Information from Tufts and The Applicant Handbook 2012-2013 are available online!
The Health Professions Recommendations Committee at Tufts is a faculty committee whose role is to write composite letters of recommendation for those Tufts students and alumni applying to health professions schools. A composite letter from the HPRC is required by Tufts Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine and strongly preferred by University of Pennsylvania. Other schools may also ask for the composite letter after you have submitted regular recommendations through VMCAS.
At this time, the VMCAS eLOR system does not support electronic composite letters. You must still submit composite letters in paper form with the necessary attachments. There must be equal numbers of evaluation forms for the number of letters being submitted (i.e., if you wish to have the composite letter count for three evaluations, it must have three evaluation forms submitted). To register a composite letter in the eLOR system, you should register one other for each evaluation that the composite letter is supposed to represent.
Students applying to health professions schools in 2013 should be sure to read the Applicant Handbook on-line at http://uss.tufts.edu/hpa/ApplicationProcess. The handbook gives an overview of the application process, important dates and deadlines, and a suggested timeline. Carol Baffi-Dugan, Program Director for Health Professions Advising, and Stephanie Ripley, Associate Director, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 617-627-2000. The Administrative Support staff that assist in the process can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual Letters of Recommendation
The HPRC uses all individual letters that you have submitted in composing your composite letter. It also sends all those letters to veterinary schools. You must have four to five letters in your HPRC file. One of these must be from a Tufts faculty member. It is wise to try and have a letter from your academic advisor and/or a faculty member in your major. The others should be from other professors, employers, internship sponsors, coaches, Tufts staff members or any other adult who knows you well and can evaluate you objectively. Avoid letters from elected officials and friends of the family.
Recommenders should be approached early and asked if they feel comfortable writing you a good letter of recommendation. You might offer a copy of your transcript, resume, etc. to help the writer. Your recommender should be sent the appropriate electronic form with the confidentiality statement signed. Unless you have very strong convictions otherwise, you should waive your rights to see the letter – it will be given more weight.
The Composite Letter
A member of the committee whom you choose will write a composite letter of evaluation for you. The member will use the individual letters you submit along with your transcript, grid of activities and jobs, autobiography, and your interview to pull together as much about you as possible. The end result is a thorough overview of your college years and candidacy that has been reviewed by the entire committee. The composite letter, along with all the individual letters in your file, is sent to veterinary schools. Individual committee members will begin interviewing candidates on May 1 and finish interviewing on September 15. You should call a committee member early to ask if s/he will be your recommender. At a certain point, some committee members may refer you to another member if they have already made a large number of commitments. If s/he is able to write your letter you should be able to agree on a mutually convenient time in the future for your interview. The interview will only be conducted after you have submitted your HPRC registration form and completed your file with required materials and individual letters.
Prior to a scheduled interview, you must have all your individual letters in your file. Check and see by emailing email@example.com and putting HPRC question in the subject line or calling 617-627-2000. In addition, you must complete the second portion of the registration, which included grids of activities, jobs, etc. and your autobiography. You are responsible for seeing that all materials are in your file and notifying the HPRC assistant to forward it to your committee member – letters are not automatically sent!
Timeline for HPRC
April 1, 2010: Submit a completed Registration Form: part I
May 1: Have submitted on your behalf letters of recommendation from four to five individuals. One must be from a Tufts professor who has taught you. A composite letter will not be written without at least three letters, one from a Tufts faculty member.
May 1: Submit a completed Registration Form: part II
May 1: Contact an HPRC faculty member to be your interviewer and report to us who your interviewer will be. Report the date of the interview as soon as it is known.
May 1: Have copies of any non-Tufts college transcripts sent to your HPRC file. Your photocopies are acceptable. Transcripts can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Tufts University, Administrative Support-HPRC, 419 Boston Avenue, Dowling Hall, Medford, MA 02155.
May 1 – September 15: Interview with a member of the HPRC. You must report your interview date to email@example.com and must have ALL materials -registration part II and all letters of recommendation- on file before you may interview. If a file is incomplete at interview time, the interview will be automatically cancelled and the student will have to reschedule with the interviewer.
July – September: Complete the Request for Letters to Be Sent form online, print it out and submit with the appropriate fee and other documents to HPR The form will not be accepted before July 1, and if submitted will be returned to you. Administrative Support, Dowling Hall. Composite letters will not be available before August 1. Students should plan for a 4 to 6 week time period between the HPRC interview and the point at which the letter will be ready to be sent.
Following Admission: Notify your HPRC interviewer when you receive an acceptance.