reference letter

What does the reference letter look like?

When you ask a professor or a work supervisor or someone to write a PA school reference letter (a recommendation letter) about your to PA schools, ever wonder what happens?

It turns out that the writer receives a email form from CASPA that they are asked to complete about you. Knowing what the reference letter form looks like will help you 1) choose the best person to write on your behalf, 2) prepare that person so there will be no surprises or confusion, and ultimately 3) get you a GOOD reference letter that will increase your chances of acceptance. In the following video, I go over the actual reference letter form that I received from CASPA when a student who had worked at my clinic asked me for a reference letter.

There are a few interesting observations about the application process that you can make from seeing the reference letter form.  First, letter writers will be stating exactly how long they have known you, because the length of time they have known you relates to how well they can speak to your fitness to become a PA.  In short: time matters.  The are also asked how well they know you, so someone you just met might not be an ideal writer for your application.  Did you know that they will be asked to evaluate you with a form, in addition to writing a letter in support of your application?  When you watch the clip, you can see the domains on which you will be evaluated — think about how you present yourself in these areas to anyone whom you might ask to write for you.  As we’ve said many times, the better you understand the application process, the better your application will ultimately turn out.

Now let’s take a look at the reference letter form on video…