Letters of evaluation, also known as letters of recommendation or letters of reference, are an essential component of your Committee Letter of Evaluation and play a central role in your application to schools of the health professions. At NYU, we refer to these letters as "evaluations" instead of "recommendations" because they include an honest, first-hand assessment of your strengths, challenges, and areas for growth.
The Preprofessional Advising Center serves as a repository for your letters of evaluation. As we explain on our Committee Letter of Evaluation page, these individual letters accompany our institutional letter when it is sent to the professional schools of your choice. All letters of evaluation are stored in a secure, digital "prehealth file" associated with your NYU student record.
Value and Purpose
Letters of evaluation provide professional school admissions committees with a unique perspective on your academic and personal qualities, as seen through the eyes of a third party. Given the gravity and impact of a letter of evaluation, it is in your best interest to think carefully about who can write the most appropriate and supportive letter on your behalf. We encourage you to learn more about the purpose and value of letters of evaluation by viewing a brief presentation produced by the Preprofessional Advising Center in collaboration with the Prehealth Advisory Board.
Who To Ask
You are strongly encouraged to secure between 3-5 letters of evaluation by the time you apply to professional programs. Letters should be solicited from:
- Professor(s) of Science
- Professor(s) in your Major
- Professor(s) or a Supervisor from a Clinical Experience
- Research Experience Supervisor(s)
In addition to excellence in the classroom, schools of the health professions expect you to have developed a robust portfolio of experiences that have informed your understanding of health care, challenged your intellect, and demonstrated your commitment to others. You should strive to balance the types of evaluations you collect, considering all individuals who could provide reliable academic, personal, and co-curricular insights, or ideally, a combination thereof.
When To Ask
Letters of evaluation should provide a recent and relevant testimonial of your strengths, skills, and personal attributes. Many professional schools expect letters of evaluation to be less than 2-3 years old. Your relationships with potential evaluators may evolve over time — by taking multiple courses with the same instructor, extending a volunteer experience, etc. — so we encourage you to wait until your relationship has truly peaked and matured before requesting the transmission of their letter. As a general rule, we recommend consulting with your prospective evaluation writers 6-8 weeks before the submission deadline to confirm their ability to write a supportive letter on your behalf. Our Letter of Evaluation presentation and the Guidance section of AdviseStream's Letters of Evaluation Planner address this topic in greater detail.
Requesting & Tracking Evaluations
All current and former prehealth and postbacc students on the Square are expected to request letters of evaluation via AdviseStream. AdviseStream’s Letters of Evaluation Planner, located in the Apply widget of your dashboard, allows you to:
- Add writers to your list of evaluators. This can be done by searching AdviseStream's directory of evaluators or by adding a new evaluator
- AdviseStream's directory is pre-populated with many members of our faculty and past evaluation writers. Please always search this directory first before adding a new evaluator.
- When adding a new evalutor, please note that specific contact details are required in the AdviseStream system, including an email address. The email address for all NYU affiliates should be the individual's NetID email (e.g. email@example.com) not the individual's email alias (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). For non-NYU affiliates, the email address you supply must have a professional affiliation. Personal email addresses (e.g. @gmail.com, @yahoo.com) will not be accepted.
- Add your resume and other supporting documents (e.g. unofficial transcript, personal statement) to a shareable folder that evaluators can reference when writing your letter
- Indicate your FERPA privacy waiver preferences for each evaluation (the paper privacy waiver is no longer needed).
- Share your privacy preferences, along with your Common Files, with your evaluators
- Request an evaluation directly from each writer
- Track the receipt of each evaluation in your AdviseStream account
- Send reminders and thank you notes using the Message tab
The Guidance section of AdviseStream’s Letters of Evaluation Planner, in addition to the instructions supplied in the Help Center, walk you through the process of selecting, requesting, and tracking your individual evaluations. If you have any challenges navigating the system, press the grey Support tab on the right-hand side of the dashboard.
Evaluation requests sent via AdviseStream include automated, comprehensive directions that will guide your writers as they draft an evaluation. These directions include the AAMC’s Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation, e-transmission instructions, and alternative transmission guidelines if electronic transmission through AdviseStream is not feasible.
AdviseStream’s features are intended to make the evaluation transmission process paperless and transparent, but this tool is NOT meant to replace the proactive and personalized conversations you should have with your prospective writers. You are expected to explicitly ask your evaluator about their ability and willingness to write on your behalf. Evaluators have the ability to decline your request for an evaluation; if they do decline, their name will automatically be removed from your list of planned writers.
NOTE: Applicants from the Tandon School of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai campuses will follow the steps below to request letters of evaluation and monitor their receipt:
- Provide each writer with a signed Privacy Waiver that notes whether or not you have waived your right to access your evaluation. This form must be provided to your writers prior to the writing of your letter and must be submitted along with with the completed evaluation.
- Share the Association of American Medical Colleges' (AAMC) Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation with your writer so that s/he better understands what medical schools value in an evaluation.
- Send a completed Privacy Waiver to your writers, along with other supporting documents (e.g. resume, personal statement, transcript), several months in advance of the May 15th deadline.
- Letters should be emailed, mailed, or delivered by the letter-writer to the address provided by your campus’ Committee process coordinator.
Letters of evaluation can be submitted to the Preprofessional Adevising Center at any time. When possible, we recommend that they be sent to Preprofessional Advising (via AdviseStream) by May 15 of your application year. This timeline allows the Committee adequate time to review evaluations and include this material in your Committee Letter.
While Preprofessional Advising and the AdviseStream system will continue to accept letters beyond May 15th, this "deadline" was created purposefully. The Prehealth Committee on Evaluations will not begin to finalize your Committee Letter of Evaluation until all anticipated letters of evaluation have been submitted on your behalf, so please determine an agreeable submission date directly with your letter writers based on your application time frame. Waiting for an overdue letter may impact the Committee's ability to complete its evaluation and transmit your documents to your health professional schools.
All students on the Square will use AdviseStream's Letter of Evaluation Planner to request evaluations and track their submission. Applicants to record enhancing postbaccalaureate programs or SMPs are encouraged to secure letters of evaluation in the winter/spring of their application year to accommodate these programs' rolling admissions policies.
Intended Use Policies
- Evaluations are retained by the Preprofessional Advising Center for a maximum of seven (7) years.
- Evaluations sent to the Preprofessional Advising Center may only be used to support your application to schools of the health professions or other post-graduate health programs. They cannot be used for any other purpose. No exceptions will be made to this policy.
- Evaluations will only be sent as an addendum to your Committee Letter of Evaluation. Students and alumni must be given express permission by the Chair of the Committee on Evaluations in order for individual letters to be forwarded without an adjoining Committee Letter of Evaluation. This dossier service is a courtesy typically reserved for students who are ineligible for a Prehealth Committee Letter of Evaluation or for applicants looking to expedite the transmission of their evaluations.
- All evaluations in your prehealth file are submitted – unabridged – with your NYU Committee Letter of Evaluation. Applicants are not permitted to remove evaluations from their prehealth file.
- The Committee Letter of Evaluation can only be completed after all expected letters of evaluation have been received. You should not ask for your NYU Committee Letter to be sent until all expected evaluations have been received by the Preprofessional Advising Center.
- Once your Committee Letter and associated evaluations have been transmitted to centralized application service(s), our staff will not transmit any additional evaluations sent on your behalf to the Preprofessional Advising Center. It is your responsibility to re-direct all evaluation writers to the appropriate evaluation transmission service (AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, etc.) associated with your application to facilitate the transmission of their evaluation directly.