Professional Letter Service
121 South Hall, UC Davis
530-752-4100 (recorded message)
Hours of Operation
Monday-Thursday: 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm
The PLS is closing on 12/31/2012. Current PLS fileholders: please read important information about the closure here.
About the Professional Letter Service (PLS)
The PLS is a letter of recommendation service for UC Davis students and alumni who are applying to schools or programs in the health professions or business. PLS stores, copies and uploads/sends recommendation letters to support applications for admission to multiple professional schools that award the following degrees: : DDS, DMD, DNP, DO, DPM, MBA, MD, MD/MPH, MD/PhD, OD, PharmD (although we don't recommend using this service for optometry or pharmacy programs; please see an advisor if you have questions).
***PLS does not send letters to master's or post-bac programs (including special master's programs).
You may keep a maximum of eight letters in your file and have up to fifteen mailings/uploadings for the initial $125 fee.
PLS is being phased out over the next 3 years (January 2010- December 2012) due to declining resources coupled with the recent development of other external online letter services. Thus, PLS is no longer available to new users and we will refer students without PLS files to online letter services such as those offered through the American Medical Colleges Application Services (AMCAS), Associated American Dental Schools Application Services (AADSAS) and others. However, those who have current files will be able to use them as they have before until the final closure on December 31, 2012. Thus, students and alumni will be able to use PLS for dental, medical and podiatric medical school applications in 2010 for Fall 2011 entry, in 2011 for Fall 2012 entry, and in 2012 for Fall 2013 entry. PLS does not facilitate file transfers to Interfolio or any other letter service. There will be no exceptions to this policy. Through the end of the service, we will continue to submit your letter file to only those eligible doctoral-level health professional schools detailed above, and in the manner of submission that our policies permit.
- If you have a current file which expires in 2010 or 2011, you will be able to extend that file for one year only (not to exceed 12/31/2012) by paying the $25 file extension fee at the Cashier's Office and bringing/mailing the receipt to 111 South Hall BEFORE your file actually expires. We will not be able to extend files that have already expired.
- All files opened in 2010 will expire on December 31, 2012; no extensions will be possible because the PLS service will end on 12/31/2012.
- If you have questions about your current file (e.g. which LOR are in the file, when your LOR were transmitted/mailed, when your file expires), you will need to email email@example.com since we are no longer be able to respond to phone calls or walk-in inquiries.
- If you have questions about the PLS service, please read the rest of the information on this website. If you still have questions about how the service works or seek general advice on getting LOR because you have forgotten what was presented in the file opening (e.g. whom to get LOR from, what material to give your letter writers), please come to a "Getting Letters of Recommrendation" workshop--or see a staff advisor about your specific individual concerns.
- If you no longer live in Davis and have questions about the PLS service, you may schedule a phone appointment by calling the reception desk at 530-752-4475 during normal working hours (please see above); we will not be able to return phone calls.
When you opened your PLS file, you were also required to sign up for the prehealth-events listserv. It is very important that you stay on the listserv as long as your file is active so that you will receive updated PLS information. If your email address has changed, please be sure to re-subscribe by sending an email message from the email address you will be using:
SUBJECT: [leave this area blank]
BODY: subscribe prehealth-events [your name goes here - no brackets]
PLEASE NOTE: The subscription address has changed and any emails sent to "listproc@ucdavis" are now being ignored; you will not receive an error message (Sept 2010).
Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
All LOR must be printed on the official PLS form (you can pick up forms in 111 South Hall) or on professional letterhead accompanied by this official PLS form. Please inform your letter writers of this requirement. These forms must be original (no photocopies or electronic versions) and require original signatures from both the applicant and the evaluator(s) to prove the validity of the letter and to indicate whether or not the letter is confidential. LOR received without the original form and/or signature(s) cannot be forwarded to professional schools. Please remember that PLS only sends letters to admissions offices of professional schools and programs for the degrees listed above and NOT for jobs, internships, scholarships, fellowships or other graduate/professional programs.
All letters of recommendation should be mailed by the letter writer directly to:
Professional Letter Service (PLS)
Student Academic Success Center
121 South Hall
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616-8508
The PLS address is also printed on the PLS forms and LOR sent to 111 South Hall will be delivered to the same place so either South Hall address is acceptable.
We cannot accept LOR that have been faxed or e-mailed, nor do we accept letters that have been hand delivered by anyone other than the letter writers or their staff.
Numbers of Letters and From Whom
You are allowed a maximum of eight letters in your file, but we recommend that you use only 4-6 to support your application. Letters of support should address the skills, character traits and attitudes that make a candidate especially well-suited to a particular profession.
- Health Professions Schools: It is strongly recommended that you obtain two LOR from science faculty who have taught you, and one non-science faculty LOR plus any other professors, employers, or supervisors who have observed you in research, academic, health care and/or community service settings. Additionally, one LOR (not multiples) from any research project you have been involved with is expected as well. Some health professions require one letter from a professional in that field whom you have observed/worked with (dentist, DO, optometrist, pharmacist). If you are a transfer student, you may want to include a letter from a community college instructor, but we strongly recommend that you also have at least two LOR from UC Davis faculty who have taught you and update your file with more current letters. LOR from personal references (i.e. those who have not had direct experience with you in an professional, academic, or work setting), no matter what their title/position, will not help--and may even hurt--your application.
- MBA Programs: It is strongly recommended that you obtain two or three letters. Because most people who apply for an MBA program work for several years after undergraduate school, the employers’ letters are significant to their applications. However, it is still a good idea to obtain a strong academic letter before you leave school.
Sources for LOR were discussed during your file opening, but if you need a refresher, don't hesitate to attend a "Getting Letters of Recommendation" workshop for more details about who should be writing your LOR. If you have questions concerning the suitability of your potential letter writers after the workshop, please make an appointment to talk to a staff advisor or come to their drop-in hours.
All of the letters in your file will be uploaded/mailed to all of your schools unless you are applying to both allopathic and osteopathic medicine. If that is the case, you will need to indicate on the back of your Letter of Recommendation form if a letter should only be used for osteopathic medicine.
If it is necessary for you to reapply, we recommend that you update old LOR and add at least some new LOR to your file because it is important to have current LOR (i.e. dated the year you apply or the previous year) to support your new application. Updated LOR will automatically replace the older version. You also have the option of retiring some of your letters before an application cycle begins. To do this, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once a letter is retired, it will remain retired.
PLS will keep a record of the application services or individual schools your letters were uploaded or sent to, as well as the dates they were uploaded/mailed. However, it is important for you to keep your own record; this will help you avoid errors and confusion. Some schools will acknowledge receipt of your letters, others will not. If any school says that LOR uploaded to VE were not received, please ask them to download the LOR again. If non-VE LOR were not received and our records indicate they were mailed, we will mail them again for you if you provide us with another envelope. Do not provide us with a second envelope unless you are sure that the first set of letters was not received. It can take two to four weeks for a school to process their mail.
Current Address, Telephone Number, and e-mail Address
It is imperative that you keep PLS informed about your current local address, telephone numbers and email address. During the months that you will be preparing your application, it may be necessary to contact you to update information and/or let you know of any recent developments.
Please note: We prefer to communicate directly with you about your PLS letter file. Often when a third person is involved, messages can be delayed or fail to be delivered. Also, a third person can misunderstand and therefore, misinform you. Please email email@example.com when you need to have questions answered.