Pre-Med

HOW PRE-MEDICAL ADVISING WORKS AT DUDLEY

The Pre-Medical applicant works together with both a Dudley Premed Adviser and the Office of Career Services.

We work as a team to support your needs as comprehensively as possible. To get started, please contact Resident Dean Laura Chivers and Academic Coordinator Carvina Williams.

Your Your Dudley Premed Adviser is Keizra Mecklai, who will be responsible for writing your Committee Letter. This letter is based on your other letters of recommendation, information from your Dudley Pre-Med Survey, discussions between you and your Dudley Premed Adviser, your grades, and your MCAT scores.
.

Alumni should first contact the Dudley Resident Dean to get the process started.

All your letters of recommendation, a copy of your transcript, and your MCAT scores should be sent to the Dudley Undergraduate Office to the attention of your Premed Adviser and the Undergraduate Coordinator, Carvina Williams (ududley@fas.harvard.edu)

TIMELINE

OCS has a pre-med timeline from the First Year through the Senior Year.

For the Dudley Committee Letter, you should meet with your Dudley Premed Adviser and submit your Dudley Forms (waivers, intent to apply, Pre-Med Survey) by April 1 of the year you are applying, and have at least four letters of recommendation in to the Dudley Office, a list of Medical Schools together with envelopes for non-electronic submission schools by May 1.

Your Dudley Committee Letter will be uploaded and/or sent to medical schools by August 15., provided that you have abided by Dudley premed deadlines.

If you have not met the Dudley premed deadlines, but provided all the relevant documents including all the recommendation letters by August 1, your Dudley Committee Letter will be uploaded and/or sent to medical schools by September 1. As the Dudley Premed Committee needs time to craft you a strong letter, you are urged to meet the earlier deadlines or reach out as soon as possible.

ELEMENTS OF AN APPLICATION TO MED SCHOOLS

During your college career:

  • Pre-med requirements
  • Non pre-med classes
  • Extracurricular activities (including community service- if applicable)
  • Research including thesis

Within the year of applying (the process begins with a mandatory pre-med meeting in February)

  • MCAT (either the summer before or the spring of applying)
  • Letters of recommendation (last letter should be in the Dudley Office by May 1st of the year you are applying)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Pre-Med Survey (should be in the Dudley Office by April 1)

Summer and fall of the year of applying

  • AMCAS application (between June 1-30)
  • Non-AMCAS applications (by July 1)
  • Secondary applications sent to you by individual schools, after AMCAS processes your AMCAS application (1 week turnaround time)

Fall of the year of application

  • Interviews

PREMEDICAL COURSE REQUIREMENTS

See  Meeting Academic Requirements on OCS's Medical and Health Careers section.

IMPORTANT: Check the current edition of the Medical School Admissions Requirements (the official guide of the Association of American Medical Colleges) for information on particular course requirements for the medical schools to which you may apply.

Be sure to check the premedical requirements for your state medical school. This guide is updated annually and can be found in the Reading Room of the Office of Career Services or ordered on-line from the Association of Medical Colleges.

MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

See MCAT Information on the AAMC website.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

THE COMMITTEE LETTER

In order to have a Committee Letter written for you, you must complete the Dudley Premed Survey, and you must consult with your Dudley Premed Adviser.

When is the Survey due?

You should have the Survey into the Dudley Undergraduate Office by April 1st of the year you are applying. If your letters of recommendation are also in by May 1, your Committee Letter should be ready by August 15.

What is the Committee Letter?

The Committee Letter is an essential component of your medical school application: your application will not be considered complete without it! It is written by your Dudley Premed Adviser and is reviewed and signed by the Resident Dean. The Committee Letter and 4-5 letters of recommendation are sent to each medical school to which you apply.

What is in it?

In the Committee Letter, we present your record, your interests, and your personality. We use information from interviews, your application, our personal acquaintance with you, and letters of recommendation. The Committee Letter is one of advocacy and evaluation, discussing your academic accomplishments, explaining any set-backs or detours, discussing the origins of your interest in medicine, your career plans and commenting upon your achievements and potential. College policy requires us to reveal any requirement to withdraw for disciplinary or academic reason and any probation for disciplinary reasons.

SUPPORTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

When to ask?

If you have not already done so, you should start asking for letters of recommendation NOW. In general, the best time to ask for a letter of recommendation is soon after the course, job, or extracurricular activity has ended. Your letter writer is likely to be quite busy, and it can take a long time for a letter to get into your file, so make sure to ask well ahead of the May deadline. (Remember, each letter sent to the office must be accompanied by a waiver.)

How many letters do I need?

Your goal should be to have 4-6 letters in your file before May 1st of the year you apply to medical schools. Late letters of recommendation mean a late Committee Letter, which in turn means late secondaries and interviews. While 4-5 letters are sent with your application, more can be helpful in writing the Committee Letter. Therefore, we recommend asking for at least 6 letters of recommendation; the more, the better.

Whom to ask?

The ideal letter of recommendation is from a person who has worked with you closely, knows you well, and has been impressed by you and/or your work. Ask the people who know your academic ability and personal qualities best, and who can write a detailed letter with concrete examples, anecdotes, and as many sincere superlatives as possible.

You should ask both science and non-science instructors: science concentrators need to show strengths in writing, the humanities, and social sciences, whereas non-science concentrators need to demonstrate strengths in the sciences and math. Letters from an extracurricular activity adviser, an employer, or a coach can also round out your file.

The bottom line: everyone should try to have at least 2 science letters and 2 non-science letters.

Professors vs. teaching fellows.

The best way to get over this hurdle is to get to know your professors! Of course, this is easier said than done, but worth it if your professor knows you well enough to write a truly good letter for you. If you must decide between a generic letter from a professor and a thorough, detailed letter from a TF, choose the TF. However, always ask if the professor would be willing to co-sign the letter.

How to ask?

You can ask for a recommendation over the phone or via e-mail, but you should meet with the prospective letter writer to discuss your interests and plans. Ask the person if he or she can write a strong letter for you. If he or she says "no" or "not by the deadline," try to find someone else. Again, the most important criterion is not whether he or she is a professor or lab instructor but that he or she knows you well. If you ask a teaching fellow, you may ask if the professor would co-sign the letter.

What can I do to help my recommendation letter-writers?

The more information you give to your letter-writers, the more detailed their letter can be. So give them (at a minimum):

  • your CV
  • a brief personal statement about yourself, your academic and extracurricular interests, and why you want to go into medicine
  • a signed waiver form
  • a stamped envelope addressed to the office of the Resident Dean
  • a deadline (make it up if you have to), because most busy people work best if they have some kind of deadline and because they may have many letters to write and you need to get in line
  • Be polite but persistent, and don’t feel bad about calling or sending an e-mail again if the letter is still not in after a month.

To waive or not to waive?

The Office of Career Services suggests that you waive your rights of access to all your letters of recommendation. Whether you waive your right or not, you must complete a waiver form for each letter, indicating your wishes. Be aware that we cannot use non-confidential letters in a confidential Committee Letter. All letters should be confidential or none of them should be.

Where do letters go?

 

**WHILE HARVARD COLLEGE OFFICES ARE WORKING REMOTELY DUE TO COVID-19, please have recommenders send their letters as a PDFs to both dudleyhousedean@fas.harvard.edu and ududley@fas.harvard.edu in lieu of snail mail***

All letters should be addressed to:

Dudley Community Undergraduate Office
10 DeWolfe Street
Suite 23
Cambridge, MA 02138

Finally:

Remember to keep track of your letters of recommendation by checking with the Office of the Resident Dean. It is your responsibility to make sure that your file is complete!