The Medical Professions Advisory Committee (MPAC) & Letter Process

Letters of recommendation are an important aspect of your application. How you submit these letters, as well as the numbers and types of letters required, will vary by profession. You are responsible for visiting individual school and centralized application service websites to understand letter requirements.

The following information is for applicants to medical (MD and DO), dental or podiatry school, who will apply with an MPAC Committee Letter.

A Committee Letter is a composite letter, typically consisting of:

  • 1 letter from your MPAC Committee Advisor
  • 2 letters from science faculty
  • 1 letter from non-science faculty
  • 1-3 (typically 2) letters from non-faculty 
    • Dental applicants - includes a letter from a dentist
    • Podiatry applicants - includes a letter from a podiatrist
    • Osteopathic Medical School Applicants - encouraged to have a letter from a DO

All applicants who complete the requirements and meet the deadlines below will qualify to receive a letter of recommendation from the MPAC Committee. Your advisor will be assigned to you.

Following are Deadlines and Requirements for a Committee Letter:

January 31: Submit the "Request for an MPAC Advisor" form to confirm that you plan to apply. This form will ask for a link to your completed Applicant Portfolio that includes a completed Self-Assessment.

February: Contact individual letter writers to ask for letters of recommendation. After the letter writer has agreed to be a recommender, send them the "Information for Letter Writers" Letter.

End of February/Beginning of March: Recieve your MPAC Advisor, share your portfolio, email your advisor within one week of receiving your assignment to set up your first meeting.

March: Sign up for your MPAC interview when dates are released.

March - May: Have your MPAC Committee Letter Interview with your Advisor.  The Committee Letter Interview will be a 45 minute mock interview with feedback that both allows you insight into the interview process and allows your advisor to gain insight about who you are as a candidate.

May 26: Letters of recommendation from faculty and non-faculty are due to Health Professions Advising.

May 26: Recommendation Release Form due to Health Professions Advising.

A note about confidentiality of letters: Although you have the right to view letters of recommendation, we strongly believe you should waive the right to read letters of recommendation. If you do not waive this right, you letter writers may be less comfortable in writing a letter on your behalf, and admissions committees may be less inclined to believe the letter writer was candid in his/her assessment. If you have questions about this, please speak with the Director of Health Professions Advising.

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are most useful when they are from someone who knows you well and can be personal, discuss competencies that are important to programs, and give unique insight into you as an applicant. Think about how each letter writer will contribute to your application; multiple recommenders saying the same thing isn't as helpful as recommenders with different insights. Consider asking:
  1. Faculty from upper-level classes where you displayed higher level thinking.
  2. A thesis or independent study advisor.
  3. A faculty member who you've had for more than one class.
  4. A faculty member who you only had for one class but really hit it off and stayed in touch with.
  5. Dental applicants, a dentist is required. Podiatry applicants, a podiatrist is required. Osteopathic medical school applicants, a DO is strongly recommended. MD applicants, a clinician who has seen your work is an outstanding person to ask for a letter.
  6. A research PI. Note: If there's a post-doc who knows you better, see if the post-doc and the PI can either co-write the letter or the post-doc can contribute to the PI's letter.
  7. An internship, volunteer position or job supervisor.
  8. A coach if you were on a Wellesley sports team.
  9. If you have taken more than one gap year, a supervisor from a job during your gap year.

Contact your letter writers around February for a preliminary conversation. Following is a protocol to follow in asking for letters:

  1. Talk to the individual letter writer in person if possible to discuss your plans and goals, and ask if they feel that they can write a strong letter of recommendation for you.
  2. After the letter writer has agreed, send them the "Information for Letter Writers" letter.
  3. Make sure that letter writers are aware that the deadline is May 26, though letters can be submitted before that date.
  4. Follow-up with your letter writers to make sure that you letters are submitted. Send no more than three follow-ups.
  5. Make sure to thank your letter writers, and keep in touch with them as you go through the application process. In particular, make sure to let them know when you have been accepted!

Your MPAC Advisor will also write you a letter of recommendation. Your advisor will write the strongest letter they possibly can for you; help them to write your letter by:

  1. Spending time in careful self-reflection as you complete your self-assessment. Your MPAC advisor will review this as they write your letter.
  2. Complete your applicant portfolio thouroughly and thoughtfully. Your MPAC advisor will review this as they write your letter.
  3. Contact your advisor promptly and professionally to set up a first meeting.
  4. Be prepared for your first meeting and your MPAC interview.
  5. Submit your application early so that your advisor is able to use your completed application when they write your committee letter.
  6. Remember to connect with your MPAC advisor when you are accepted and let them know where you go for your professional program.