Pre-Health Advisory Committee

The MSU Pre-Health Advisory Committee is composed of faculty, program directors, and academic advisors from multiple departments throughout the university.

What we do

  • provide advising
  • conduct mock interviews
  • write letters of recommendation (for programs requiring a committee letter)
  • help prepare pre-health students for admission to a variety of pre-health schools including 
    • nursing
    • medical (allopathic and osteopathic)
    • dental
    • physician’s assistant
    • physical therapy
    • optometry programs

Letter Applications Process

Students interested in obtaining a committee letter of recommendation may apply for a letter by completing a Pre-Health Committee Letter Request Application. The completed form and accompanying materials may be turned in to Dr. Kirsten Monsen-Collar, Biology department, Science Hall 135 (monsenk@mail.montclair.edu). Letter applications may be submitted electronically or as a hard copy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may apply for a letter?
Any current or former undergraduate or graduate student from any major on campus who meets the committee’s criteria is eligible for a committee letter of recommendation.
What if I already graduated from MSU? Am I still eligible for a letter?
Yes! Any current or former undergraduate or graduate student from any major on campus who meets the committee’s criteria is eligible for a committee letter of recommendation.
What are the committee’s criteria for a letter application?
The committee’s criteria to provide a favorable letter of recommendation are as follows:
  1. The student must meet our minimum academic criteria: current GPA X 10 + (pre-2015) MCAT score must be greater than or equal to 65 for pre-med, current GPA X 10 + (post-2015) MCAT percentile score must be greater than or equal to 80 for pre-med, current GPA X 10 + DAT score must be greater than or equal to 55 for pre-dental.
  2. The student may not have repeated the same course more than twice.
  3. The student may not have repeated more than two courses.
  4. The student may not have been found guilty of academic misconduct while attending MSU.
Do I need a committee letter of recommendation to apply to a professional school?
Maybe. Some schools require a committee letter if a committee exists on the student’s campus. So, if you are applying to a school that requires a committee letter then yes, you will need the committee letter to apply to that specific school. Check with the schools where you plan to apply to find out if they require a committee letter.
What do I do if I don’t qualify for a committee letter? Can I still apply to a program?
If a specific school requires a committee letter and the student is not eligible for the committee letter then the student’s application to the school will not be considered by the school. However, very few schools require a committee letter. So, students can still apply to any other school that does not require a committee letter.
What is the benefit of getting a committee letter of recommendation?
The Pre-Health Advisory Committee is a University-based committee. Securing a letter of recommendation from the committee demonstrates the student is more likely to be competitive for admission to a professional program.
Is the letter a form letter?
No! The committee requires the student to submit supporting materials such as a resume or CV, personal statement, exam scores, and transcripts. We do this so we can write a specific letter highlighting the strengths and characteristics the student has that make him/her qualified for the program. Every letter is tailored to describe and endorse the specific student.
What is the process for writing the letter?
Once a letter application and supporting materials are submitted to the committee, a member of the committee volunteers to write the letter. A draft of the letter is reviewed by the entire committee for final approval.
How long does it take to get a committee letter?
The committee is usually able to provide a letter of recommendation within two weeks of receipt of all application materials.
Does the committee accept letter applications all year?
Yes. The committee reviews letter applications, writes, and submits letters year round.
I have all of the supporting materials but I have not yet taken the MCAT/DAT. Will the committee write the letter anyway, before I get my scores?
No. One of the most important aspects of a medical or dental school application is the exam score. The committee will not write a letter of recommendation until the student supplies his/her exam scores.
Can I obtain a copy of my letter?
If a student does not waive the right to view the letter of recommendation when applying to professional schools then he/she has the right to obtain a copy of the letter. The student must demonstrate he/she has not waived the right to see the letter for every professional school he/she is applying. The committee strongly advises all students applying to professional schools to waive the right to see all letters of recommendation. The letters carry much more weight when professional schools know the student has not seen them.
How do I schedule a mock interview?
If you have been invited to an interview and would like to schedule a mock interview to practice, contact Dr. Monsen-Collar (monsenk@mail.montclair.edu).
With whom can I speak if I need more information?
For more information contact Dr. Kirsten Monsen-Collar, Biology department (monsenk@mail.montclair.edu).