The purpose of HSAC (Health Sciences Advisory Committee) is to provide advocacy and evaluation for Kalamazoo College applicants to professional health programs. The HSAC committee consists of the Director of Careers in Health and Medicine and three faculty members from across campus. As an advocacy and evaluation committee, HSAC provides medical and dental school applicants who qualify with a committee letter of recommendation. Older alumni who do not qualify for the committee letter are supported through advising appointments, access to all of the applicant resources, and may participate in the HSAC Letter Collection Service (formerly known as the Committee Packet).
While the HSAC process is not mandatory, medical and dental schools place significant weight on committee letters and we recommend going through HSAC.
THE HEALTH SCIENCES ADVISORY COMMITTEE LETTER
The letter of recommendation written by HSAC on an applicant’s behalf is often called a composite letter or committee letter. Committee letters are preferred by medical and dental schools, and accepted by some veterinary, optometry and other health professional schools. The letter is often referred to as a “committee” letter because it carries the support of a committee of individuals who work with applicants; it is called a “composite” because it incorporates information from several different sources.
Through the evaluation process, HSAC assesses an applicants candidacy for medical and dental school and provides a letter of evaluation to be included in their application packets. A Committee Letter can be thought of as an institutional letter of evaluation and is a summative/evaluative review of a Kalamazoo College undergraduate student’s experiences, including academic and extracurricular experiences. As a snapshot of the undergraduate experience, the Committee Letter places K students in context with other applicants from Kalamazoo College, past and present, and provides a brief narrative evaluation of your qualifications for medical or dental school and the profession.
PURPOSE OF THE COMMITTEE LETTER
The committee letter serves many purposes, all of which are valuable to students in the application process:
- To provide a clear narrative of the applicant’s candidacy
- To provide context that may address anomalies in the applicant’s candidacy
- To give admissions committees a clearer understanding of the candidate in the context of other Kalamazoo College applicants
- To help HSAC learn more about applicants, which may be helpful in guiding them through the application process.
COMMITTEE LETTER CONTENT
The committee letter is generally about two single-spaced pages and draws primarily from information gleaned in the materials that candidates submit to HSAC, the Preapplication Interview, the letters of evaluation, and our overall work with each candidate over the years. The information contained in the HSAC letter of evaluation seeks to address the following:
- Candidate Background – describes motivation for medicine, childhood experiences, background
- Academic Experiences – discuss intellectual choices, provide context for grades especially if there are anomalous situations, highlight achievements
- Meaningful Activities – highlighting candidate’s engagement in research, service, medically-related experience, and leadership
- Closing comments
COMMITTEE LETTER TIMING
The committee letters of recommendation are prepared after graduation. Preparing them is a time-intensive process for HSAC, and this is the reason that we ask for much information from applicants well before the application season truly begins with application submission to the CAS in June.
COMMITTEE LETTER SUBMISSION
Once the committee letter is written, it is sent, along with other materials, to the applicant’s schools. The materials sent by HSAC include:
- Cover sheet with general information which highlights various aspects of Kalamazoo College’s academic program
- Committee letter of evaluation
- Individual letters of recommendation submitted on behalf of the applicant to HSAC (a minimum of 3 is required)
We look forward to helping you navigate the process of applying to and getting accepted to health professional school! To determine your next steps in the HSAC process, please select where you are in the application process.
Applicants who have never received a Health Sciences Advisory Committee letter.
Attended the HSAC sessions, gathered and submitted materials, and had a Pre-Application Interview (PAI) in a prior year but never applied through the application service, nor completed the process of having your materials sent from HSAC to health professional schools.
Applicants that previously applied to medical or dental school with a Health Sciences Advisory Committee letter and were not accepted, and wish to apply again.
We enjoy guiding you through this process and supporting your applications, and we hope that you will keep us informed of all developments and decisions throughout your application cycle.