Health Sciences Committee

FAQS

Common Questions

How do I check the status of my committee letter?
A.

Choose your "username" (applicant number) from the drop-down list, type your password into the field, and push the "Click to check status" button (don't just press "return"). That's it!

USERNAMES: Soon after submitting your biographical information form, you should have been assigned a username consisting of the current year and a number (e.g., "20XX-17") that will preserve your anonymity from casual visitors to the HSC website. If you are reapplying, you will be assigned a new username when you submit a new biographical information form to request an updated letter.

PASSWORDS: When you submitted your biographical information form to the Health Sciences Committee, you chose a password. This must contain exactly 8 letters or digits (though, for technical reasons, passwords that consist only of digits are not secure).

If you have forgotten your username or password, or never received one, please contact the HSC coordinator.

How do I interpret my letter status page?
A.

Sample letter status page with explanations (in red)

Log-in username: "20XX-17"
Status last updated by <webmaster>, Wed Jul 2X 05:22:32 20XX

Pat Doe

Applying to: Medical school

Includes photo?: Yes
Includes professional test scores? : Yes

Have all other parts of the biographical information form been completed?: Yes

This refers to the committee's biographical information form, available for download from this site.

Includes unofficial PLU transcript? yes

A Bannerweb printout will suffice.

Includes unofficial transcripts for other college-level work?
College X, yes, July 20XX
College Y, no

Unofficial transcripts of all college-level work are requested on the biographical information form. Note that if transfer grades are shown on your PLU transcript, you do not need to have an unofficial transcript sent to us from the other institution.

Total number of recommendation letters requested by applicant, to be mailed directly to Health Sciences Committee: X
This refers to how many letters we expect from your references before your HSC file is 100% complete.

Of the above number, letters from current HSC members: Y

This lists the number of letters that have been requested from current committee members. Note that you should ask the committee member directly and provide a signed waiver, as you would for any reference letter, even if you have submitted your information form to the coordinator. This speeds up the process.

Letters from current HSC members can be considered "done." That is, these will never hold up the start of the committee letter.

Reference letters received from outside the HSC, to date:

Professor A, 6/20XX
Professor B, 7/20XX
Professor C, 9/20XX
Doctor/Dentist A, 7/20XX
Doctor/Dentist B, 8/20XX
Internship supervisor, 7/20XX

This is updated when the committee receives a letter. The month/year is when it was received.

IMPORTANT: All reference letters should be mailed by the letter writer directly to the HSC, with a signature, and a date, and on stationery containing a personal or professional letterhead. (i.e., they should NOT pass through your hands.) A letter may be emailed or faxed first, if a printed copy follows.

Since you have waived your right to see the letter, and the letter is being sent directly to the HSC, there is no procedural or logistical motive for your letter-writer to offer you a copy of the letter written on your behalf. In fact, under such circumstances, the candidness of the letter may be questioned. Should s/he make such an offer, the ethical thing to do would be to politely refuse.

File complete: Yes

"Completeness" of the file is sometimes a judgment call by the HSC. The completed biographical information form, transcripts and test scores are required elements. However, at times, we will draft a committee letter even without receiving all of the outside reference letters, since waiting for the very last letter(s) may cause delay. If you would like the committee to wait until the file is truly complete, or if there is a letter that you feel we must see but have not yet received, please notify a HSC member. Along similar lines, if a deadline is fast approaching and you wish the HSC to proceed despite a dearth of letters, you should also contact us.

We recommend that you notify your letter-writers by mid-June at the latest, to give them sufficient time to draft a letter for you so that it can be in the committee's possession by mid-August or early September.

Committee letter written: In progress

Once your file is complete and has been assigned to a HSC committee member, it will be indicated here. Generally, by this stage, it will take about 2-3 weeks as the letter must be written, reviewed during a committee meeting, revised one or more times, and finally approved.

Does HSC have the necessary AMCAS/AADSAS/AACOMAS/Interfolio forms? : Yes

Committee letter sent to schools: No

When the committee's letter has been printed, signed, and mailed to all of the schools/organizations listed on your biographical information form, it will be indicated here.

Keep the HSC updated on the schools to which you are applying.

How can I use the Interfolio document service with my committee letter?
A. If you choose to use this online service or a similar credentials management solution, please sign up for the service and provide the HSC with the required, unique request form so that we may submit the committee's letter to them. You must check the box that waives your right to access the letter.
How can I use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)?
A.

Check the AMCAS Letters Information Page and the FAQ on that page for more details and a list of participating schools (which includes many schools, including the UW). After you are registered, give your AMCAS Letter Request Form to the HSC coordinator so that we may attach that form to our committee letter and submit it to AMCAS Letter Services. List this as the person sending the letter to AMCAS services: <name of HSC coordinator>, Health Sciences Committee Coordinator, PLU.

My professional school has special requirements for its letters (e.g., it requires that a letter from a D.O. be sent along with the committee letter). What do I do?
A. The HSC regrets that it cannot keep track of the continually changing requirements of all of the professional health programs. If your school has any specific requirement beyond a standard committee letter from PLU's Health Sciences Committee (to which we typically, but not always, attach 1-2 of your outside letters), please either indicate that on the list of schools to which you are applying (on the biographical information form), or contact the HSC coordinator as soon as you learn about the requirement. The professional health programs typically do not inform the HSC of these issues.
How do I use the Acrobat Reader program to fill in HSC forms?
A.

You may print out the form and fill it in by hand, but completing the forms electronically using Acrobat Reader will take less time, and make them more legible. Note that some programs, such as Apple Computer's Preview, will allow you only to view and print the form, not to fill in the fields.

The committee's PDF forms contain fields that let you type text or select options. Once you have completed the form, you can print it. Important caveat: the free copy of Adobe Acrobat cannot save the form data. Tip: cut and paste data from a (spellchecked and proofread) word processing document. If you don't have the time to complete and print the form in one sitting, you can complete and print one page at a time.

To fill out a PDF form:

1. Check the "Highlight fields" option, if available.
2. Position the pointer inside a form field, and click. The I-beam pointer allows you to type text. The "hand" pointer allows you to select a button, a check box, a radio button, or an item from a list.
3. After entering text or selecting an item, do one of the following:

Press Tab to accept the form field change and move ahead to the next form field, or Shift+Tab to accept the change and return to the previous field.
Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to accept the field data, and deselect the current field. In a multiline text form field, Enter or Return moves to the next line, in the same form field.

4. When you're finished, print the completed form. Don't forget to sign and date it, attach your photo and unofficial PLU transcript, and hand it (or mail it) to the HSC coordinator.

When is the MCAT/DAT?
A.

The MCAT is now delivered exclusively at computer-based testing sites. See the MCAT website for announcements, information on practice tests, testing dates and times, locations, etc.

Check the Dental Admission Testing website for information about the DAT, to register, etc. DAT examinees are limited to 3 opportunities to participate in the testing program.

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