Committee Letters

Recently, my college’s new president implemented Committee Letters for pre-med students. A committee was formed, consisting of mostly biology department faculty. Initially, all students had to fill out a long application, after which certain students were deemed to have met the standards for an interview. If I sound somewhat bitter about this, it’s because I am.

My graduating class became the guinea pigs for this new committee letter. Previously, we had all been told to get letters from faculty and a pre-health advisor. But after this new committee letter system was put into place, many of my good friends would be lucky just to get an interview, let alone the actual committee letter. The standards were set so high, that it was obvious they only wanted the “cream of the crop” to receive this letter. Of course if you only give letters to the “best” students and they get accepted, your college will look better overall for pre-professional studies. I get that. But in the process, you ignore some really intelligent, wonderful people, who were really deserving of the same opportunity that you afforded the other students with the higher GPA. Sometimes grades and GPA aren’t everything.

I know people on both sides of this. A couple of good friends of mine had the chance to interview; several friends did not. Yet in all of them I saw the same commitment, work ethic, and passion. So explain to me how their grades should divide them. And even those who didn’t get a letter didn’t have “bad” grades – they had good GPAs, certainly better than mine.

I’m just very annoyed by the idea that this committee tries to pick and choose who it thinks deserves a letter – essentially, who deserves to go to medical school. I think that’s crap. The people on this committee don’t always know you personally, and how much can you learn through an interview? All for a generic committee letter that says “We recommend so-and-so.” Well congratulations. I’d rather have personal faculty letters than letters from a group of people who don’t know me at all.I don’t know what this system is trying to accomplish, but I’m not a fan.

Maybe other schools who’ve had this committee letter system in place let the committee interact with students more. Maybe not. I’m not too familiar with it yet, but I’m not thrilled that our class got to be experimented on, either. We didn’t go four years at this school without getting to know some professors really well. I wish we had a better chance to show that.