Committee Letter of Evaluation

What is a Committee Letter of Evaluation?

Barnard's Committee Letter of Evaluation is an institutional letter that holistically assesses your level of preparedness for entry into your desired health professional program. Barnard's Committee Letter of Evaluation is submitted by our institution on your behalf to the centralized application systems and programs. Barnard's Committee Letter of Evaluation is highly valued by health professional schools' admissions committees.

In 2016, the Health Professions Advising Committee significantly re-defined and revised the Committee Letter of Evaluation process. During this revision process, the Committee spent considerable time evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the previous Committee Letter and implemented several fundamental changes to the content and format of the letter in order to best serve you, as applicants, and the health professional schools' admissions committees. In light of the Association of American Medical College’s Admissions Initiative to promote holistic review, best defined by the 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students (discussed below), we have redesigned both the content and format of the Committee Letter to more accurately and comprehensively present you in a holistic manner to admissions committees. We are confident that our new Committee Letter not only meets the standards of admissions committees, but is on par with our sister institutions. 

The Committee Letter of Evaluation is comprised of the following three parts:

  • Cover Sheet: This Cover Sheet provides admissions committees with an overview of the nature of Barnard's pre-health students, curriculum and our HPAC's process for evaluating applicants.  
  • Committee Letter of Evaluation: This letter is the Health Professions Advising Committee's evaluation of your level of preparedness based on the core competencies. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: The individual letters of recommendation that you request from faculty members, supervisors, etc. to support your application. For more information about Letters of Recommendation, click here.

Who is Eligible to Receive a Committee Letter of Evaluation?

All Barnard College matriculants (including alumnae) who have completed a majority of their prerequisites are eligible to receive a Committee Letter of Evaluation. Please note that the Committee Letter of Evaluation is provided for those who are seeking admission to a medical or dental program. For those seeking admission to a veterinary program, master's program, or other post-baccalaureate program, contact our team to learn about the process of applying and how our team can support you.


How to Receive a Committee Letter of Evaluation

We have a formal process for requesting and receiving a Committee Letter of Evaluation. The Committee Letter process begins in the Fall preceding the application to professional programs (e.g. Cycle 2019 begins in the fall of 2018). Before you can request and receive a Committee Letter, there are a number of steps you must complete, some of which include:

  • Submit a Declaration of Intent and Request for a Committee Letter of Evaluation via Inspire (formerly known as AdviseStream);
  • Assemble your application materials and submit them via Inspire;
  • Participate in a Committee Interview (more information below);
  • Collect your Letters of Recommendation (more information here); and
  • Submit your primary application.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you will be eligible to process your Letter Submission Request to have your Committee Letter of Evaluation (including the Cover Sheet and individual Letters of Recommendation) to be sent to centralized application service(s). Review communications from our team to learn the date of when you can first submit an AMCAS/AACOMAS/ADSAS Committee Letter Request via Inspire. 


How the Committee Letter of Evaluation is Written

Holistic Review. As mentioned above, the Committee Letter of Evaluation is an institutional letter that presents a holistic assessment of an applicant to determine her level of preparedness for entry into her desired health profession program. What do we mean when we say holistic assessment or review? Essentially, a holistic review is an individualized way of assessing your capabilities, and to do so, we give balanced consideration to your personal and professional experiences, personal competencies, academics, research, motivations for pursuing medicine, and how all of these factors will help you to make a valuable contribution to the health profession field. Qualities we evaluate are your thinking and reasoning competencies, science competencies, and intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. These competencies are taken from the Association of American Medical College’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, which we encourage you to review to be aware of the fifteen competencies and what qualities medical and dental schools are looking for in applicants. Specifically, when assessing your competencies, we look for and evaluate in your Committee Letter how the fifteen core competencies are demonstrated within the following categories:

  • Academic Accomplishment
  • Research and Scholarship
  • Medically-Related Experience
  • Community Service and Engagement
  • Additional Activities and Experience

To learn more about holistic review and admissions, see the AAMC's "Advanced Holistic Review Initiative."

Materials Reviewed. To conduct a holistic assessment we use a variety of means to examine you as an applicant for the health professions program(s) to which you are seeking admission. Here are some of the components we look at:

  • Application Materials: Your Application Materials, which you will upload to Inspire, include information about your academic work and awards, scholarship and research, clinical work, demographic information, and motivations for pursuing a health profession. These materials consist of your Pre-Health Portfolio, transcript(s), resume, and personal statement.

  • Letters of Recommendation: We also review your individual Letters of Recommendation to gain an understanding of how others whom you have worked with and for view your abilities. These letters serve as a way to help the Committee understand what you have accomplished and what your strengths are that you bring to health professional programs. To learn more about the process of obtaining and submitting letters of recommendation, click here

  • Committee Interview: As mentioned above, one of the required steps before you can request a Committee Letter of Evaluation is to participate in an interview with one of our Committee members, which may either be a Barnard staff or faculty member. This interview provides us with the opportunity to get to know you, your experiences, and motivations for applying to medical or dental school on a deeper level. After the interview, your interviewer will conduct a post interview assessment where she/he will evaluate your competencies as discussed above, and this assessment will aid us in writing your Committee Letter.

Taking all of the components into consideration, the Committee will then examine your experiences, background, preparedness, and abilities and write an evaluation to assess your competencies for attending medical or dental school and entering the health profession.

Who are the Committee Members, and who writes the Committee Letter? 

The Health Professions Advisory Committee consists of Barnard faculty and administrative deans who all have an interest in seeing that you succeed in your health professions schooling and career. The Committee's core mission is to provide oversight of the Committee Letter of Evaluation process for applicants to the health professions. Dr. Amanda Dye is the Chair of the Committee and oversees the entire application and Committee Letter writing process. 
 
Members of the Committee and representatives from Beyond Barnard are all involved in the writing and processing of your Committee Letter of Evaluation. All letters are reviewed, edited, and finalized by Dr. Dye before they are submitted to central application services. 

Should you have any questions about the Committee Letter of Evaluation process, feel free to contact us at prehealthadvising@barnard.edu or (212) 854-2033.