Are committee evaluations a good idea to have when applying?

guitarguy23

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Dec 9, 2009
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I'm applying this summer and I'm currently a grad student, but my undergrad bio department head said they could do a committee evaluation for me.

Are these good to do as well as LORs, or should they replace what an LOR would do or what?

Basically what are the pros/cons of doing a committee evaluation from my major department (Biology) when applying to medical school
 
Jun 1, 2009
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Is this a pre-med letter writing committee? If so, then yes, absolutely get a letter from them. Many med schools request a committee letter if your school has a pre-med committee, and it might be a red flag if you decide to apply without such a letter in that case.

The way my school's committee worked was that I was responsible for getting a certain number of letters from professors on my behalf. Our committee recommended getting two science and one or two non-science letters, one or more letters from PIs, and a letter from a significant extracurricular (i.e. coaches, volunteer coordinators, etc) if we felt it would show a different side of us than our other letters would. Letters from these sources were sent directly to the committee, and the committee went through and highlighted the particularly strong points in a type of cover letter. The committee also included information that they had gathered from our records, from personal interviews, from a series of essays we had to submit to them, and from generally knowing us on a one-on-one basis; the aim of such a letter was to capture our personalities, interests, achievements and potential. The committee letter was then bundled with all my other LORs and was sent to AMCAS and non-participating med schools as a packet.

There are many advantages to using a committee letter, and I can't think of any disadvantages (especially when the committee letter is used in conjunction with the individual LORs). Each med school has their own LOR requirements, but all of them will accept a committee letter packet.

In your particular case, I'm not sure if what you have is a pre-med committee or not. If the letter just represents the opinion of the biology department, you'll likely still need to submit non-science letters and the like.
 

ShinyDome19

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Most schools advertise wanting a pre-med committee letter, which I dont believe is the same thing your getting at through your biology dept. as it is usually a seperate department all together that handles pre-med affairs...atleast from the schools I have seen.

If your a graduate student, my suggestion is to just get a letter of rec. from each of your graduate committee members and submit them individually. This worked well for me in both allopathic and osteopathic schools. None of the adcom advisors I spoke with said it would be a problem to submit the individual letters rather than getting a pre-med committee letter - because at my school all the pre-med committee did was summerize the individual letters you submitted to them into one big committee letter - I didnt really like that idea, seeing that my graduate committee members had known me for nearly 6 years and wrote really good letters, and I had only met the pre-med advisor once during my freshman year...I wasnt too fond of letting them pick and choose which parts of the LORs were worthy of their summary.