Letters of Recommendation and Your Autobiography
In order that your letter of recommendation be as useful as possible, Xavier's Health Science Committee needs to know as much as possible about you. For that reason, it is essential that your autobiography be complete and factual. It should contain information about the following topics:
- Contact with your chosenprofession through employment, volunteer work, relatives or friends
- Motivation or interest in the profession: how this developed or how you were influenced by any of the above in choosing your profession
- Alternate career plans: what will you do if you are not able to pursue your chosen career?
- Extracurricular participation: sports, clubs, organizations, offices held or importantaccomplishments
- Interests outside of school: hobbies, skills, musical talents, and organizations
Employment during the summers and academic year: number of hours worked per week, responsibilities, skills acquired
- General family background: number of siblings, parents' occupations, especially if related to health care
- Educational history: high school and college, honors received. If a substantial portion of your college work, or any science classes were not completed at XU, please include and unofficial transcript
- Explanation of any aspect of your academic record that does not represent your true ability (like illness or employment). Also note any courses that were particularly challenging, such as Honors sections and if you are in the University Scholars Program.
After some introspection about your life, you should be able to include in your autobiography why you are well suited for your chosen career. (Look at the questions you might be asked on Interviews.)
Your autobiography should be well written, in essay form and typed. Keep a copy for yourself. Attach a small recent photograph and staple all of the pages together (do not place in a folder). Please include your social security number and a local phone number.
You should then bring your autobiography to the Coordinator of Pre-Professional Health Advising for approval. The autobiography is due to the Coordinator at the beginning of the spring semester (usually mid-to late January) of your "junior year" in the preparation timeline.
The Coordinator will read it, ask for any clarification that may be necessary, or ask you to rewrite or add portions as needed. When your autobiography is acceptable, the Health Sciences Committee will begin the process of writing your letter.
At the same time that your autobiography is submitted, you should fill out and turn into the Coordinator a Buckley Amendment Waiver Form. On this form, you state whether or not you waive the your rights under the Buckley amendment to have access to all letters of recommendation written about you by the Health Sciences Committee. We feel that the professional schools interpret our letter as a more honest appraisal if you do waive this right. If you are concerned about giving up your right, be assured that we are trying to help you enter a professional school. We will present you in the most positive way possible that is consistent with our honest appraisal of your suitability for the profession.
On the Buckley Amendment Waiver you will also state whether or not you give the Committee on Health Sciences of Xavier University your permission to receive information about you from the Office of the Dean of Students and also from the Office of the Dean of your college. When applying to medical schools, you will be asked the following by AMCAS: “Were you ever the recipient of any institutional action by any college or medical school for unacceptable academic performance or conduct violation?” Be advised that you must answer YES to this question if you were ever the recipient of ANY institutional action resulting from unacceptable academic performance or a conduct violation, even if such action did not interrupt your enrollment or require you to withdraw, and even if the action does not appear on your official transcripts. All forms of academic dishonesty, theft, and alcohol violations are examples of unethical behavior that could lead to a student being penalized by Xavier University and would constitute an “institutional action” as defined by AMCAS. Medical schools require you to answer this question accurately and provide all relevant information in your AMCAS application. Be aware that any dishonesty in reporting past actions is reason to not accept or expel you from medical school. Medical schools understand that many individuals learn from their past mistakes and emerge stronger as a result, so being honest will not necessarily hurt your chances of acceptance. Full disclosure to the Health Sciences Committee will enable us to advise you more effectively throughout the application process. If you have any questions, please see the Coordinator.
By the end of the spring semester of your junior year, you should have decided whether you will apply to a medical school by the Early Decision Plan; if so, submit a copy of the Early Decision Form by June 1st of the year that you are applying to the Coordinator of Pre-Professional Health Advising, Albers 105B.
During the summer after your junior year, you will begin the application process, probably through an application service for the health professions you have chosen. The application includes a one page personal statement that will probably contain some of the most important ideas from your autobiography. The application service then forwards your application to the schools you want to apply to. The schools then do an initial screening and request secondary applications from you. At this time they will also request letters of recommendation. For each school, fill out a request form for a Letter of Recommendation and give to the Coordinator of Pre-Professional Health Advising.
If a letter is requested in the fall semester, we would like to include comments about unusually good grades during the spring semester, completion of a required course during the summer, an exceptional work experience during the summer, of fall MCAT scores. If there is any additional information the committee should have about you, you should provide us with an update to your autobiography by late summer (early summer for Early Decision candidates).