How do you manage Letters of Recommendation?

Hi everyone!

I was just wondering how you manage your Letters of Recommendation from schools and physicians? The AACOM website (to apply for DO schools) do not provide a place to manage them, however, they do link you to Interfolio as a possible option.

Am I correct in that it is preferable for the med schools you are interested in to receive the LOR directly from the source (ie, physician), rather than the applicant?


Interfolio collects and distributes your recommendations: Your recommenders send or upload their letters to Interfolio . Interfolio holds the letters till you pay Interfolio a nominal fee and tell Interfolio which letters and to which schools to distribute the letters to.

Unless you are sure you will be applying to only one or two schools, you better use Interfolio. (This is also VirtualEval, but I prefer Interfolio because it is not school specific.) It is maddening to worry about if your recommender has the time to reprint, sign, and send your recommendation to school A, school B, etc. Medical schools on the other end also find these piecemeal mailings chaotic too. Instead of getting one complete packet with all your recommendations from Interfolio, the medical school admissions staff have to: 1) figure out who each recommendation received by piecemeal is for (many applicants have the same name), 2) figure out if they have a file for the recommendee (some recommendations arrive before the AACOMAS files are downloaded) , 3) after filing your recommendation, the staff will have to figure out if the application is complete and ready for decision or if the application needs to be refiled awaiting more recommendations. Obviously, lots of time and effort is wasted in the piecemeal effort. And what if your recommendation is lost or misfiled? Good luck trying to solve that one.

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Am I correct in that it is preferable for the med schools you are interested in to receive the LOR directly from the source (ie, physician), rather than the applicant?

You are correct that the schools do not want to receive letters from the applicant. They actually prefer that to see that you have waived your right to read the letters. I recommend using Interfolio. It has been around for several years, so most people who have written any LORs should be familiar with it. Even if they aren't, it is pretty easy. There are several ways for your recommenders to upload their letters - they can fax them, e-mail them (and electronically sign them), or even snail mail them.

The nice thing about Interfolio is that once your letters are uploaded to them, it puts you in control of making sure that your letters are delivered when you want them to be - you go online, click what letters you want sent, enter the info and poof . . . your letters are sent. It's also nice from the recommender's standpoint because they then only need to send your letter once instead of being asked to send letters to multiple schools.

Schools are used to letter services such as Interfolio and will not think anything of your using it.

I think Interfolio cost me $100 for a year usage, and it was money WELL spent. Typed in which LOR they should be getting from different sources, they posted when they had received them and they were available to be sent out. Could hand pick which ones to send to which schools (some are picky as to the number of letters). My recommender only had to send one letter to one address - they can mail it to Interfolio also, they don’t have to have an account and be able to “load” it electronically. Made the process of applying to the schools MUCH easier.

AMCAS also has a built in letter service. You can send the letters from Interfolio over to their letter service, if they are not osteopathic-specific. If you are only applying to allopathic schools, the AMCAS letter service will probably work fine for you.