Letter of Rec Question


Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
The Big Bad Apple
  1. Non-Student
I currently have a commitee letter as well as letters of rec from 1 science Prof, my PI (whos also taught me for a class as well), and a physician. I just realized that a few schools I applied to have weird requirements (drexel, Penn state, Indiana) from non science professor. Will my application not be marked complete if I don't find one ASAP? I haven't taken any non-science classes since freshman year and the one I took this semester I barely got to know the professor cause COVID, but I got an A. Should I ask them for one.

1) These requirements arent weird and in fact are the standard. The rule of thumb across all medical schools is 2 science / 1 non-science letter
2) At the vast majority of medical schools, the committee letter is required, recommended or preferred and will fulfill all letter evaluation requirements. What goes into a committee letter is solely up to the discretion of the undergraduate school. The vast majority of medical schools have no specific requirements as to what needs to be the committee letter
3) If you have a committee letter you do not need individual letters (why arent your science profs part of the committee letter)
4) If you read below, you will see that Drexel and Penn have requirements for non-science letter only if you do not have a committee letter
5) If you also read below that Indiana appears to not accept committee letters and you are required to have 3 individual letters including a non Bio, Chem or Physics course. While they recommend an AH/SH, it would appear that ANY no Bio, Chem, Physics would be acceptable, such as a math class
6) Very few MD schools require a physician letter (though some premed committees do). This is particularly true of shadowing letters which tend to have little impact on adcoms)
7) so now why are you submitting both committee and individual letters?

MD Program Application Process - College of Medicine
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants whose college or university has a pre-medical advisory committee should send a pre-professional committee letter or a composite letter of recommendation, which should include science and non-science professors. If this isn't possible, we encourage applicants to send letters from up to four individuals who hold college-level academic appointments from two science areas and one non-science areas.

If applicants are no longer able to secure the above letters (such as the applicant has been out of school for a few years), we will also accept letters from individuals who can provide objective evaluations and with whom the applicant has had a recent professional relationship.

MD Program - Admission and Interview Process - Penn State College of Medicine
If your college or university has a pre-health committee or pre-health office that submits recommendation letter(s), you are required to use their service. If you do not use their service, you must include an explanation (please title your explanation "Reasons for not using the Pre-Health Committee").

If your college or university does not have a pre-health committee or pre-health office, you are required to submit a minimum of four recommendation letters (maximum of six) using the guidelines below:

  • At least two letters from faculty in science disciplines
  • At least one letter from faculty in a non-science discipline
  • At least one remaining letter from college faculty, community leader, employer, or others in positions of responsibility that know the applicant well
Applying to medical school: HPPLC Guidebook: Indiana University Bloomington
  1. one letter from an instructor who taught you in a biology, chemistry, or physics course
  2. one letter from an instructor who taught you in a nonscience course (ideally an A&H or S&H course)
  3. one personal recommendation from someone who has not taught you in a course(possibly from a supervisor at a volunteer agency, a physician you have worked with or shadowed, etc.)

Please note: In addition, IU School of Medicine requires that you submit one Dean of Student’s Evaluation form. You will receive this form from IU School of Medicine after you apply. You will need to submit this form to the Office of Student Ethics and they will return it to IU School of Medicine.
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