The Application Process
Application to medical school consists of the following materials:
- A common application submitted through AMCAS or AACOMAS
- A personal statement or “essay” (included in AMCAS/AACOMAS application)
- Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
- MCAT scores
- Letters of recommendation (required) and a Committee Letter (preferred)
- Secondary application essays (following the submission of above materials)
A Committee Letter is a letter authored by a pre-health committee or pre-health advisor and intended to represent your institution’s evaluation of you. Although not required for admission to medical or dental school, schools value a Committee Letter and they expect to receive one from Hamilton College. At Hamilton, the Committee Letter is a composite letter that includes:
- a two-page narrative letter written by Leslie Bell with input from the Health Professions Advisory Committee; and
- your letters of recommendation (LOR's)
The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) will prepare a Committee Letter for all students who apply to medical or dental school as long as they have taken at least four semesters of science at Hamilton and follow the process for obtaining a Committee Letter. Candidates are not pre-screened and there is no minimum GPA required for consideration by the HPAC. Alumni of Hamilton College who decide to pursue medical or dental school after graduation may also get assistance from the Health Professions Advisor and, if they have completed half of the required science classes at Hamilton, they may also request a Committee Letter.
In order to receive a Committee Letter, candidate files must be complete by May 1 of the application year. A completed file consists of a Self-Assessment for Committee Letter, personal statement, resume, an Interview for Committee Letter with Leslie Bell, and all letters of recommendation. The MCAT should be taken by May 31st at the latest. Those who take the MCAT after June 30th will need to apply without a Committee Letter or postpone to the next application cycle.
Role of HPAC:
The Health Professions Advisory Committee meets 5-6 times between March and July to evaluate 4-6 candidates per meeting. In advance of each meeting, members of HPAC review candidate materials and, using a rating rubric, evaluate candidate's readiness and suitability for medical/dental school to form a tentative rating. Materials include all of the above except for MCAT scores plus notes from your Interview for Committee Letter with the Health Professions Advisor, Leslie Bell. Criteria on the rating rubric for medical school include:
Research & Inquiry
At the meeting, the committee will briefly discuss each candidate, identifying highlights and key experiences, and will provide a rating of either minimal, moderate, substantial, or exceptional for each of the above categories. The HPAC also assesses the extent to which candidates have demonstrated the Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students. Finally, committee members vote on how strongly to recommend the candidate, as follows:
“Recommended with enthusiasm” (about 10-20% of candidates)
“Recommended with confidence” (about 70-80% of candidates)
“Recommended” (about 2% of candidates)
“Recommended with reservation” (seldom used); student will be advised to postpone application if this is the vote
“Not recommended” (seldom used); student will be advised to postpone application if this is the vote
Following the HPAC candidate review meeting, the health professions advisor, Leslie Bell, will draft a Committee Letter, a two-page executive summary of your experiences/strengths which is intended to paint a positive portrait of your personal characteristics that will distinguish you from other candidates with similar credentials. Two members of HPAC then provide editorial feedback before the letter is finalized and uploaded to the appropriate application service (AMCAS/AACOMAS).
Current HPAC members:
Max Majireck, Chemistry
Brian Collett, Physics
Wei-Jen Chang, Biology
Chinthaka Kuruwita, Mathematics
Matthew Grace, Sociology
Leslie Bell, Health Professions Advisor & Chair of Committee
The first documents required for obtaining a Committee Letter are due on December 1st (20 months in advance of matriculation.) Please follow the timeline for applying to medical/dental school if you wish to obtain a Committee Letter.