Nearly all schools require a letter from a science professor and a health professional in your field. Many osteopathic schools require a letter from a D.O., while also welcoming a letter from an M.D. Allopathic schools accept either, but it makes sense to have a letter from a professional in the specific field you wish to pursue.
It is in your best interest to waive your right to read the letters, as the professional schools will likely view the comments as more believable.

An article entitled You're Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation that appeared in the magazine of the Psychology National Honor Society provides some excellent insights into this important aspect of your application.

The Two Main Types of Letters

  1. A Committee Letter consists of a comprehensive summary of your qualifications by the Health Professions Committee, using information you provide and input from faculty, health professionals, and others. It includes quotes from the individual supporting letters that are attached in their entirety. Please provide your recommenders with our Evaluator form.

    Indicate “Committee Letter” and NOT “Letter Packet” on the application. The latter consists of individual letters attached with a cover letter but no Committee summary. Also do not opt for electronic individual letters in a cooperative service in a field that accepts Committee letters (allopathic or osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, and podiatric medicine).

    For Committee letters: List Dr. Amanda Siglin as the recommender. Her contact information is Juniata College, 1700 Moore St., Huntingdon, PA 16652; 814-641-3574 (phone); siglina@juniata.edu.
  2. An Individual Letter is just that—a letter by a single person in support of your application. Schools and services will specify the categories of individuals that they require. Be sure that a Health Professions Committee member provides one of your individual letters, as only Committee members have access to your information on the Health Professions database, allowing them to provide a more comprehensive letter.

Committee Letter vs Individual Letter?

Cooperative services vary in which kind of letter is permitted to be uploaded to their database.In general, Committee letters can be submitted with allopathic and osteopathic medicine, dentistry, podiatric medicine, and optometry. All other services prefer or require individual letters.

A Committee letter is preferable to an individual letter for the professions that accept them.

  • If you are applying for a 3 + Accelerated or 4 + Early Acceptance formal affiliated Juniata Program, you may be provided with a Committee letter, even if the individual or cooperative application service does not ordinarily use one. Consult with Dr. Amanda Siglin regarding your situation
  • Be sure the Health Professions Committee or your individual recommenders are appropriately informed of any special circumstances they will need to address; for example, social or academic infractions, extenuating reasons for low grades, combined degree program, etc.
  • If your letter is not due at the same time as your application, request that it be sent about a week after you submit the other materials, so that the letter will have a “home” when it arrives at the professional school


Logistics for Committee Letters

Request release of your Committee letter by emailing Susan LaVere (laveres@juniata.edu) and provide the following information:

  • Your cooperative service I.D. number. Without this information, your letter cannot be sent
    • For AMCAS—give Susan your Letter Request Form with the AMCAS Letter ID number. This is IN ADDITION to your AMCAS ID number
    • For OptomCAS give Susan the OptomCAS checklist form. This is IN ADDITION to your OptomCAS ID number
  • The addresses of the schools UNLESS they participate in Virtual Evaluations, an electronic service for sending letters to schools of allopathic and osteopathic medicine, optometry, podiatry, and some post-baccalaureate programs.
    • Consult the VirtualEvals website for participating schools and give Susan the list of your VE schools
  • On all required forms be sure to:
    • include your full middle name
    • designate your waiver choice (the Committee recommends that you waive your right)
    • sign the form
  • For forms designated as optional, do NOT submit them


Logistics for Individual Letters

  • On all required forms be sure to:
    • include your full middle name
    • designate your waiver choice (the Committee recommends that you waive your right)
    • sign the form
  • Give the completed form to your recommenders with a stamped, addressed envelope


For both Committee and Individual Letters, FOLLOW UP to be sure that your letters are received, as your application will not be considered until EVERYTHING is in!

Continue to Special Circumstances with Study Abroad
Return to The Application Process
Return to Applying to Professional Schools