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Applying

Health Committee Letter

Most health professions schools require letters of recommendation as part of their application process. For students applying to medical, dental or veterinary school, the Greene Center prepares a special recommendation letter, known as the Health Committee letter (HCL), for eligible individuals.

Rochester’s Health Committee Letter

At the University of Rochester, the HCL is a confidential letter of recommendation (LOR) from the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections. For the 2020/2021 application cycle, it will be considered an INDIVIDUAL COMMITTEE LETTER which includes a cover letter describing the UR curriculum, plus a letter describing the applicant’s background, accomplishments during their time at UR and development of the AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students: pre-professional competencies. This is NOT a packet and does not include additional LOR. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ask for and collect additional LOR from a variety of sources.

Check with the schools to which you are applying to determine their specific LOR requirements.

What Goes into the HCL?

The HCL is based on your Health Professions Questionnaire (HPQ). The HPQ is an online form that prepares students for their professional school applications. Submit a Health Professions Questionnaire (HPQ) by NOON (12:00 PM) EST on Friday, January 31, 2020. The HPQ can be accessed here.

Be thoughtful and reflective when providing your responses as we pull a great deal of information from your responses from the questions asked. The HPQ includes:

  • Your interactions with the Greene Center, most specifically with career advisors. Your interactions with us throughout your college experience has enabled us to understand your career aspirations which are further reflected in the HCL
  • Your interview with a Career Advisor will also draw connections between your experiences and your ability to articulate your story and readiness to attend medical, dental, and vet school
  • Your academic record (including GPA and awards) will be reviewed as part of this process
  • This letter will mention activities both inside and outside of the classroom, as well your motivation to pursue the intended field
  • The HCL serves to bring context to your background, describe your demonstration of the AAMC core competencies, and give professional programs a holistic representation of your candidacy.

In order to receive a Health Committee Letter, there are several requirements and deadlines you must meet:

Health Committee Letter Timeline

1. Meet Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be eligible for a health committee letter for the 2020 application cycle (for 2021 matriculation), you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a current University of Rochester undergraduate student, or have graduated from the U of R in 2018 or after. Note: students who have completed, or are in the process of completing a post-baccalaureate program, graduate program, or significant coursework at another academic institution are not eligible for a committee letter because it is highly recommended that you should be getting a letter from your most current institution. If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor through Handshake, selecting the appointment type ‘Healthcare, Human Services, and Biomedical Research Graduate School Advising’.
  • If you are requesting an update to a previous health committee letter request, and meet all other eligibility requirements, you are expected to complete all steps as described below. PLEASE NOTE: Students are only eligible for a maximum of one updated letter.
  • Be in good standing with the University, including matters related to academic performance, academic honesty and student conduct. 
  • There is NO minimum GPA requirement.
  • Apply to ONE of the following types of programs: Medical (M.D. and/or D.O), Dental or Vet.
  • You will be required to request a letter from our office. This information will be provided you AFTER you have completed your interview with an advisor in our office.
  • If at any point you determine that you are no longer applying for professional school this cycle, you must notify the Greene Center by sending an email to career.center@rochester.edu.

2. Submit the Health Professions Questionnaire

  • Submit a Health Professions Questionnaire (HPQ) by NOON (12:00 PM) EST on January 31, 2020. The HPQ can be accessed here

3. Submit Standardized Test Score

  • Please notify us of your standardized test score no later than June 26, 2020.
  • If you receive your score AFTER June 26, please know that your HCL will not be guaranteed by August 14, 2020.
  • Update your test score onto the HPQ once received.

4. Schedule an interview with a Career Adviser

Interviews will take place in February and March 2020. You can schedule your interview online through Handshake, by selecting the "HPQ Interview" appointment type. If you have any trouble accessing Handshake, please contact the Greene Center at (585) 275-2366 to schedule your HPQ Interview. Applicants may begin scheduling their interviews on February 3, after the HPQ submission deadline and must have completed their HPQ Interview by March 31.

  • The interviews will be 45 minutes and will take place in the Greene Center, 4-200 Dewey Hall. If you are not local, please request the phone/video appointment medium.
  • The interview will ask a series of questions to understand you as an applicant and your motivation towards the program to which you are applying. Click here for interview resources. We will be utilizing the AAMC Core Competencies to evaluate your readiness.
  • Treat this as a professional interview.
  • This is your opportunity to assist us in writing your HCL to advocate for YOU! Please keep this in mind when preparing for your interview with us.

5. HCL Submission

  • If all the HPQ requirements are completed by the deadlines outlined above, your HCL will be written and uploaded to your designated program no later than August 14, 2020. If any deadlines are missed, your letter will not be guaranteed by August 14, 2020.
  • If you do not submit your HPQ on time, please make an appointment ASAP with an advisor to discuss your next steps.
  • In years passed we have used Interfolio which we will NO LONGER be using in an attempt to lessen the costs associated. Instead, please request an HCL from your application service site ie: AMCAS, ACCOMAS, AADSAS, VMCAS which will notify us of this request.
  • The contact information needed to enter for your HCL request will be provided to your UR email immediately after your HPQ interview.
  • You do NOT need this letter to apply on-time. You should submit your primary application as close to the open submission date as possible, respond to your secondary applications within 1-2 weeks, and then submit your HCL letter to your application service site as soon as you are notified that it has been uploaded by us.