Chair, Health Professions Advisory Committee:
Shelli Waetzig, PhD, Department of Chemistry & Food Science
STUDENT GUIDELINES FOR COMPOSITE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
The faculty members at Framingham State University recognize a need to provide students support in the application process to professional schools in the healthcare fields such as medical school, dental school, veterinary school, and many others. In addition, some programs require composite letters from a student's institution. These are the roles of the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC). The Committee consists of faculty from various departments that represent many of the prerequisite courses required of students. Students seeking a Committee letter should proceed through the application process listed below. Prior to beginning the application process, students should plan to meet periodically with one of the pre-health advisors (Dr. Aline Davis, Dr. Steven Cok, or Dr. Shelli Waetzig).
The Application Process
The first step in the application process is to submit to the HPAC Chair, Dr. Shelli Waetzig, a completed Intent to Apply Form no later than December 1st prior to the summer during which you will be applying.
Next, applicants must submit to Dr. Waetzig the materials listed below no later than two months prior to the first application deadline. Please note: For students who have a summer or fall deadline for letters, the last day for submitting your materials is April 1st of the application year.
- Copies of all college transcripts containing prerequisite courses.
- Three letters of recommendation from FSU faculty. Each letter must have the FERPA release form attached to it. Letters must be on FSU letterhead and signed by the professor. At least one of these letters must come from a member of the Biology Department, the Chemistry and Food Science Department, or the Physics and Earth Science Department. Letters may be emailed or mailed from the professor directly to Dr. Waetzig.
- A statement of your career goals and why you are pursuing this degree.
- A resume that includes leadership roles, volunteer activities, work experience, and any other pertinent extracurricular activities.
- Score(s) of Standardized Entrance Exams (MCAT, GRE, etc.).
- Names of schools you are applying to, with application deadlines.
- An email address and phone number where you can be reached.
- An electronic copy (in Excel) of the names and addresses of the schools that are being applied to. Be sure to include application deadlines. Students applying to schools that use a central application service that distributes letters need only include names and addresses of schools that do not participate in the application service and therefore need to receive letters from the HPAC. Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to provide Dr. Waetzig with the contact information and student identification number for the application service as well as the information for the other schools.
- Students also need to complete the upper portion of the Student Disciplinary Record Disclosure Consent Form. This form should then be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, who will conduct the review, and send the completed form to the HPAC.
Please submit the application packet to:
Shelli Waetzig, PhD, HPAC Chair
Chemistry & Food Science Department
Office: Hemenway 436C
Please note: The Committee will not begin the review process until the student has supplied ALL of the requested material, regardless of approaching deadlines.
The members of the Committee will review all the materials submitted by the student along with the Disciplinary Record Disclosure, and decide if the student's application has merit. If so, the student will be invited to schedule an interview with the Committee. If not, the student will be informed that the HPAC cannot write a composite letter of recommendation in support of his/her application. In most cases students can still apply to their intended schools, but will need multiple letters of recommendation in place of the HPAC composite letter.
After meeting with the student, the Committee will make an assessment taking into account the student's history, submitted materials, and interview, and will then vote on whether to support the student's application to the professional school. If the Committee votes to support the candidate, there are four tiers of support possible: enthusiastically recommend, strongly recommend, recommend, or recommend with qualifications. Please note: If the student has not taken the MCAT or other professional exam required for the program being applied to, the committee may postpone a final decision on the letter request until such time as the student’s scores are available.
The student will be informed, either in person or via email, of the Committee's decision. The student will have 72 hours in which to contact the Committee representative and inform the Committee as to whether or not he/she would like letters sent out to the different programs. If the student decides not to have the Committee send a composite letter, he/she may still choose to have copies of individual letters sent; however, it is the student's responsibility to arrange this.
The Committee will be responsible for writing and sending ONLY COMPOSITE LETTERS. Individual letters of recommendation not submitted to the Committee which a student desires to have included in their application must be arranged by the student (for example, non-FSU letters of recommendation). It is not the Committee's responsibility to make sure that letters arrive prior to deadlines, if all of the material is not submitted well in advance of those deadlines. The Committee has no influence as to the student's acceptance to a program.
Subsequent Letters and Re-application
Students receiving letters may request HPAC letters for up to two years after the initial application. However, in order to obtain another HPAC letter the student must meet with one of the Pre-Health Program advisors and provide him/her with a letter outlining what the applicant has done since the last meeting with the Committee, how it is relevant to his/her application, and any other information that would be important to the Committee. The Committee may or may not request another interview with the candidate. This decision will be made on a case by case basis. If the letter re-request is greater than two years since the initial application, the student has to provide a new information packet and go through the process as a new applicant. Any re-applicant that was not provided with a composite letter must apply as a new applicant.