of no. Additionally, this may not produce the quality of letter that would help the person’s candidacy. Moreover, if a person finds difficulty securing letters of evaluation, this could be an indication that they are not ready to apply.

Types of Letters

A Committee Letter is a letter authored by a pre-health committee or pre-health advisor. A committee letter is often sent with additional letters of recommendation that you solicit from your faculty and others in support of your candidacy.

Health professional schools do not have a preference for a Committee Letter versus any other type of letter of evaluation. Rather, health professional schools prefer candidates to utilize the letter services offered through their undergraduate or post-bacc program. Beginning in the 2025 application cycle the Northeastern University PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program will be joining other leading universities in only offering a Letter Packet service (see below) and will no longer be offering an additional Committee Letter service for candidates applying for admission to schools of allopathic medicine (MD), osteopathic medicine (DO), dental medicine, or podiatric medicine.

This change will have no negative impact on the competitiveness on your application! Rather, the decision to eliminate the Committee Letter enables us to extend required deadlines, offer new programming to support applicants during the secondary application process over the summer, and enhance our existing programs and resources.

Additional information regarding this change can be found on our FAQ under “PreMed/PreHealth Letter Process Updates”

A Letter Packet is a composite letter that includes full content of all required evaluator letters (requested via your Medical Applicant Portal) plus an institutional cover sheet from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program.

The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program’s institutional cover sheet provides context to your academic and experiential preparation. For NU undergraduate students and alumni, this includes information about Northeastern’s Cooperative Education program, Global Pathways programs, unique aspects of our curriculum (I.e., our single-semester general chemistry course), and more. For students and alumni of the Northeastern University Pre-Medical Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate program this includes program details and requirements. 

If you are applying for admission to schools of allopathic medicine (MD), osteopathic medicine (DO), dental medicine, or podiatric medicine, and you are applying within three years of NU graduation, utilizing the letter services (I.e., Letter Packet) offered through your undergraduate or post-bacc program will contribute to a competitive application. If you are a PreMed/PreHealth student who falls outside of these categories, it is recommended that you apply with Individual Letters of Evaluation (see below).

northeastern university letter packet REQUIRED evaluations:

In addition to other deadlines and requirements, the following letters of evaluation are required and must be requested through MAP to be eligible to request a Letter Packet.

3 Internal, Faculty Letters
  • Internal letters must be from a graded course (at least 3-credit lecture or 1-credit lab). Evaluations can be requested from in-progress courses.
  • Internal letters must be from Northeastern University faculty (current, former, or retired) at any of Northeastern’s global campuses.
  • Two of the three required internal letters must be from Biology, Chemistry, Math, or Physics (BCMP) faculty (current, former, or retired) OR from faculty instructors on the approved list of Internal Science Letters.
  • One letter may be from any academic discipline, though we recommend a non-science letter.
  • The Letter Packet has a THREE internal letter MAXIMUM. Do not request more than the required number of internal letters.
1 External, Clinical Letter
  • This letter must come from a practitioner in the health profession to which you are applying (i.e., MD or DO, Dentist, or Podiatrist). Applicants applying to MD and/or DO programs may have a clinical letter from either an MD or DO.
  • The letter must represent a college-level patient-facing experience (strongly recommended in-person) with a U.S. licensed physician/dentist/podiatrist. The experience must be within the United States or, if abroad, with a State Department, US university/hospital sponsored, or recognized U.S. organization. Letters from family friends are not encouraged. Letters from family members are prohibited.
2 External, Optional Letters
  • Up to two additional external letters may be requested from supervisors, research PIs, clinicians, coaches, etc.
  • Applicants may NOT use optional letter slots for additional internal academic letters unless there is a relationship with the faculty member outside of your academic coursework (i.e., research supervisor).
  • Applicants applying to MD and DO programs are strongly encouraged to obtain a clinical letter from BOTH an MD and a DO, utilizing one of their optional letter slots.

**It is the applicant’s responsibility to review individual school’s requirements, as requirements for letters of recommendation vary from school to school. 

More information on Letter Packet processes, deadlines, and requirements can be found within the applicable health professions page on the left side menu or directly via the following links:

If you choose to send individual Letters of Evaluation, please do not request them through your Medical Applicant Portal. Instead, follow the instructions in the centralized application service for your health professional school application, or the directions of the specific schools if they have a different application process.

If you are applying for admissions to schools of optometric medicine, veterinary medicine, or are an Alumni who graduated three or more years ago, it is recommended that you apply with individual letters of evaluation. Physician Assistant Programs require individual letters of evaluation.

