Letters of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation are an important portion of the veterinary school application. You should familiarize yourself with the types of letters of evaluation each vet school requires well before you head into the application cycle.
The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) requires a minimum of three electronic evaluations and allows a maximum of 6 recommendations to be electronically submitted. 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 applicants are one hard science professor, one veterinarian and another “professional” reference. This can come from another veterinarian, a research mentor, volunteer coordinator, employer, etc.
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. It is more important that you have strong, substantive letters than it is for you to have the maximum number of letters. This does not mean that you cannot collect the maximum if you know you can get 6 strong letters.
UGA does not provide committee letters nor do we assemble letter packets. Instead, you will need to assemble a minimum of three individual letters for submission.
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.
Click here for VMCAS Instructions for Letters of Evaluation
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 Fall (no later than October) before the application
opens in January. 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 veterinary medicine. 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 (VMCAS)
- Brief statement of your educational goals
- Rough draft of your three essays
- Guidelines for how to write a letter of evaluation
Note: Always waive your right to view your letters of evaluation.
You will need to send your letter requests through the VMCAS application service once it opens for your cycle so that your evaluators will be able to directly upload their letters into the application system. Please notify your evaluator that there will be an evaluation section for them to complete before submitting their letter. When you submit the name and pertinent information of each of your evaluators into their VMCAS application, the VMCAS “Messenger” will send that evaluator an email to the email address provided by you giving a link into your application and a password. Keep in mind that the VMCAS application does not open until early January and the application service does not keep your letters for the next application cycle.