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Letter Written for Character Reference Legal by vot27059

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									                  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
                  Office of Health and Legal Professions Advising


                                                                                          100 Fletcher Drive
                                                                                          P.O. Box 112015
                                                                                          Gainesville, FL 32611-2015
                                                                                          (352) 273-4083
                                                                                          (352) 392-2905 Fax
                                                                                          http://www.advising.ufl.edu/ohlpa
           RECOMMENDATION LETTER FILE FOR PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL APPLICANTS
                                    Retain these instructions for future reference

General Information
Letters of recommendation are usually required of all applicants by post-baccalaureate professional school admission
committees. The Office of Health and Legal Professions Advising (OHLPA) acts as a central agency to:
     Provide waiver forms for letters of recommendations and instructions designed to assist students in the collection of
         letters.
     Maintain a confidential file of the student’s recommendation letters (up to five).
     Transmit photocopies and/or electronic copies of recommendation letters to the health professional programs (e.g.,
         medical and dental schools) designated by the student.

The OHLPA letter service is only for students applying to schools that are not participating in a centralized application
service (i.e. AACOMAS).

This process saves the applicant and the writers of recommendation letters from duplicating their efforts for each school the
applicant has applied.


                                                   When to Start a File
Generally, the best time to start a file is during the start of spring semester of your junior year (almost seven months before
you expect them to be sent). If you plan to delay your application, then you should start a file in January or February of the
year you plan to apply. Your file should be completed by June 30th of the year you are applying. Don’t wait too long
thinking that professors who know you will write a letter in a day or so and send it directly to OHLPA. This very rarely
happens. Students have been known to wait for six months or longer for recommendation letters. Keep in mind that letters
should not be more than one year old at the time they are actually sent to the schools. Students may not start a file for more
than one type of health profession school for any given application cycle.
                              WHO SHOULD WRITE RECOMMENDATION LETTERS?
 Recommendation Letters: Each program has its own idea of what kind of recommendation letter package they want you to
submit. To cover your bases, we suggest four letters; two from science faculty (required), one from a non-science faculty,
and one health care experience letter (required or strongly recommended). A fifth character reference letter is recommended.
     Science faculty letters are defined as academic letters. These letters are written from professors who have taught
        you in a science lecture course. You want to make sure one or both of the letters are from basic science pre-requisite
        courses in chemistry, biology, or physics. The second science letter may come from a non pre-requisite science
        course. We recommend that you choose the upper division science courses. Some of the courses considered are
        from Human Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, Geology, Chemical Engineering, Neuroscience, etc.)
     Non-Science faulty letters are defined as academic letters. These letters are written from professors who have you in
        a non-science lecture course. Generally you want to ask your professors that taught you in courses from English,
        History, Business, Journalism, Religion, Sociology, Health Science, Psychology, etc.
        Health Care Experience letters are defined as a letter in which someone can attest to your potential to be a health
         care professional, whether it is a physician, dentist, physical therapist, etc. It should come from someone who has
         worked with you in a health care environment and supports your endeavors to become a health care professional. It
         is recommended that the letter comes from someone in the related field you want to work in. For example, if you
         are pre-med, the letter should come from a person in the medical field; if you are pre-dental, the letter should come
         from someone in the dental field.
        Character Reference letters are personal letters of recommendation that attest to your character. Generally, these
         letters are written by people with whom you had a professional relationship with outside the classroom. These
         individuals are able to describe your personal attributes and why he or she wants to support your application to
         health professional school. Some examples of who may consider for this letter are: academic advisor, major
         advisor, employer, research director or principal investigator, TA supervisor, etc.

*Note some Florida medical schools require five letters in the categories as described above. University of Central Florida
and University of South Florida are examples.

Research early to determine if a school you are applying to have requirements that will not be met by letters you have
requested for your file. You do not want to have to desperately search for someone to write a letter during the summer
semesters when many of the faculty are away or beginning of the fall semester when they are extremely busy with their
classes.

