Getting Great Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are critical to being accepted to one of the 56 accredited dental schools in the United States. Before you start asking for these letters, take a moment to help improve the quality of your letters before they are ever written.

You have the ability to influence the quality of the letters written for you by providing your writers with some simple yet useful information that will help them when preparing the letters.

First, start with a letter that asks for the recommendation and tells them why you need the recommendation. In that letter you should also remind the person of how you met or how long you have known one another, what interactions and experiences you have had together and your thoughts about those interactions. Talk about your qualities; reliability, maturity, judgement, communication skills, ability, confidence, motivation, etc. If you talk of these things in your letter, they are likely to end up in the writer’s letter as well.

After writing the letter, gather some useful information about yourself for the writer. Include a copy of your transcripts (unofficial transcripts are fine for this) and perhaps a resume or CV that contains information regarding your participation in extracurricular groups, academic societies, social groups, etc.

Providing these things will aid the writer in creating a better recommendation, and will make the task of writing the letter less troublesome. A professor may not remember every detail about every student, and these documents will help them to provide an accurate picture of you as a student.

Make sure to give them written instructions on what to do with the letters once they are written. Be sure that they have the proper address for mailing the letters to the AADSAS or even better, have them mail the letters directly to the schools to which you are applying.

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