One of the questions I’m commonly asked when students are applying to DO schools is about letters of recommendation. With many schools differing in their requirements for letters of rec, it can get a bit confusing if you need to send them, how many to send, and who they need to be from.
Do I Need To Send Letters of Rec to DO Schools?
The short answer is yes. As you’ll see below, all of the DO schools in the United States require that you submit at least one letter of recommendation.
In general, most schools require that you submit two letters of recommendation.
- One of these will typically need to come from a physician. While many schools accept letters from both MDs or DOs, most prefer or strongly recommend that the letter comes from a DO.
- The second letter will generally come from one of these groups: your university’s premed/prehealth committee, your premed/prehealth advisor, or a science faculty member.
Although some schools only require one or two letters to be submitted, you may be able to send additional letters.
When Do I Submit Letters of Rec?
Letters of rec are usually submitted along with your secondary application. This is good news! You don’t have to wait for your professors or doctor to get you that letter before you send in your primary application. Don’t procrastinate though. You want to give your letter writer plenty of time. I recommend 4-8 weeks.
Who Should I Ask To Write My Letters of Rec?
Of course, you’ll first want to first see what the school’s exact requirements are and then choose who you’ll ask to write for you. The bottom line is that you want letters written by people that know you well and can speak to your academic and clinical abilities.
That being said, it’s unacceptable to submit letters written by family members. Auntie and Uncle can’t save you this time. Also, while a letter from your boss or supervisor might sound tempting, do you think they’ll be able to comment on your clinical abilities? Probably not.
For a LOR from a physician, choose someone that has worked with you or that you’ve had the opportunity to shadow. For a letter from a science professor, it should be one that taught you and that you have a relationship with. Going to office hours is a great way to engage with professors outside of class and start building that rapport.
How Do I Submit My Letters of Rec?
Always double check the college’s specific requirements for submitting your letters of rec. Some schools ask them to be mailed, emailed, or directly uploaded into AACOMAS or Interfolio.
You’ll also want to check any specific requirements the school might have about the style or format of the letter. Letters are typically required to be typed on official letterhead and should include a signature, but exact specifications vary by school.
Below you can download a complete guide to letters of rec for the 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. For the most updated info on what is required to apply to each school, make sure to check out the school’s website.