Choose faculty who know you well, and are favorably impressed by you. Although faculty members are preferred as
recommenders by admissions committees, you can have a letter from a graduate teaching assistant if it is endorsed by the
faculty member in charge of the course. OHLPA recommends not having more than one letter from a teaching assistant.
Transfer students may wish to have a letter from one or two professors at the school in which they were previously enrolled.

If you have reached your quota of letters, and would like to send additional letters to the schools that you have applied to,
please send them on an individual basis. This letter service will not allow additions or subtractions from your file once you
have transmitted your letters.

Peer Letter: Letters from personal friends or family members are not acceptable for most professional schools. Although a
peer letter is required at University of Florida College of Medicine, most other professional schools will not consider it to be
an appropriate letter. University of South Florida and University of Central Florida will accept the peer letter as a character
reference.

Since all letters in an applicant’s file are sent to all schools, please do not include the peer letter as part of this letter packet.
Applicants should arrange to have the peer letter sent directly to the centralized application/schools by the author of the peer
letter.

Additional Information:
    Some admissions committees give character evaluation forms. If you use the letter service, these forms are not
        needed; an open letter written is accepted in its place. Health profession schools know and understand how
        centralized letter services operate. Keep in mind that we send out the same letters to every school. Our office
        does not customize your letter file.
    Please ask the letter writers to make the salutation general. For example: “Dear Medical School Admissions
        Committee”.




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                INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPENING A FILE WITH THE OHLPA LETTER SERVICE
1.      Complete the OHLPA Regulations and Policy Checklist (page 5 of this application), including personal data (name,
        UF-ID number, etc.), and the acknowledgement statement that you have read and accept OHLPA regulations.

2.      Complete the Recommendation Request File Form (page 6 of this application), including personal data (name, UF-
        ID number, etc.), and then sign the access waiver. Be sure to check off, if you choose to waive or not waive your
        right to access the contents of the letters written on your behalf. Indicate the persons you are soliciting for letters in
        the requested spaces.
                  You must either waive or not waive your right to ALL the contents.
                  You may not choose to waive some and not others.

3.      Return the completed forms to the OHLPA Assistant. You will then be given one waiver form for each
        recommender you have listed. After a folder is created for you, application pages will then be placed in a binder for
        you to check its progress.

                    INSTRUCTIONS FOR REQUESTING LETTERS FROM RECOMMENDERS
1.      Take a waiver form to each of your recommenders. Provide each recommender with a short résumé and a rough
        draft of your personal statement. When the letter is completed, they will return the letter directly to OHLPA. For
        their convenience, give each one a stamped envelope addressed to OHLPA.

        Suggestions for how to write the letter of recommendation are provided on one side of the waiver form. Remember
        to remind the recommenders to sign the waiver form and submit the waiver form with the letter to OHLPA. Letters
        of recommendation must be printed on official business or department letterhead.

        Only the original document is accepted by OHLPA. We will not accept photocopies, faxed, scanned, or other
        electronic copies of the waiver form. Original signatures are required on all documents submitted to OHLPA.

2.      As letters are received by OHLPA, they are logged in on the shaded portion of your Recommendation Request File
        Form (labeled “date received”). You may come in during normal Academic Advising office hours to check the
        status of your file.

3.      Remember to write your recommenders a “Thank You” note. If you send the “Thank You” note 2-3 weeks after you
        give them the forms, it will also serve as a reminder for them to write your letter if they have not already done so

                                                     ACCESS WAIVER

On the application page 6 there is an Access Waiver Statement. You must indicate by signature, whether you wish to waive
(give up your right to view any letters) or not waive (retain your right to view any letters) access to your letters of
recommendation.

On the waiver forms given to you when you turn in your application pages 5 and 6, there are spaces for your signature
indicating whether or not you waive your rights to view the letters.

Choosing NOT to waive your rights to view the letters means that you reserve the right to read the letters only, you may not
alter, edit or copy them for your personal use. You must waive or not waive your right to all letters in your file. In other
words, you may not choose to waive access for some letters and retain access to the other letters.

