Recommendation Letters for Postbac Programs

For applicants to postbac programs without a committee letter who are not applying to health professions schools this application cycle

If you have not applied to health professions school in a previous year, you will collect individual letters and have them sent to postbac programs. Postbac programs provide specific guidelines as to how they want you to collect and submit your letters of recommendation. You are encouraged to follow their procedures.

  • Many postbac programs will require that you register your recommenders online so that they may send letters electronically through their application systems.
  • If a program prefers that you send hard copies of individual recommendations through youradvising office, please contact HPA and we can provide further details.

When considering whom to approach for letters, try to consider whose letters will provide a balanced picture of you as an applicant. Letters are meant to provide details about any and all aspects of your candidacy, particularly your ability to navigate the rigorous medical school curriculum and suitability for a career in the health professions. HPA will provide additional guidance around choosing your recommenders, if you desire.

When asking for letters of recommendation, try to set yourself and your recommender up for success.

  • Ask in person (it is more professional, and more personal), offer to provide more information about yourself by email or in follow-up meetings as needed, and give them a packet of materials that will help them to write:
    • A copy of your resume/CV
    • A short biographical sketch discussing your background and describing your interest in health professions, or copies of personal statements that you’ve written for your program(s)
    • The AAMC Letter Writer Guidelines and HPA Letter Guidelines available on the HPA website may be useful if your recommender has not written many letters for health professions school applicants. It’s okay for letters to address your interest and readiness to become a health professional, rather than specifically addressing postbac preparation.
    • A list of the programs to which you’re applying with information on their procedures for recommenders.
  • Be sure to negotiate deadlines by which the letter should be received by the programs, and be ready to follow up with recommenders as needed. If any programs require electronic submission of letters, be sure that you have each recommender’s email address.
  • Always ask recommenders to retain a copy of the letter in case you need it for a future application to health professions school, or ask them to email a copy to HPA so that we can keep it on file for you. 

For applicants to postbac programs without a committee letter who plan to apply to health professions schools this application cycle

  • Follow all guidelines above.
  • Ask your recommender to tailor a version of their letter to your application to professional school, and follow the procedures provided to current applicants to have letters uploaded through veCollect.

For applicants to record enhancer programs who already have a committee letter from HPA

If you have applied to health professions school in a previous year through HPA, many postbac programs will accept your committee letter packet (which includes your committee letter, accompanying individual recommendations, and other HPA materials). HPA is happy to send the committee letter packet on to your postbac programs.

Please compile all of your application information into one email with the following information for each program to which you’re applying:

  • Name of school/program
  • Web URL of school/program
  • Due date for letters
  • Address of school/program (for programs that require hard copy).

If the program will accept the packet electronically, just list the name/due date of the program and send us the electronic request at hpa@princeton.edu. We will send your committee packet as it was created for your health professions school application in its entirety. We are unable to mix and match individual letters to be sent to individual programs. Please
try to compile all school information into one request for easier processing. Requests can generally be met within 1-2 weeks.