Are Evaluation Letters from Lower Division Courses OK?

Hello everyone,

I have been reading posts on this site for a while now and really appreciate everyone’s advise and willingness to help.

I apologize in advance for the long post. I will apply to the Texas med schools this year. I did not enter a post-bacc program, but instead opted to go back to my old university and taked the premed courses I had not taken(and retake a few that I took 10 yrs ago). To date I have had only had 2 summer sessions(Summer 2007) and this semester of science coursework(retaking BIO I and I, and genetics). I started a new job in the fall of 2007 and the training prevented me from taking day classes. I did take a Health Pyshcology class that semester. After this semester I will need to take Biochem, Microbiology, Ochem lab and the second half of General chem lab. I did not inquire about letters of evaluation in the summer of 2007, so I am left with requesting letters from the professors I have this semester. My genetics professor is “booked up” until August so will not be able to write one until then(which will be much later than I want to apply). I can request letter from my BIO I and II professors and the professor I had for Health Psychology. The school I am at requires 3 letters from faculty in order to submit an official school evaluation.

I am concerned that 2 of my evaluation letters will be from professors of lower division courses and one will be from a non-science course. I am worried that letters evaluating my performance in lower division courses and non-science coursework will not be effective. I do think that my Bio profs are very good and with some face time I think they will write good letters. However, they will be letters evaluating my performance in intro Bio courses. I can try to get a letter from a prof in the upper divion bio course that I will take this summer, but I wanted to have my application submitted by the end of May.

Has anyone had a similar experience, and/or have some advise to share? I know that good evaluation letter will really help an application, but will letter from only lower division coursework hurt my application?

Again, sorry for the long post and thank you all in advance.

I can’t think of a reason why the LOR would be suspect just because you were in the prof’s lower-division class. Especially since it sounds like these would be prereq classes, right?

Some of us don’t ever get to upper-division classes in bio, chem or physics so the option to go to the prof of a 400-level class just isn’t there.

Much more important is making sure that it’s a good LOR. You want the prof to actually KNOW you and speak knowledgeably of your work in the class, in a detailed sort of way. Not “he was in the top ten percent of people in my class,” which is the kind of letter that could be composed by a computer or a TA.

I gave my LOR writers a copy of my personal statement so they’d know me even better, and made sure to stop by office hours or take lab sections with them. I was so very lucky to do my coursework at a place where the class sizes weren’t prohibitive so that they definitely knew me… this isn’t always an option, of course, so going out of your way to make sure your prof knows who you are and why you’re so interested is always helpful.

Good luck!


Hello Mary,

Thanks for your advise. I volunteer in the lab of one my professors and visit the others quite a bit. I am confident they will write good letters. I am amazed at how open they are to just chatting. It is much easier talking with professors this go round.

Thank you again.