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Information for Reference Writers 

Please follow the following guidelines when writing a letter of recommendation for an applicant to our DVM program:

  1. Write a one page supporting letter that substantiates your evaluations on the standard VMCAS recommendation form is very important.  While this requires added time and effort, it provides us with critically needed information.
  2. Clearly indicate your relationship with the candidate, and ask yourself if you honestly know the person’s qualities enough to provide an accurate letter of recommendation.
  3. Concentrate on several different aspects of the applicant; identify his/her skills, attitudes, personal attributes and growth, as well as his/her contributions to and performance within your practice or organization. It is extremely important to include examples where possible for both positive and negative evaluations.
  4. Please note that, under the Privacy Act of 1974, applicants have a legal right to examine the materials in an organization’s files that concern them–unless they sign a waiver of their right to do so.  The VMCAS form requests all applicants to sign this waiver indicating whether an applicant waives or does not waive their right to review the recommendation.  Check this for yourself and make your own decision about whether you wish to be a referee for the individual and the nature of the letter that you will write.
  5. Points that you could address in your supporting letter that are extremely helpful to our evaluation of the candidate include:
    • ability to communicate, interpersonal skills
    • intelligence, self-confidence, goal achievement
    • willingness to accept responsibility, work ethic, leadership, energy level, competitiveness
    • imagination, flexibility, self-knowledge , ability to handle conflict
    • appropriate vocational skills and knowledge of the veterinary profession
    • direction and career plans after obtaining the DVM degree
  6. Wherever possible, include examples that strengthen your view and assessment of the candidate’s qualifications for success in the veterinary curriculum and as a future veterinarian.
  7. If the applicant you support is a resident and would be considered under “alternative eligibility,” (see definition under objective criteria) please be sure to include examples of evidence that demonstrate that this applicant can successfully complete the DVM degree program and contribute to the profession. In other words, what has the applicant demonstrated to you that indicates that he or she is qualified for the program?