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How to Request Letters of Recommendation

Tips to request a letter of recommendation:

Start early! If you know who you want to ask, don’t wait until June to request your letters. Approach the Professor/dentist/supervisor in January so that you are ahead of the crowd. Keep in mind most schools require at least one science and one dental letter or recommendation.

Make sure you have had a few conversations with the people you ask. These can be office hours with your Professor, questions about procedures with the Dentist you’re shadowing, or voice your goals with a supervisor. This will give them insight to who you are as a presentable student and person making for a better and unique letter.

Have your resume handy when you ask them for a letter. Make sure that this is detailed with the most important experiences only. It does not need to be an exhaustive list, but rather something they can refer to when writing your letter.

Complete a self assessment that you can share with your writers. This is a more detailed document that they can refer to. You can also share more information about your classes, community engagement, and expectations here. You can find an example of this here.

Have an idea of what you would like each writer to write about. This can be a group project where you showed leadership and teamwork, or a job where you exhibited professionalism and good customer service skills. Some will ask for a template to work from; this is where you can specify anything you would like for them to include.

Keep in mind that those writing letters for you are probably writing them for others as well. Writing a good letter can take time, so don’t badger your writer with weekly emails. If you request a letter in February, it is good to check in a month later to see if they need anything else from you. From there you need only send a reminder 2 weeks before your deadline (whether for a committee letter or directly to the AADSAS portal). It is important that you specifically mention this deadline.


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