hurricaneuro

SUNY c/o 2014
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Has anyone called/know what the deal is? My advisor is going to write a committee letter for the schools that need one; but also upload individual letters I have gathered throughout the years in preparation for applying.

I designated her on the LOR section; but since it is a letter service, do I need to designate her for the letters she is going to upload but did not write...or what? I'm pretty confused...
 

cloud99

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Mar 19, 2009
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Your committee letter counts as 1 LOR. You need to designate 3 other people for the other 3, not your advisor, because OptomCAS is sending a specific form to them via e-mail to complete and return. It really sucks- people have already written LOR's and submitted them to your "committee", and now you need to ask them to do it again via e-form and send them to optomCAS.

Another problem is that OptomCAS will only take 4 letters. One school may require a committee letter plus an OD. Another school may want 2 science prof's and one OD, another school may want 1 science, 1 OD, and 1 "other" person like a boss or someone you've worked for volunteering, etc... So you need to assemble 1 committee, 1 OD, 2 science prof, and 1 extra-curricular. Problem is, that's 5 letters and you can only submit a max. of 4. How do you choose? Will schools allow extra LOR's to be sent to them via some other means?
 
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hurricaneuro

hurricaneuro

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I actually just called OptomCAS-- and yes, a committee letter is one letter, but if your pre-med office has other letters on file that you want to use your designated advisor can upload those also. My question was "If I designate my advisor, can she upload more than one letter?" And the OptomCAS representative said of course.
 

cloud99

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Wow - different info. than I received.
This is an e-mail I sent to OptomCAS:

I have already obtained some LOR's, but they are in letter form at my undergraduate institution. Will I need to ask the individual writers to now also complete the new electronic letter or can I somehow forward the paper letters that I already have to the CAS instead?

And this was the reply:

Regarding your LORs, you will need to have your evaluators that have previously written you a letter to also complete the form as well. I would explain to them that since the time you requested the letter, optometry has developed a new centralized system that will require a form to be completed. As always with something new, there are going to be transitional headaches.

Paige Pence
Director, Student and Professional Affairs
Association of Schools & Colleges of Optometry
6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 420
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 231-5944, x3019
(301) 770-1828 Fax
http://www.opted.org
 

cloud99

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Also just read this on OptomCAS FAQ section:

The LOR requires completion of two parts, a rating of attributes (Part I) and a letter (PART II).

Some pre-health advising offices compile academic/personal information and will also coordinate the collection of LORs in order to provide a "Committee Letter" for pre-optometry students. If the Committee Letter of Recommendation is a compilation from several individuals and contains one Recommendation Request Form and one letter, it will be considered as one LOR. The individual writing the recommendation must complete the rating of attributes on the Recommendation Request Form; OptomCAS will accept the name of a college pre-health profession advisor in lieu of the evaluator(s) on the recommendation form.

If you are submitting LORs through a letter service, you are strongly encouraged to have the original author(s) of the LORs complete the rating of attributes, which is Part I of the Recommendation Request Form.
Please note that while OptomCAS will accept the rating of attributes, which is Part I of the Recommendation Request Form, from a college official who is a designee for the college or university's letter service office, applicants should also check with the individual programs for which they plan to apply to confirm that Recommendation Request Forms completed by a third-party will be accepted.

Guess we need to check with each opt. school to see if they'll let advisors fill out the part 1's and send them the letters they already have. It almost sounds easier to have the other 3 people we choose as recommenders just re-submit via the e-request directly to OptomCAS.:(
 
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hurricaneuro

hurricaneuro

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I know; this is a huge headache. My advisor is just going to fill out the ratings because I have gathered letters from about a year ago that took the professor 3 months to send in; and I don't want to bother them with doing it again and waiting another 3 months.

I don't know how your committee letter works, but, yes, I am aware the actual committee letter counts as one but here at UM the commitee letter comes with all of the other original letters attached to it. My advisor has assured me that these attached letters will indeed count for all of the others.

And an email from Paige:

Kevin,

I am sorry I misunderstood your question. Committee letters or letters
gathered from a pre-health advising office must be sent through the
mail.
You will need to enter the name of the evaluator that will be
filling out the recommender form in the letters of recommendation
section of the application. In your case, this would be your advisor.
There will be an icon for you to print the recommender form. This form
will need to be given to your advisor to be completed and must be mailed
directly to OptomCAS by your advisor.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks!

Paige

I'm not trying to argue with you but instead figure out what the heck is going on. There is a lot of conflicting information and I think it is very unorganized. I feel like the schools should just have one set of criteria that everyone can obey.
 
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hurricaneuro

hurricaneuro

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Idk if this helps but my advisor said:

"With my letter, they get all the other ones attached to it. Even though it is only one submission, it counts for the additional letters as well. This is why I have to complete the ratings part."
 

cloud99

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No - I'm not trying to argue either. Just more confused now than ever. I think all my letters are attached to the committee letter as well. Here's a problem for me; my committee doesn't give letters until you "interview" with them which doesn't happen until mid-sept. then they discuss you and rate you and have your committee letter for you in MID-OCTOBER!!!

So the part 1 your advisor is going to complete will count as the part 1 for your other letters?

I agree that each school should have the same criteria:
2 science prof's, 1 OD, and 1 "other" of your choice. Forget the committee.
 

cloud99

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Hurricane-

Something else I forgot to ask you - How many individual letters do you have? If you have the committee LOR as #1, which additional ones would they look at as # 2, 3, and 4 if you have 4 or 5 additional?? My committee actually wants up to 7 individual letters so I have 2 OD, 2 sci prof, 1 non-sci. prof., 1 extra-curricular and then the committee = 7 letters!

Or, is it only 4 RECOMMENDERS, but unlimited letters??? (That actually dawned on me just now).
 

jc10101

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i know this may sound stupid, but what exactly is a committee letter?
 
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hurricaneuro

hurricaneuro

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Optometry Student
A committee letter is a letter written by a pre-med advisor/advising committee that incorporates the advisors personal opinion of you, some autobiographical information, and the letters that have been submitted. Some schools require it because it is a letter with a more personal touch, and the advising committee aims to "know" the candidate the best.

So the part 1 your advisor is going to complete will count as the part 1 for your other letters?
UM, when asking a prof to write a letter, includes a ratings section. I believe my advisor will write her own ratings and type those that the professors had provided down. Not sure though.

How many individual letters do you have? If you have the committee LOR as #1, which additional ones would they look at as # 2, 3, and 4 if you have 4 or 5 additional?? My committee actually wants up to 7 individual letters so I have 2 OD, 2 sci prof, 1 non-sci. prof., 1 extra-curricular and then the committee = 7 letters!
My commitee also requires 7 letters, so I had to get seven letters submitted to the office but then since OptomCAS only wants four; our advisor is letting us 1. choose which 4 letters we want or 2. letting her choose. I am letting her choose since she will provide the strongest ones (since I have not read any of them obviously.) She is choosing with limits though, I met with her and told her to choose 2 science and 1 optometrist. The 1 committee, 2 science, and 1 opto should fit the bill for the schools I am applying to (as some want only committee and Berkeley for example wants 3 letters).
 

OpticalBlackOut

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Sep 16, 2008
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Wow, what a huge headache. I know it's especially difficult for big university students to contact professors again after x number of years.
Good luck guys
 
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hurricaneuro

hurricaneuro

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Dec 23, 2008
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Optometry Student
Yeah; it's very stupid. I wish we could just send our letters directly to the schools or something without being limited and backed up by all of these stupid OptomCAS rules.