Letters of Evaluation
Letters of Evaluation are an important portion of the dental school application. You should familiarize yourself with the types of letters of evaluation each dental school requires well before you head into the application cycle.
The Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) allows for up to four letters of evaluation to be electronically submitted. You should check the website of each school where you intend to apply for letter requirements. If there are strong preferences of types of letters, it will be indicated. If the school does not give any guidance about the letters they expect, the "model" typically followed by our successful applicants is two hard science professors, one general dentist and another “professional” reference.
As of January 2016, the Pre-Professional Advising Office no longer serves as a repository/submission service for letters of evaluation to dental school. The absence of a "committee" or "pre-dental" letter will not adversely affect your application.
Click here for AADSAS Instructions for Letters of Evaluation.
Individual dental schools are quite specific in the types of letters of evaluation they expect from applicants. Therefore, you should be selective in who you ask to submit letters on your behalf and you should always double-check the individual requirements of each school to which you want to apply. Remember that while you do want to make sure that you are satisfying the requirements of the schools to which you are applying, it is equally critical that you obtain letters from evaluators who know you well and can speak positively on your behalf.
You will submit a maximum of four letters of evaluation. Two should come from faculty members that you have taken hard science courses with and one should come from a general dentist with whom you have shadowed or volunteered. The Pre-Health Advising Office also recommends that for the fourth letter, to choose someone you may have worked closely with (for instance, as part of your double-major, minor, or certificate program), other physicians or healthcare professionals you have shadowed under or worked with, volunteer coordinators, reserach mentors, etc.
You should NOT use personal references such as friends or family nor should you use professional references from evaluators who do not know you — e.g. a professor from a large lecture class who you have never spoken to, a senator that you have never worked with, your pastor, etc.
When asking for a letter of evaluation, it is important that you do so in person.
Emailing or calling to set up a meeting or appointment is acceptable but you should
request the letter face to face. Further, you should schedule an appointment with
each of their evaluators by early Spring (no later than May) of the year you wish
to apply to dental school. Your evaluator will need time to work on your letter,
so be courteous and respectful. Do not forget that they are likely receiving requests
from other students as well.
Due to the size of UGA, it can be difficult to generate strong letters from college faculty and staff who know you very well and can offer significant insight into your character traits and capacity for entering the profession of dentistry. Therefore, it is important that you not only work actively to build relationships from early on, but also that you provide your evaluators with as much information as possible when you do request a letter:
- Recent copy of your resume (with picture)
- Detailed instructions for how to submit the letter (AADSAS or Interfolio)
- Brief statement of your educational goals
- Rough draft of your personal statement
- Guidelines for how to write a letter of evaluation
Note: Always waive your right to view your letters of evaluation.
Using Interfolio (Recommended)
We encourage you to consider using Interfolio to collect and submit your letters of evaluation. Interfolio's primary purpose is letter storage, so you can begin collecting letters before the application cycle opens. You can set up an Interfolio account for free to begin storing documents. However, in order to transmit your letters to the application service (AADSAS), you must pay to upgrade to Dossier Delivery for a flat rate of $48 per year. Your letters will be maintained even if your delivery account expires and you can renew your account any time.
How to use Interfolio:
If you do not opt to use Interfolio to store your letters, your evaluators will need to upload their letters directly to AADSAS. When the application opens in early May, you will be able to add new evaluators in the "Supporting Information" section of the application, but you will not be able to submit your application until the first week of June. Be sure that all of the information that you enter about the evaluator is accurate and that you include the correct email address for that person. Once you complete an entry, AADSAS will send an email to your evaluator with an upload link for their letter. It is your responsibility to make sure that your evaluator is expecting this email. (Don't forget to have your evaluator check their spam folder since the email sometimes gets filtered out!)
Interfolio is a paid service that will store your letters indefinitely and allow you to upload them to the following application systems: AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, and TMDSAS.
As soon as you create an account, you can enter letter writer information and they will receive an e-mail from Interfolio with a link to the upload page.
Begin by clicking on the "Request a Letter" link.
You will be prompted to fill out some information about your new recommendation request. This includes information about the recommender and will allow you to add a due date for the letter. You have the option to include a message for the recommender, and you can also upload your CV/Resume and any additonal documents you would like to provide.
Once you have completed the forms and clicked "Send Request," your letter writer will receive an email with an upload link.
When your letter writer clicks the link in the email, they will be taken to Interfolio's website and will be able to see the details of the request and upload the letter.
You should always waive your right to view any letters of recommendation, including those uploaded to Interfolio. As a result, when letters are uploaded, you will receive a notification that the letter is stored in Interfolio, but you will not be able to open the file and read the letter.
Once your letters are in Interfolio you can follow their step-by-step guide for how to upload letters to your application system.
Re-Applicant Letter Packet Procedures
If you are re-applying to a professional school and the Pre-Professional Advising Office previously uploaded a letter packet for you, the office will re-submit the letter packet for you upon request, if no changes or updates to the original letter packet have occurred. The Pre-Professional Advising Office will only maintain student files for previous applicants (letter packets) for 5 years; after which they are destroyed.
If you are requesting updated letters or changes to your original letter packet, please
email firstname.lastname@example.org, so Ms. Pamela Tolbert can return them to your faculty and staff letter writers.
Please note: Revised letters must be submitted directly to AMCAS, AACOMAS, or professional
schools by the letter writers.
Using the Pre-Professional Advising Office to Submit Letter Packet to AMCAS
You will email email@example.com your request to have your letter packet sent, you will need to include the AMCAS Letter request form (available in your AMCAS application). In AMCAS, you will list Pamela Tolbert, (Business Manager) as the contact person and select the "Letter Packet" option.
Using the Pre-Professional Advising Office to Submit Letter Packet to AACOMAS
If you are applying to Osteopathic medical schools; you will email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. In addition, you will need to send a letter of recommendation request to email@example.com from the letters of recommendation section in AACOMAS. You will select the "Non-Committee Letter" option.
Using Interfolio to Submit Letter Packet
Please be aware that Interfolio (an online letter of recommendation document management service) is also an available option for your letter packet submission.
If you choose to have Interfolio submit your letters, you will submit a letter of recommendation request via Interfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will ensure the fastest delivery to Interfolio. With an established Interfolio account, you can direct that your letter packet be submitted to AMCAS, ACCOMAS, or another application service or school for a delivery fee.