Letters of Recommendation

References take time to be completed, so ask early and provide the Guidelines for Reference Writers and the reference form to the writer so that your references are submitted properly for you.

  • You should have at least three references. Two references must be academic. At least one of the two academic references should be from a science faculty member.
  • All references should be on letterhead, signed, and dated.
  • You will need one Reference Release Form per letter, forms can be found here (docpdf). You will need to sign each form and provide it to the writer so that they can submit a copy of it with your letter.

Pay close attention to the “Candidate’s Waiver Statement” where you must choose whether or not you want a “closed” or “open” letter, as well as whether or not you will allow your reference writer to disclose information contained in your academic record. This can include, but is not limited to, your grades, your thesis, any of your written academic work or research, and any evaluations of your work or research.

  • Closed: A choice of a closed letter means you are waiving your right to read the letter. No Bates Center for Purposeful Work staff member or Medical Studies Committee member can divulge the contents, quality or tone of the letter to you. Writers of waived letters can write whatever they wish with the knowledge that their remarks will remain unknown to you.
  • Open: The choice of an open reference letter means you can read and evaluate the letter to judge its appropriateness for your professional school search. Open letters may be viewed by some, particularly professional school admissions committees, as a less candid assessment of your potential.