For current students and recent alums, please know that most allopathic (MD), osteopathic (DO), dental, and podiatric schools do expect you to utilize the letter service (I.e., Letter Packet) offered through your undergraduate or post-bacc program.

How to Request Letters of Evaluation

Under most circumstances you will want to wait until your application year to request letters of evaluation.

For internal letters from NU faculty this will allow you the opportunity to take your smaller, upper level classes before you request a letter of evaluation. In addition, if you have a professor who you particularly like, you may enroll in another class or complete a directed study with them. After a second class the professor will be able to write a better evaluation. Remember to keep in touch with faculty after class ends; stop by for advice about a co-op or research position, tutor their class, or assist with their research. Make an effort to check in with a couple of former science professors once a semester to let them know what you are doing, and to maintain your relationship.

For external letters you may request letters within a few months of your experience. However, it may be more effective to maintain a relationship with your evaluator and ask for a letter closer to your application time. This allows a mentor to see how you grow over time. It also helps to establish that you are able to maintain long-term professional relationships. We do require that at least one clinical letter from a practitioner in the specific field to which you are applying.

External letters that are dated more than three years before your application year will not assist you to be competitive. Therefore, we require all letters to be dated within the three years preceding your application.

Whenever possible we recommend that you make an appointment to meet with your potential evaluator to request a letter of evaluation. In your email request for an appointment let the evaluator know that you would like to meet with them to discuss your application to medical or dental school.  This sets the stage for your meeting and, in the unlikely event that the evaluator doesn’t feel that they can recommend you, allows them to decline. When you go to your appointment bring a current resume, a draft of your personal statement, and a copy of your degree audit or unofficial transcript to leave behind with the evaluator. Be prepared to talk about your passion for medicine/dentistry and future aspirations.

Once an evaluator has agreed to write a recommendation for you, you will send an official request to them via the Medical Applicant Portal (MAP).  Log into your account and go to the “Letters of Evaluation” section and enter the contact information for your evaluator.  MAP will send instructions for submission directly to the email address that you enter.  Under no circumstances should you send a letter request to your own email address.

Explain to each evaluator who consents to write a letter on your behalf that:

  1. They will receive an e-mail from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program confirming that s/he has agreed to write a letter on your behalf. The confidentiality status of the letter will be confirmed as well as your matriculation year.
  2. They will be asked to submit a candid letter of evaluation electronically. NU faculty will submit a word document, all other evaluators will be asked to submit a PDF copy of a letter that is signed, dated, and on professional/institutional letterhead.  All NU faculty are required to submit electronically.  For external evaluators, we prefer an electronically submitted PDF but we will accept a hard-copy original by US mail (not by fax).
  3. Make sure to tell the evaluator the deadline for submitting their letter. It is also included in the letter request email.
  4. You may also want to give your evaluator a copy of the AAMC’s Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant. This brochure was developed for allopathic medicine programs, but generalizes well to other types of health professions.

The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program will retain letters of evaluation (LOEs) submitted to MAP for inclusion in a Committee Letter or Letter Packet. LOEs will be available for future use if you decide to defer your application, or if you are not successful the first time you apply.

For those applying with individual letters of recommendation, applicants should stay in contact with evaluators to obtain new or updated letters of recommendation in accordance with their application year. Applicants may also choose to utilize a letter service, such as Interfolio, to store letters of evaluation.

Please note: The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program cannot forward letters to any program other than what was designated on the original request.  We are unable to send letters to medical master’s, Post-Bacc, Physician’s Assistant, Nursing (etc.) programs. Please contact your evaluators directly to request that letters be tailored to the program to which you are applying.

Internal Science Letters

Centralized application services for health professional programs typically calculate one or more science GPA’s that may include courses in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics (BCMP). To calculate your science vs. non-science GPA review the instructions in the GPA Calculations section under Supporting Information on the Academic Preparation page.

For some students, the courses you use in your science GPA calculations may come from other departments that teach classes that are concentrated in the abovementioned subjects. Below are courses that the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program, based on faculty recommendation, encourages you to consider in your science GPA calculations for your health professional school application. All statistics courses offered at Northeastern University may also be considered in your science GPA calculations.

We will also accept these as science (BCMP) letters of evaluation for our Program’s Letter of Evaluation Services (I.e., Letter Packet) since the course’s primary instruction is based in BCMP disciplines, despite the course being offered by a different department. All statistics courses offered at Northeastern University will be accepted as science (BCMP) letters of evaluation. However, while a Letter Packet typically sufficiently meets the letter requirements for most programs, it is the applicant’s responsibility to review individual school’s requirements, as requirements for letters of recommendation vary from school to school. 

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