While this is a decision that must be made by each individual, admissions committees generally consider letters to which
access has been waived as being more candid. Also, there are some faculty members who will refuse to write a letter unless
access is waived. There are some admissions committees that require all letters be confidential.




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                                                TRANSMITTING LETTERS
To maximize your chance of admission to professional school, you will want to be considered by admissions committees
early in the process (when there are more spaces available in the entering class for which you are applying). Therefore, it is
to your advantage to have your file complete and letters ready to transmit by the time you submit your application.

Although it usually takes only a few days, you must allow OHLPA 2 weeks from the date of your request for the letters to
be transmitted. It is your responsibility to have your file complete and request your letters in a timely fashion. OHLPA will
neither guarantee that letters will arrive by the school’s deadline, nor provide special rush services (such as faxing or next day
service) for any individual student. Letters are sent on a first requested, first transmitted basis.

                                    INSTRUCTIONS FOR TRANSMITTING LETTERS

When the schools are requesting your letters and your file is complete, please inform the OHLPA assistant. Depending on
the program you are applying to, indicate: 1) those schools for which you have received secondary applications, or 2) list the
names of the individual schools that are not part of a centralized application service, in the space provided.
         -If your school sends out secondary applications, you will make a request for those schools as you receive each
         secondary. Please do not request letters to be sent before a school requests them from you.

Students are asked to make a payment into a University of Florida Foundation account. This payment provides envelopes,
postage and mailing labels and other related costs.

  ***PAYMENT IS NOT REQUIRED UNTIL YOU REQUEST THAT YOUR LETTERS BE SENT
                 TO THE SCHOOLS THAT YOU HAVE APPLIED TO***

The cost of the service is $20 (flat rate). There are no refunds. This payment will provide mailings for up to 15 school
addresses. For any additional transmission, please follow the chart below:

                           Number of Schools                   Payment amount
                           Schools 1-15                        $20 (flat rate)
                           Schools 16-20                       $2 per additional request
                           Schools 21-25                       $3 per additional request
                           Schools 26-30                       $4 per additional request
                           Schools 31-35                       $5 per additional request

Please make payment at the time letters are requested to be transmitted, with checks/money orders made payable to the
University of Florida Foundation # 4873. Cash is not accepted.

Your letters will be prepared and sent within 2 weeks. It is your responsibility to give OHLPA plenty of time in advance to
ensure you meet your deadlines.

Keep in mind that this file service is a convenience offered to you by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and OHLPA
 must work within the limits of its resources. You are not required to use this service, but if you choose to do so, please
                                               abide by the above regulations.


                                             IMPORTANT NOTICE!
       INFORMATION CONCERNING YOUR FILE WILL NOT BE GIVEN OVER THE PHONE, UNDER ANY
                                       CONDITIONS.

IF YOU ARE LEAVING THE CITY, DESIGNATE A FAMILY MEMBER OR CLOSE FRIEND TO CHECK ON YOUR
                                       FILE FOR YOU.

  PLEASE CONTACT THE OHLPA ASSISTANT IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS.


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                                             OHLPA Regulations and Policy Checklist
Name: _______________________________________________________________ UF ID # __________________
           (Last)               (First)        (Middle initial)

REGULATIONS CONCERNING COLLECTION AND TRANSMISSION OF LETTERS
(Please check off each box to the left indicating you understand and agree to abide by these rules.)

    Letters will be sent to a MAXIMUM OF 35 schools per year. Students who choose to apply to more than 35 schools (MD and DO
     programs combined), must make arrangements to collect and transmit letters to those additional schools on their own.

    Before your letters are transmitted, your file should be complete. If you request that your file is sent while incomplete, any late letters
     will have to be sent by the writer to each of the schools.

    OHLPA will not accept more than five recommendation letters be kept in your file. Conduct letters, if needed may be added to these
     five. Conduct refers to any disciplinary action documentation required by the school. Admission committees tend to prefer no more
     than five letters.

    All letters submitted to OHLPA must be printed on official business/department letterhead or it will not be accepted.

