Seek strong letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a necessary part of any application—having strong letters of recommendation is incredibly important so that you can present yourself to an admissions committee as a strong applicant whose excellence has been recognized in many areas. If you feel like you don’t have strong enough connections with the right people that you’d need to ask for a recommendation, consider taking additional time to build those connections.

Typically, applicants are expected to apply with:

  • 1 – 2 letters from Science Faculty (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • 1 letter from Non-Science Faculty
  • 1 letter from a Clinician
  • 1 letter from a Research PI (if applicable)
  • 1 – 2 letters from character references

If you have not been able to make strong connections with a clinician and/or character references by your junior year, you might want to consider pursuing at least one growth year, as that can allow you more time to build a more robust portfolio of letters.

If you are planning on taking one growth year or morewe recommend that you connect with your professors before graduating to let them know you will eventually be asking them for a letter of recommendation. This is the courteous way to ask, and will allow them to write your letter while information is still fresh. This ensures that the letter is as strong as possible (because, for example, they won’t be trying to remember aspects about your classroom performance two years after you took their class).