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Letter Collection Service

veCollect is a letter collection system for Drexel students and alumni who are applying to medical and dental schools. Students can register without authorization but the file will not become activated until it is reviewed and approved by the pre-health advisor. Once activated, the students need to read through the veCollect information for applicants and watch the video tutorials to learn about the required steps for using the system.

The veCollect system will be available to medical and dental school applicants beginning in the February prior to the summer when they will be applying to medical or dental school.

It is strongly recommended that students and alumni meet with the pre-health advisor in the winter term prior to the summer that they will be applying to medical or dental school to discuss issues regarding the medical and dental schools' requirements for letters of recommendation.

Recommendations are probably the most confusing and frustrating part of the application process. Most medical and many dental schools require or prefer a Committee Letter (referred to as the University Recommendation at Drexel) from the undergraduate institution if available to the applicant. Note that the application deadline to apply for the University Recommendation Letter is February 3, 2017 for the 2018 application cycle.

For applicants who do not have a Committee Letter/University Recommendation, medical and dental schools usually require recommendation letters from two science professors. Some medical schools also require a third letter from a non-science professor. If you are not eligible for the University Recommendation or if you choose to bypass the University Health Professions Committee, you must have individual letters from science professors.

Please remember that quantity does not equal quality. Four or five letters should be the maximum. If you ask to send too many letters (7–8), the medical schools will just not read them. Recommendations do not compensate for a low GPA or low MCAT scores.

Below are some examples of recommendation packets. Note that many factors including your range of academic, service, work, and extracurricular experiences will influence whom you ask for letters of recommendation.

Packet One

  • University Committee Letter
  • Two professors (they do not have to be science)
  • One from a co-op employer

Packet Two

  • University Committee Letter
  • One professor who taught you in a science course
  • One professor who was a research supervisor
  • One from an organization where you volunteered (at home, on campus, or hospital, etc.)

Packet Three

  • University Committee Letter
  • One professor who taught you in a science course
  • One from a co-op employer
  • One from an organization where you volunteered

Packet without a Committee Letter

  • Two science professors
  • One from a non-science professor (if required by the medical school)
  • One from a co-op employer
  • One from an organization where you volunteered

NOTES:

1. If you are applying to osteopathic schools, you must shadow a DO and obtain a letter from that physician. This letter is in addition to the examples listed.

2. For pre-dental students – you must include a letter(s) from a dentist you have shadowed. This letter should include the approximate number of hours that you spent shadowing.

3. Confidential versus non-confidential recommendation letters:

  • According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as FERPA, an individual has the right to inspect and review letters of evaluation written on one's behalf. However, medical and dental schools prefer confidential letters, and admissions committees tend to give confidential letters "greater weight." For letters submitted through the veCollect system, medical and dental schools will know which letters are confidential and which are not because, for each recommender, you will need to complete a form indicating whether or not you retain your right of access to the letter.
  • When you approach someone to ask for a recommendation, prepare a folder with the following: unofficial transcripts, résumé, details of any volunteer or research activities, and instructions on where to send the recommendation letter. Make sure to give your recommenders plenty of notice (one month or more) regarding when the letter needs to be submitted. The suggested deadline is June 30.

4. Methods for sending letters to medical and dental schools:

Applicants who receive the University Recommendation

If you receive the University Recommendation, you must use the veCollect system for all of your recommendation letters. Your recommenders should upload their letters to veCollect by June 30. Note that the University Recommendation cannot be sent to medical or dental schools until you have finalized a folder on veCollect (called a quiver on the system) that contains all of your letters of recommendation.

Applicants without the University Recommendation

Option A – Using veCollect to collect recommendation letters

If you do not receive the University Recommendation, you may still use the veCollect system, in which case the pre-health advisor will upload the packet of your recommendation letters to the medical or dental school application service.

You are responsible for monitoring your veCollect account to determine when all letters have been received, completing the letter processing steps, and then informing the pre-health advisor that your letters are ready to be sent to the medical or dental school application service. In the veCollect instructions, this process is known as "creating and locking a quiver."

Option B – Having letters sent directly to medical and dental school application services

You can choose to have your recommenders send their letters directly to the medical or dental school application service instead of the veCollect system. Each application service has a specific set of instructions within the application with information for applicants and recommenders. Read over those instructions carefully, and as needed provide necessary forms to the recommenders.