The only thing that leaves our office are your letters (Committee Letter and/or Letters of Recommendation). The HPAO will forward your letters to the common applications and/or professional schools upon request. IMPORTANT: The Letter Forwarding Form must be submitted to initiate this process. This form indicates to us where you have applied and where your letters should be sent. NOTE: Your letters will only be sent once your Committee Letter is finalized, all other letters of recommendation are in, your veCollect quiver is locked, and your common application is processed.
Please follow the directions below based on the program(S) you are applying to:
AMCAS runs a letter service with participating medical schools (see AMCAS webpage for complete list of schools).You must submit a Letter Forwarding Form to indicate that you have applied and want your letters sent to AMCAS.
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 (we upload electronically, so we do NOT use this form)
- 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 Letters Only service, indicate "Letter Packet" as the letter type. All other information remains the same.
A couple of other points
- When you are registering for the MCAT or filling out your AMCAS, release your information to your prehealth advisor. We are not able to upload your letters if your application is not released to us.
- Re-applicants: you must actively release your common application to your advisor as part of the Committee Process. This does not automatically transfer from your previous application.
- As soon as you submit AMCAS, you will begin to receive a weekly update from AAMC indicating what is still missing from your application materials. Please note that your AMCAS application will be processed fully without your letters, so there is no reason to be alarmed by the email reminders that they are missing. Schools cannot see your application until you are processed.
MD Applicants (Texas Schools)
At the time you submit your TMDSAS application, you can submit a Letter Forwarding Form (be sure to include your TMDSAS ID). Your letters will be forwarded as soon as your Committee Letter is finalized and your veCollect quiver is locked.
AACOMAS operates an electronic letter of recommendation process and forwards the letters directly to the schools you apply to within AACOMAS. You still must submit a Letter Forwarding Form to HPAO when all of your letters are in your quiver and you are requesting that they be sent out.
Follow the steps below in the AACOMAS application:
• Create a New Evaluation Request
• For Evaluator’s Information, every student receiving a Committee Letter (regardless of the advisor completing your letter) will enter:
◦ First Name: Wendy
◦ Last Name: Loughlin
◦ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (This e-mail account is used only for this purpose. Please do not use this e-mail for other correspondence to our office. It will not be answered.)
Your entire committee packet, including our Committee Letter and however many additional letters you have in your Quiver (up to 6 letters) will be considered the equivalent of one (1) letter of recommendation by AACOMAS. AACOMAS will allow you to add a total of five (5) letters of recommendation to this set if, for example, you receive a late letter from a summer internship that you wish to add. In most cases, you will not use these additional letter fields.
o Due Date: October 15
**This date is meaningless in our process but the CAS system requires a date. Priority applicants will still receive their letters on or before August 15 and non-priority applicants will receive their letters after that. By choosing October 15, you will provide a date well beyond when the vast majority of all letters will be completed.
o Complete the remaining prompts. You must enter something in personal message/notes or you can’t proceed. Say something nice J
o Save the evaluation request
AADSAS operates an electronic letter of recommendation process and forwards the letters directly to the schools you apply to within AADSAS. You still must submit a Letter Forwarding Form that indicates the dental schools to which you have applied (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.
- The letter type is Electronic
- 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: email@example.com (This e-mail account is used only for this purpose. Please do not use this e-mail for other correspondence to our office. It will not be answered.)
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
- When you are taking the DAT, be sure to release your scores to our office. Please send us a breakdown of your DAT scores by email (the ADA only forwards scores to us on a quarterly basis). We will not complete your Committee Letter without knowing your DAT score.
- 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. There are links to requirements for each school within 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. We forward your additional letters of recommendation in their entirety.
*Optometry applicants will not use the veCollect service. You 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."
When do I request that HPAO transmit letters to schools?
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 Letters 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)
- AACOMAS (osteopathic schools)
- VirtualEvals (TMDSAS and podiatry schools only)
- AADSAS (dental schools)
- OPTOMCAS (optometry schools- Committee letter only - see optometry information above)
- IMPORTANT: You must submit a Letter Forwarding Form to have your letters forwarded.
Please note that the HPAO will send the same group of letters to each of the schools to which you apply. We cannot customize each group for specific schools. Moreover, it is not necessary to do so, since every professional school has been fully satisfied with the format of our letter packet. It is not necessary to comply with a school's request for a specific number or distribution of letters when you utilize the Commitee Process.
When will my committee letter be sent?
IMPORTANT: You must submit the Letter Forwarding Form for your letters to be forwarded to any schools.
We will attempt to transmit your letters within three weeks of the time we receive your Letter Forwarding Form, provided that all your letters are in and your Committee Letter is complete. 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 400 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 1 deadline, filing your Pre-Health Packet by the priority deadline, 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 Wendy Loughlin.
When will the HPAO begin forwarding letters to professional schools?
August 15 is the promised Committee Letter date for students meeting all of the priority requirements. No letters will be forwarded from HPAO until July 15th. Schools do not need letters before this time and many services are not set up to receive them electronically until this time.
Can I add additional letters of recommendation to my packet?
Yes, if we have not already transmitted your Committee Letter, 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 letters service may only add one additional letter via AADSAS once the packet has been uploaded by HPAO.
Is there a Letters Only service if I do not go through the committee process?
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 individual letters and send them as a complete packet to professional schools. Be advised the Letters Only service will cost $40 ($20 to establish veCollect and $20 to use the letters service). Please refer to the following:
- veCollect instructions - establish an account to collect letters
- To have your letters forwarded, email Mike Grünberg at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request
- You will be required to pay the $20 fee and fill out the Letter Forwarding Form
Can my letters be forwarded to a potential employer?
No. Letters submitted to HPAO are for professional school applications only and cannot be used for any other purpose (employment, application to non health-related graduate programs, etc).