Guidelines For Requesting Letters Of Reference


These guidelines are designed to assist the student in securing a letter of reference from faculty at the
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
The student should request a letter of reference from faculty whom he/she feels are best able
to give a current description of his/her abilities.
Approach the faculty member by explaining your situation for needing a reference letter and
inquiring whether he or she knows you well enough to write a helpful letter. Listen carefully to
the response. If the faculty member seems reluctant, you might want to consider asking
someone else. Always ask the faculty member in person. Do not leave a request for a
reference letter in the faculty member’s mailbox or email account and expect him or her to
willingly write the letter. If you cannot appear personally, at least phone to find out if the
faculty member is willing.
The student is required to complete the “Release Form for Written Letters of Reference” on
which the student indicates whether or not he/she waives his/her right to view the reference. If
the student checks the section “right to access reference is waived” (recommended) this
indicates that the student gives up his/her right to view the reference. If the student checks the
section “not waived” this indicates that the student has the right to request to see the written
reference. Even though you have the right to access your educational record (Buckley
Amendment), most authorities advise students to waive their rights because the recipient will
then know that the information provided by the faculty member is more candid.
The student should give the faculty member a minimum of three weeks (15 working days) to
complete the reference. Requests submitted after this time interval may well be denied.
The faculty member may know little about your academic record and accomplishments. To
provide the most informative, well-rounded letter, most faculty would like additional
information about you. Therefore, you should provide the faculty member with the following
information as well as a recent photograph of yourself:
o A statement of purpose describing what you are applying for and why you think you are
a competitive candidate.
o A resume/curriculum vitae including your GPA and as well as USMLE Step 1 and Step 2
scores if available. Obtain a copy if your transcript of applicable. Volunteer experience,
research accomplishments, participation in medical and community extracurricular
activities and other noteworthy activities, i.e. student government, school committees,
etc. should be included. List any honors you have received.
o A completed “Release Form for Written Letters of Reference” (attached).
o Any other information or material that would assist the reference in providing the best
letter for you, i.e. brochure or internet link explaining the position you are applying for.


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