    OHLPA asks that applicants make letter transmittal requests in person and to submit payment on the day of the initial request.
     Refunds will NOT be given! Please see the OHLPA Assistant if you will not be able to do this.

    Payment is required for each new application year.

    ALL LETTERS in your active file will be sent to each school that you request. There is no exception to this policy. Although some
     schools may only require two or three letters, sending the entire file is a commonly accepted practice from letter service organizations.
     This is another reason as to why having more than five letters is discouraged.

    ALL documents submitted to OHLPA must be hardcopy originals (including letters of recommendation and waiver forms).
     Photocopies, faxes, scanned or electronic copies of any documents will not be accepted. Original signatures must also be on
     documents.

    All documents submitted to OHLPA are property of OHLPA. Letters will not be returned to students or recommenders. Letters are
     not transferable to other credential services other than official centralized application services.

    Files can be sent to health professional admission, financial aid, and scholarship committees only or joint degree programs such as
     MD-PhD, MD-JD, MD-MBA, MD-MPH, etc.

    If you are not accepted for professional postgraduate school and plan to reapply, you may still use this service. OHLPA retains student
     files for three years, beginning with the semester you most recently applied for admission.

    OHLPA will NOT send letters to graduate programs, post-bac programs, Special Masters Programs, record enhancement programs,
     departments, or employers or another credential service. This service is strictly for those applying directly into the health profession
     programs.

    You may inactivate a letter if you choose, by simply writing “Do not send” across the space the letter is posted in. This letter will be
     stamped “Do not send” and stapled to the back of your file folder. This letter cannot be later reinstated in your letter file. This is an
     option for those who re-apply and need to update the file.

    Students may not use the Letter of Recommendation Service to send letters to more than one type of health profession school, with the
     exception of allopathic and osteopathic medicine...

I hereby acknowledge with my signature, that I have read all accompanying instructions for collecting and transmitting letters of recommendation and that I
completely understand and accept them. I also recognize that if I do not allow at least two weeks for letters to be transmitted, the Office of Health and
Legal Professions Advising will neither guarantee letters will arrive by any school’s deadline nor provide special rush services to any student.

SIGNATURE:                                                                                          Date:




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                                RECOMMENDATION REQUEST FILE FORM

Name: (please print) _________________________________________UF-ID #_____________
                     Last            First         Middle Initial
E-mail Address: ___________________________ Alternate email address: _________________

Have you used the OHLPA Letter Service Before? ________ When? (Term/year)_____________
Are you a re-applicant to professional school? _____

Program: (check one) __Medicine (MD/DO) __Dentistry __Veterinary __Optometry __ Podiatry
        ___ Other (please indicate program): ________________________

Will you be applying to allopathic and osteopathic schools simultaneously? ___ Yes ___ No

Term and Year you plan to enter professional school: ________________________, _________
                                                     (Fall, Spring or Summer)      (year)

                                               ACCESS WAIVER STATEMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (20 U.S.C. 1232g), I understand
that I have the right to either waive or retain access to evaluation letters obtained in support of my application to professional
school(s). I recognize that waiving my right of access is not a requirement for consideration of my application or for any
other services provided by the Office of Health and Legal Professions Advising (OHLPA) at the University of Florida.

I DO  I DO NOT  waive my right of access to letters in my file collected by OHLPA.
    (Check one)

Signature: ____________________________________________ Date: _________________

Right of access does not mean you can have possession of the letters contained your file. Right of access gives you the
ability to view your files in the Office of Health and Legal Professions Advising.
Once you have waived your right of access, you may not later change your mind. All decisions made in this matter are
final.

                    Letters obtained by this office are posted by date, in the shaded column.
                                             Institution, Department or Business                  Date Received
         Recommenders
1
2
3
4
5

When your file is complete and you wish to forward your letters to professional health schools, please request the
Transmission Authorization form from the OHLPA assistant. Complete the Transmission Authorization form, submit both
documents (Recommendation Request File and the Transmission Authorization forms) and pay the required fee. If your
school sends out secondary applications, please do not request your letters to be sent until you have received and completed
the secondary applications.




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