The HPA Committee Letter

The letter of recommendation written by HPA on an applicant’s behalf is often called a composite letter or committee letter. The letter is often referred to as a "committee" letter because it carries the support of a committee of individuals who work with applicants; it is called a “composite” because it incorporates information from several different sources.

Purpose of the HPA Committee Letter

The committee letter serves many purposes:

  • To highlight the applicant’s noteworthy experiences, attributes, and metrics, in line with the holistic review models used in professional school admission. 
  • To provide context that may address anomalies in the applicant’s candidacy. 
  • To indicate that Princeton endorses the candidate to the admissions committee.
  • To centralize the collection of individual letters of recommendation.
  • To help HPA advisers learn more about applicants, which helps in guiding them through the application process.

Eligibility for a Committee Letter for New Applicants

To be eligible for a committee letter, the applicant must: 

  1. Successfully complete at least half of the prerequisite science courses (e.g., general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics) at Princeton with a grade of C or better.
  2. Have graduated from Princeton no more than five years prior to the expected professional school matriculation (e.g., class of 2020 for 2025 matriculation). 
  3. Secure at least two letters of recommendation that speak to their readiness for the science curriculum in medical/dental school; at least one of these two letters must be from someone who taught the applicant in a science course at Princeton.
  4. Participate in the HPA preapplication process.
  5. Meet all preapplication process deadlines:
    • Seven days prior to preapplication portfolio review: autobiography, essays, activities list, preapplication profile
    • May 15, 2024: Final deadline for completing HPA preapplication materials and scheduling portfolio review (preferred scheduling is in January)
    • August 1, 2024: Deadline for letters of recommendation, HPA file completion, and primary application submission (ideal submission is in June)
  6. Provide HPA with a copy of the verified primary application(s).

Applicants who do not meet the first three criteria might receive a letter of support on a case-by-case basis but all applicants must meet portfolio review and paperwork deadlines. Please contact HPA to discuss your  situation. 

There are no GPA or MCAT cut-offs to receive a committee letter of recommendation; however, HPA strongly encourages students to engage in the committee letter process when they feel confident that they are competitive applicants

For Princeton students and alumni who are ineligible for or elect not to receive a committee letter: HPA is happy to provide advising support and access to resources. HPA will also collect individual letters of recommendation on any student or alum's behalf and send a packet of the individual letters out to schools with a brief cover letter. See Letter Collection Service for more details.


Timing of Committee Letters

The committee letters of recommendation are prepared in the spring and summer; preparing them is a time-intensive process for the HPA office, and this is the reason that we ask for much information from applicants well before the application season truly begins with application submission in June. 


Packaging and Submission of Committee Letters

Once the committee letter is written, it is sent, along with other materials, to the applicant’s schools. The materials sent by HPA include:

  • Cover sheet with general information
  • Committee letter
  • Individual letters of recommendation
  • Letter addressing disciplinary/academic institutional action, if applicable
  • Description of Princeton’s COVID policies, grading policies, independent work requirements, and other highlights of the academic program