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Credentials Forwarding Service
What is the Credentials Forwarding Service?
When do I request that HPAO transmit letters to schools?
What is the AMCAS letter service?
What if I am applying to schools that use TMDSAS?
How is the process different for DO schools?
How is the process different for dental schools?
How is the process different for optometry schools?
Is the process different for re-applicants?
Is the process any different for Science in the Evening Students?
When will my committee letter be sent?
When will the HPAO begin forwarding letters to professional schools?
Can I add additional letters of recommendation to my packet?
Can I use the credentials service if I do not go through the committee process?
Can my letters be forwarded to a potential employer?
The HPAO forwards the committee letter, for those who have requested and were eligible to receive one, and/or individual letters of recommendation from faculty, staff, and mentors, to professional schools upon request. IMPORTANT: The Credentials Form must be submitted before your letters will be forwarded.
After you submit your primary application to the appropriate application service (AMCAS, AADSAS, etc), they will verify your application and then transmit it to your designated schools. At that point, you will begin to receive requests from schools to complete their secondary/supplemental application. (In some cases, the secondaries are actually available from the school's website at any time; in other cases, schools may send secondaries to a screened applicant pool only).
As you complete secondaries and only after all of your individual letters of recommendation are in and your veCollect Quiver is locked, submit the Credentials Form to the HPAO. Your committee letter, along with your other letters of recommendation, will be sent to your schools via one of the following services:
- AMCAS Letter of Evaluation Service (LOE)
- VirtualEvals (certain allopathic medical, osteopathic medical and podiatry schools)
- AADSAS (dental schools)
- OPTOMCAS (optometry schools- Committee letter only - see optometry information below)
- IMPORTANT: Without the Credentials Form, your letters will not be forwarded to any schools.
Please note that the HPAO will send the same file of Letters of Evaluation to each of the schools to which you apply. We cannot customize each file for specific schools. Moreover, it is not necessary to do so, since every professional school has been fully satisfied with the format of our Credentials Packet. It is not necessary to comply with a school's request for a specific number or distribution of letters when you use the HPAO credentials service.
AMCAS runs a letter service with participating medical schools (see AMCAS webpage for complete list of schools).
Every student receiving an HPAO Committee Letter must select/enter the following information into the required fields of the AMCAS Letters of Evaluation Section:
- Letter Type: Committee Letter
- Is this letter from a school? Yes (University of Maryland-College Park)
- Primary Author: Mrs. Wendy Loughlin
- Address: 1210 H. J. Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 301-405-7805
- Do you want to prepare and print your Letter Request Form now? No
- You will be given a unique Letter ID for your committee letter by AMCAS, which you will assign to each school you are applying to within the Medical Schools section of AMCAS.
- PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT provide the names of your individual letter writers. All of the letters in your veCollect quiver are uploaded under Wendy's name.
- If you are utilizing the Credentials Only service, indicate "Letter Packet" as the letter type. All other information remains the same.
A couple of other points
- Our internal Credentials Form is required for us to forward your letters, whether they participate in the AMCAS letter service or not.
- Please be sure, when you are registering for the MCAT or filling out your AMCAS, to release your information to your prehealth advisor. We are not able to upload your letters if your application is not released to us.
- As soon as you submit AMCAS, you will begin to receive a weekly update from AAMC, indicating what, if anything, is still missing from your application materials. Until your letters are uploaded, they will be on the weekly email of missing items. Your AMCAS application will be processed fully without your letters, so there is no reason to be alarmed by this email reminder. HPAO will process your letters in the order we have described and unrelated to the AMCAS application timeline.
- For medical schools that do not participate in the AMCAS LOE service, the HPAO forwards letters of recommendation in conjunction with VirtualEvals (VE). VE operates an electronic letter of recommendation process, through which we send your complete credentials packet, comprised of your committee letter and individual letters of recommendation to VE and VE forwards them electronically to your designated medical schools.
TMDSAS is a bit different. They don't use a secondary application process. Rather, at the time you submit your TMDSAS application, you can go ahead and request that we transmit your letters (if all of your individual letters of recommendation have been received and your MCAT score is in). Remember that your committee letter will be completed based on the plan outlined above. Please inform the HPAO of your TMDSAS ID number.
If you decide midway through the application process to add DO schools to your allopathic application, we require the following:
- a brief statement as to why this type of program is right for you so we can address that when we convert your committee letter
- your AACOMAS ID number
The HPAO forwards your letters of recommendation to AADSAS, which operates an electronic letter of recommendation process and forwards the letters directly to schools on the applicant's behalf. HPAO still requires the Credentials Form that indicates the dental schools to which you are planning to apply (AADSAS Participating or Non-Participating Schools).
Follow the steps below in the AADSAS application:
- You will be asked whether your letter is a committee letter. You should indicate "yes" for this.
