Committee Letters for OPMs

Does anybody have thoughts on committee letters for Old Premeds? I am having a really hard time getting enthused about this committee concept. I’ve gone to some of the “get yerself prepared!” meetings and they have these checklists that just seem silly - why should I shadow an MD when I already work as a scribe? Why do I have to have an advisory letter from a biology teacher at THIS school, NOT where I actually took biology?

I’m not traditional in that I’m a little older, I went to a hippy school that did evaluations and not grades, and my undergrad is in international relations. I respect the process of the committee review, but it feels like I’m trying to shoehorn myself into a cookie cutter for traditional students.

I found some posts about this on the SDN, but no info on committee letter for non-trads. Any thoughts?

I have written committee letters so let me chime in to explain the letter’s role in the application process. If the school where you completed the bulk of your premed requirements provides a committee letter for its students the medical schools will expect to see it; if you don’t go through the committee process it will immediately be seen as suspect by the med schools (as if you’re trying to avoid using the committee since you’re afraid of what they might include in the letter). So it’s highly recommended that you DO go through the committee process; the letter is the institution’s representation of you and it holds great weight in the medical school application process. Of course, there are circumstances where it’s impossible to participate in the committee process (when students take post-bac courses independently, for example, to complete their premed requirements) and in those cases the med schools understand.

Bear in mind that if you went to a school where there were no grades the letters are going to be even MORE important than usual since they will be ALL the admissions committees have to rely upon to evaluate you prior to the interview (aside from the written materials you submit and your MCAT score). So my advice is to be a willing participant in the committee process. You should be able to discuss with your premed advisor/s which letters will contribute to the committee’s knowledge; that’s where you have control of the process. Good luck!




If you haven’t had a chance to talk one on one committee advisor about being non-trad, I would encourage you to do that. I met with an advisor where I’m taking my prereqs. At this school you’re technically supposed to take 24 hours of classes in order to be eligible for a committee letter. But I’m taking classes at univ and CC. Because told the advisor my plan (semester by semester) and a little bit about my background (nursing, research, volunteering, etc). Because of this conversation he said that they will waive the hours requirement to write a letter for me. Maybe they can customize a plan for you too.