Getting into Medical School For Dummies
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Updating your letters of recommendation is another way to strengthen your medical school reapplication. Exactly how you handle letters of recommendation as a reapplicant depends on whether you use a premedical committee letter or individual letters of recommendation.

  • If you applied with a premedical committee letter previously, check with your premedical advisor to find out the committee’s policy regarding reapplicants. Some schools make changes to the committee letter or include an addendum updating the letter, whereas others simply resubmit the previous version as it stands.

    Medical schools prefer a committee letter if one is available, so you should work with your committee to obtain a letter for the new cycle instead of switching to individual letters if possible.

  • If you’re planning to submit individual letters of recommendation, you can use some of the same evaluators as before. If you’ve continued to interact with the writer in an academic or professional setting since the original letter was written, request that he update the letter.

    In some cases, the letter may be from a professor, a physician, or another individual with whom you’re no longer in regular contact and who would not have new material to add to the letter. If the letter is a strong one, using it again is fine, especially if it’s needed to fulfill a requirement for a particular type of letter, such as a science faculty letter.

In addition to updating letters from previous evaluators, obtain one or two new letters that reflect activities you’ve participated in since you last applied. Schools don’t expect you to submit an entirely new application package after only a year, but fresh letters are a way of demonstrating that you have recent accomplishments and experiences to add to your previous ones.

If more than a year has passed since you last applied, getting recent or updated letters to add to your portfolio is especially important for showing continued growth.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Carleen Eaton, MD, has used her expertise in admissions and test preparation, as well as her experiences as an applicant who received acceptances to top-ranked medical schools, to guide hundreds of applicants successfully through the medical school admissions process. She is the founder of, a medical school admissions consulting firm.

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