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 addresses this topic in greater detail.
Requesting & Tracking Evaluations
Once a prospective letter writer has agreed to write an evaluation, your next step is to request the letter formally. If you waive your right to view your letter of evaluation, and your evaluator is able to upload your letter directly to SurveyMonkey Apply, you should request the letter within your SurveyMonkey Apply account. This is the fastest way to get a confimation of the reciept of your letter and will expedite your ability to request a Committee Letter.
If you do not waive your right to read the letters submitted on your behalf, or if your evaluator cannot upload an electornic letter to SurveyMonkey Apply, you should provide them with a copy (paper or electronic) of the Guidelines for Requesting a Letter of Evaluation/Privacy Waiver.
We recommend that you share the formal request with your writers, along with other supporting documents (e.g.resume, personal statement, transcript), at least 6-8 weeks in advance of the May deadline. You may also wish to share with them AAMC’s Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation.
For letters that cannot be submitted directly to SurveyMonkey Apply, or for letters that you do not waive your right to view, letter writers can send these directly to the Preprofessional Advising Center electronically as PDF files (attachments) using the email email@example.com - as we are not in the office at this time, and are working remotely, we do not have access to any materials sent by postal mail or interoffice mail since March 1. We do not know when we will be able to resume accepting materials in person or by any form of mail and do not recommend the use of mail for Summer 2020 applicants.
If you have requested a letter via SurveyMonkey Apply, you will be able to see within the system that the letter was recieved. If the letter requires manual processing (ie, was emailed to the Preprofessional Advising Center), we will enter it into our database and put into your applicant file in the order it was recieved. Our administrative staff will confirm receipt with you and the letter writer via email once we have filed your letter. Please monitor your @nyu.edu inbox and spam folders for all messages from firstname.lastname@example.org. During high volume periods in the spring and early summer, it may take our staff ten to twelve business days to file and confirm reciept of letters submitted via this manual method. We therefore strongly encourage you to use the SurveyMonkey Apply system if you waive your right to read your letters and your evaluators can upload the files.
NOTE: Applicants from the Tandon School of Engineering, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai campuses should consult with campus representatives to understand the steps for requesting letters of evaluation and monitoring their receipt.
Letters of evaluation can be submitted to the Preprofessional Advising Center at any time. When possible, we recommend that they be sent to Preprofessional Advising by May 15 of your application year. We will always continue to accept letters after this date but the letter must be on file with us before you request your Committee Letter on or after June 1. This timeline allows the Committee adequate time to review evaluations and include this material in your Committee Letter.
While Preprofessional Advising 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.
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, including students applying to SMP or postbaccalaureate prehealth programs.
- 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.