Read this if you would like Dr. Gould to write a letter of recommendation for you
I am often asked to write letters of recommendation, particularly in the pre-health area (medical, dental and pharmacy school). I know that you don't like to ask me to do this, and you know that I don't like to do it, however, this is a necessary evil for us all. I get asked to write a LOT of letters, so many that I need to organize the process. PLEASE read this page carefully before you ask for a letter.
You do not have to get an A in my class for me to write you a letter. I don't care about your grade if you can convince me that you are a good candidate for you chosen career. I do not need to get to know you well in office hours to write your letter, but you do need to give me lots of information, see below.

I like to write letters in groups, to save my time. If you are submitting your application in summer 2014 (for example), I will write your letter at the end of the spring semester 2014, after classes have ended and before the summer starts properly. So, you need to get your application material together for me to write your letter at THIS TIME! Letter writing disrupts my routine and my work and so I do NOT like to get letter requests dribbling in over the summer. PLEASE GET YOUR LETTER REQUEST TO ME BEFORE THE END OF MAY AT THE LATEST!

I will usually only write a letter for you if you have taken both semesters of organic chemistry with me, unless you took my CHM 234 class after having taken CHM 233 class with another instructor.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances I will only write a letter for you if you are using the ASU pre-health office. It takes time for me to write separate letters, and dealing with different admissions websites takes time I don't have. AMCAS is particularly bad in this regard, their Letter Writer service does not work on any browser on my computer (the last time I tried anyway), I don't want to deal with them until they modernize their website. PharmCAS and CASPA are obvious exceptions, since pharmacy and PA letters can not be submitted any other way.

I will usually only write a letter for you if you waive your right to see the letter. There needs to be mutual trust and it also doesn't look good to admissions committees if you don't waive your right to see your letters.
The important part of the letter is not what grade you got in class, although I will certainly include a few sentences about this if it helps, but the "touchy-feely" stuff, what have you done to convince me and the school that you are applying to that you will be a good and caring health practitioner and a successful student in their program. I used to ask students what I should write about this, and the answer was often "I don't know". To address this I now require the following from you:
1. A completed copy of my Pre-Health form, see below. Do not delete the questions and use the most recent version from this website. The questions are in bold and italic, please use plain text in your answers so that I can easily distinguish the end of the question from the start of your answer.
2. A copy of your unofficial transcript.
3. A copy of your personal statement if you have it, even if it is only a rough draft.
4. A photograph/picture so that I can put face to your name.
5. A signed copy of the pre-health from from the pre-health office or website.


THIS IS WHAT YOU DO: First, send me an email asking if I can write your letter. If I say yes, then I usually will NOT NEED TO MEET WITH YOU IN PERSON. Just collect the materials above (and this part is IMPORTANT) and give me HARD COPIES of everything that I ask for, all stapled together, or else I WILL lose one or more of them and you won't get your letter in time. Make sure that you include contact information on my pre-health form, occasionally I need to ask further questions.

You can bring the materials to me at any time, if I am not in my office, just slide them under my door. You have my permission to bug me by email towards the end of May to make sure that I have written your letter.

I know that many of you need letters for application to programs for which summer application doesn't work, for example, summer research positions. These letters need to be submitted in early spring. However, early spring (January - March) is an extremely busy time of the year for me (probably my busiest time of the year) since this is graduate recruiting season, which takes a huge amount of my time. For this reason I am very sorry but I just can't write any letters that need to be submitted in the Jan - March time period..
After all of that, please let me know if you get admission into medical/dental/pharmacy etc. school, I like to hear of your successes!.