All letters must be submitted via AMCAS. During the AMCAS application process, there will be a section asking for letters of recommendation information. Please note that the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health cannot accept letters by any means except AMCAS.
UW will accept the following letter collection formats, provided they are submitted through AMCAS. Applicants need to choose only one of these formats.
One committee letter and one individual letter from a nonacademic source
- A committee letter is a letter authored by a pre-health committee or pre-health advisor and intended to present an institution’s evaluation of an applicant. A committee letter may or may not include additional letters written in support of an application.
One letter packet
- This packet should include letters from three faculty members and a letter from a nonacademic source. A letter packet is a packet or set of letters assembled and distributed by an institution, often by the institution’s career center.
Four individual letters
- Three academic letters of recommendation from faculty members and a fourth nonacademic letter from a mentor. An individual letter refers to a letter authored by, or representing, a single letter writer. If there is already a nonacademic letter included in either a committee letter or a letter packet, there is no need to add a separate AMCAS letter request entry for the nonacademic letter.
Academic letters may be from faculty members in any discipline.
Nonacademic letters may be written by anyone an applicant considers to be a mentor who can attest to his/her personal qualities and characteristics. In the past, admitted applicants have had letters written by employers, volunteer coordinators, individuals they shadowed, and community leaders, to give a few examples. Nonacademic letters should not be written by a family member or peer.
Letters written by faculty supervisors in research labs can be considered either academic or nonacademic.
It is important for applicants to choose letter writers who know the applicant well. Make sure to ask if a faculty member or mentor being considered can write a strong letter of recommendation. In their letter, they should feel comfortable commenting on the following applicant attributes:
- Integrity and personal character
- Motivation for medicine
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Emotional resiliency
- Academic aptitude
For more information, download the instructions for writers of recommendation letters (pdf)
Viewing your letters
AMCAS will not provide an applicant default access to letters written on their behalf. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), applicants are entitled to either review a letter of recommendation or to waive their right to access. Most applicants waive their right to access their recommendation letters. If an applicant chooses not to waive his or her right, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org to let the Admissions Office know. The office will provide a form to complete. A letter writer will be notified of your desire to review your letter.