Letter of Recommendation

Almost all professional schools require between two and five letters of recommendation. However, letters of recommendation have varying influence depending upon the realism and depth of insight into the candidate the letters provide. Many letters are superficial and are only frustrating to the admissions committee. Typically the longer the writer has been acquainted with pre-professional students in general, and with you in particular, the greater the depth and the validity of the evaluation. This assists the committee in evaluating your application. The most meaningful letters are from professionals who have known you well as a student, or those who supervised you and have a basis of comparison to other pre-professional students. Be sure you check admissions websites for specific school requirements because rules on recommendation letters can vary. 

Requesting Letters

At any point after your first term at NMSU, and prior to applying to a professional school, you should ask at least three faculty members if they would be willing to write a favorable letter of evaluation on your behalf. Most of your letters should be from science professors you have taken courses with recently.
During your sophomore year, you should be able to list 3 faculty members (both science and non-science) and at least 1 character reference as possible letter writers. If cannot currently list at least three faculty, this is something you’ll need to work on during the upcoming year.
Select your references carefully. Asking a professor for a reference if you were chronically late for class or late with assignments is not a smart choice. However, asking a professor of a class where you received a “B”, but the professor knows how you improved and what your strengths are, can be a very positive recommendation.
It is a good idea to start asking professors as soon as each semester is over. You should seek references from at least: 1 biology professor, 1 chemistry professor, 1 physics professor, 1 math professor, 1 general studies professor, 1 volunteer supervisor, 1 medical setting reference, 2 professors in your major.

When to Request Letters

Make sure that you request your letters early, typically during the fall semester in the year of your application. It is likely that many students are requesting letters from the same faculty and to wait until the last minute may result in your letters being delayed. A delay in your letters during the application period may delay the consideration of your application, and likely reducing your chances of admission.

What to Provide

When you request a letter of recommendation, make sure to provide potential letter writers with:
  • The current draft of your personal statement
  • Your résumé (or CV)
  • Instructions for submitting the letter
You may also choose to provide your letter writers with the Recommendation Letter Guidelines provided by the AAMC and some helpful tips on what makes a strong letter of recommendation.

Submitting the Letters

Your letter writers will be submitting letters to the application service, not the applicants. Submission of letters is usually done through the centralized application service but is occasionally done directly to the schools or through commercial vendors such as Interfolio.

Requesting a Letter from Pre-Health Advising

Some schools allow applicants to have letters written by a Pre-Health Committee or Advisor. NMSU doesn’t have a Pre-Health committee. When necessary, there is the possibility of requesting a letter from the Pre-Health Advising office. Before contacting us about a possible recommendation letter, please download and read Requesting a Letter of Recommendation. You will need to fill out the Pre-Health Interview Form
If After reading the document above, if you still feel that a letter from Pre-Health Advising is in your best interest, please fill out the Pre-Health Interview Form provided here. To help you fill in the GPA information on the Pre-Health Interview Form, you can use the Pre-Health BCPM and Overall GPA Calculator.