- You will be asked to provide the name and e-mail of the recommender. Every student receiving a Committee Letter (regardless of the advisor completing your letter) will enter:
- Primary Author: Wendy Loughlin
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (This is a special e-mail account we have established specifically for this purpose. Please do not use this e-mail for other correspondence to our office. It will not be answered.)
At this point, the credentials file that you have established in the HPAO will be requested by AADSAS. Your entire committee packet, including our Committee Letter and however many additional letters you have in your Quiver, whether it be one or six, will be considered the equivalent of three (3) letters of recommendation by AADSAS. AADSAS will allow you to add only one additional letter of recommendation to this set if, for example, you receive a late letter from a summer internship that you wish to add.
A couple of other points
- Send us a breakdown of your scores by email to Wendy or email@example.com as the ADA only forwards scores to us on a quarterly basis. Please be sure, when you are taking the DAT, to release your DAT scores to our office. We will not complete your Committee Letter if you do not provide this information.
- It is your responsibility to view the supplemental application requirements for EACH dental school to which you plan to apply. They require different information at different points in the process. You can link to the requirements for each school from the AADSAS application.
- While AADSAS and individual dental schools may state that a committee letter is all that is needed if you have a committee letter process at your school, the HPAO still wants you to follow our suggested guidelines regarding letters of recommendation, i.e. two science letters and a letter from a practicing dentist if possible at a minimum. Our committee letter is not a compilation of your other letters, as is the practice at many other schools. Thus, we forward your additional letters of recommendation in their entirety.
The biggest difference for optometry applicants is that you will not use the veCollect service. Optometry applicants will enter individual evaluator information into the OptomCAS application and have evaluators submit directly to OptomCAS.
Applicants participating in the Committee process will add Wendy Loughlin as an evaluator in addition to your other individual letter writers (you are allowed a maximum of four). There are two parts for your evaluators to complete and submit: Part I (rating of attributes) and Part II (letter). Evaluators are required to submit both parts directly to OptomCAS.
Be sure to look at the Required Letters of Recommendation for each school to which you apply. Note: You can only edit the evaluators/contact information before your application status is "complete."
The committee process for Science in the Evening students works in exactly the same way. Students wishing to utilize the HPAO Committee must submit the Pre-Health Packet and follow all of the same deadlines and instructions as all other students. In order to utilize the Committee, SIE students must have earned 24 credits in the basic sciences at UMD (students who enrolled in the SIE program prior to spring 2013 will be grandfathered in under the 16 credit policy).
Once a Science in the Evening advisor has completed the review of the Pre-Health Packet, the SIE student will be invited, by e-mail, to set up a mock interview. Students may receive some supplemental questions to respond to prior to their interview.
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IMPORTANT: Your letters will not be forwarded to any schools until you submit the Credentials Form. Timing of Letters: We will
attempt to transmit your letters within three weeks of the time we
receive your Credentials Form. However, due to the
large number of applicants and the amount of time it takes to write an
individualized health professions advisor's letter for each of the
approximately 350 applicants, we will periodically have a backlog of
letters to prepare. At those peak times, it may take as many as 12 weeks
to write and transmit your letters from the point at which you submit a
completed Pre-Health Packet. Schools realize that each committee letter
takes time and that great attention is given to each letter, and they
appreciate that fact. However, you can assist in the process by making
sure your letters from evaluators have been submitted by the June 3
deadline, filing your Pre-Health Packet in a timely fashion (the
priority deadline is your best bet), and returning your secondary
applications promptly. When completing secondary applications, indicate
where requested that your letters will be from a premedical advisor or
"committee." If the specific pre-medical advisor name is requested, list
August 1 is the promised Committee letter date for priority applicants.
No letters will be forwarded from HPAO until July 15 at the
earliest. Schools do not need letters before this time and many services
are not set up to receive them electronically until this time.
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Yes, if we have not already transmitted your Committee Letter and if received by the HPAO by the August 31 final deadline, after which it must be sent directly to the common application services to distribute. Remember to add additional recommenders to your veCollect Quiver. Dental applicants using the credentials service may only add one additional letter via AADSAS once the packet has been uploaded by HPAO.
Yes. If you do not wish to use the committee process, miss the deadline for requesting the committee letter, or are not eligible for the committee letter you may still request that we collect your letters and send them as a complete packet to professional schools. Be aware that this service is available for professional health programs only. We will not forward letters to prospective employers, other graduate programs or any other recipients. Be advised the credentials only service will cost $40 ($20 to establish veCollect and $20 to use the credentials forwarding service). Please work directly with Mike Grünberg: firstname.lastname@example.org and refer to the following:
No. Letters submitted to HPAO are for professional school applications only and cannot be used for any other purpose.