Reapplying to med school? If the answer is “yes”, you are not alone. Only around 40% of med school applicants get in, meaning the other 60% have to either switch careers or reapply.
One common question that reapplicants have is whether or not they can reuse letters of recommendation from the previous cycle.
The answer is yes. No application service or medical school has a rule against reusing a letter of recommendation. That being said, there are other factors to consider like how old your letters of recommendation can be and whether or not you should be updating them.
In this article, we will cover everything you should consider when resuing a letter of recommendation.
Does The AAMCAS Or AACOMAS Save Your Letters Of Recommendation From The Previous Year?
No, they don’t. But despite this, your letters are most likely saved somewhere to be resubmitted promptly.
If the letters were stored in Interfolio you can easily resubmit them through that service. If the letters were kept with your college’s committee letter, they would have stored it on file. In both of these cases, confidentiality is not a concern for the AAMCAS or AACOMAS.
If you got your letters individually, you’ll have to ask your writers to resubmit them. Often, letter writers will have old letters of recommendation stored somewhere.
Do Letters Of Recommendation For Medical School Expire?
No, letters of recommendation intended for medical school never expire. However, the age of a letter of recommendation matters. Letters should be recent enough to accurately reflect an applicant’s current abilities and accomplishments otherwise it’s less credible.
The general rule of thumb is that letters should be no more than 2 years old.
Read our article on everything you need to consider about old letters of recommendation for more information on this topic!
Should You Reuse Letters Of Recommendation When Reapplying To Med School?
Just because you can reuse letters of recommendation doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Consider how much time has passed since your previous application. If it’s been more than two years, it might be better to obtain updated letters of recommendation. This will ensure that your letters reflect your current abilities and accomplishments.
Also, have you made significant changes or improvements since your previous application?
Examples of these include:
- Taking additional coursework
- Gaining new experiences through volunteering, clinical work, or other noteworthy extracurriculars
- Accomplished new goals
- Retaken the MCAT for a better grade
If you fall under any of these categories, you may want to ask for updated letters of recommendation that reflect these changes.
Generally speaking, if your application has not significantly changed since your previous application, and you received strong letters of recommendation previously, you should reuse those letters.
Is It Okay To Reapply To Med School With Only Reused Letters?
Although students have gotten in after doing this, I recommend you include at least one new letter that can attest to your accomplishments since your last application cycle.
If can’t put together any new letters, I would at least ask some of your previous letter writers to update their letters with fresh, relevant information. Simply list what you have accomplished since the previous application cycle and ask them to incorporate that.
Should You Ask Letter Writers To Update The Date On Your Letters Of Recommendation?
It’s a good idea to have the date on your letters of recommendation updated if they are more than a year old. This is because medical schools want to see the most current information about your skills and abilities.
Some med schools actually require letters of recommendation to be dated within the last year.
Whether you have your letter writers make significant changes to your letters of recommendation or not, it’s good practice to ask for an updated date. This will indicate to the medical schools that the letter is current and reflects your recent accomplishments.
When you ask your committee letter, or individual letter, to be resubmitted they’ll most likely update the date by default. But still, it never hurts to ask.
To make sure your application is as strong as possible, take the extra steps to ensure your letters of recommendation are up to date!