Evaluations (Letters of Reference)

Evaluations may be submitted to AACOMAS electronically or directly to your designated program(s).  In this section, you may enter up to a maximum of six (6) evaluations.  AACOMAS is not responsible for verifying an evaluator’s identity. If a discrepancy is found, AACOMAS reserves the right to contact the applicant or evaluator to investigate. AACOMAS reserves the right to share the discrepancy without comment to all AACOMAS programs.

IMPORTANT: Evaluations (references) completed through AACOMAS are sent to all of the schools you designate in your AACOMAS application. Letters submitted through AACOMAS cannot be customized to any one school or program.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Research DO Program Requirements

Determine what requirements, your designated programs have regarding evaluators’ roles or relationship to you, BEFORE listing ANY evaluators on your AACOMAS application. Many programs have strict guidelines for this, and once a reference is completed on the AACOMAS application, it may NOT be removed or replaced. Please note that references from family members are generally frowned upon by admissions offices.

Prepare Your Evaluators

Once you have chosen your evaluators, inform them of the process and that they will be filling out the reference forms electronically. Obtain their preferred e-mail address and make sure they are monitoring their e-mail inbox for your reference request e-mail.

IMPORTANT: You are asked to submit a requested due date for your evaluation letters. This date should correspond to the evaluation development guidelines that are set by your designated pre-health advisor. You should consult with your evaluators/reviewers before submitting the proposed date to ensure that they will have ample time to respond to your request.

WHAT INFORMATION DO MY EVALUATORS FILL OUT?

There are two parts to an AACOMAS reference:

  • “My Profile” where evaluators fill out their contact information in case your program would like to get in touch with them. They may also correct any errors to their name or title you may have made when entering their information.
  • An open letter of recommendation which may be uploaded in .PDF, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format. Please note the file size limit for letters is 5 MB. Because all letters of reference are sent to each school the applicant applies to, evaluators should be vague in their form of address (Using “to whom it may concern,” etc.) and avoid referring to any particular DO school or program in their letter.

HOW TO SUBMIT A LETTER OF REFERENCE

1. On the “Evaluations” page, click the blue “Create Evaluation Request” button to add a reference.

2. Enter his or her full name and e-mail address into the system, and assign them a deadline by which you would like this reference completed. We encourage applicants to select a date which is at least four weeks in advance of your earliest deadline. You also must write them a personal message.

3. Select your waiver decision (please see more information on waivers below) and check the permissions release boxes.

4. ONCE YOU SAVE THIS INFORMATION, AN E-MAIL IS IMMEDIATELY SENT TO THE EVALUATOR at the e-mail address you provided. Please advise your evaluators to monitor their junk e-mail and spam folders for messages from “aacomasinfo@liaisoncas.com,” subject heading “Evaluation Request Submitted,” as these e-mails are automated and therefore sometimes filtered as spam. Confirm with your evaluator that they have received the notification.

5. The e-mail provides the evaluator with a link to the Evaluator Portal where they may create an account and set up their own username and password. They will log into this site and see your name under the heading “Open Evaluations.” Your evaluator will click either “ACCEPT” or “DECLINE” to accept or decline your request. If they select decline, you will receive an email notification.

6. Once your evaluator has accepted your request, your name will become a clickable link. Upon clicking on your name, they will be asked to complete their profile and upload an open letter of reference in .PDF, .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format. Please note the file size limit for letters is 5 MB.

7. Once they have completed their reference, the evaluator must click “SUBMIT EVALUATION” to send it to AACOMAS. This action occurs immediately, and the reference will show up as “completed” on your application with a complete date. Your evaluator can also click “Preview Evaluation” to create a .pdf copy which they can save for their records.

8. Monitor your evaluations’ statuses in the Status Menu of your application. Follow up with the evaluator for any reference which still read as “New” or “In-Progress.”

REMEMBER: NO PAPER LETTERS OR FORMS SHOULD BE MAILED TO AACOMAS. References completed through AACOMAS must be completed entirely online.

WAIVING YOUR RIGHTS VS. NOT WAIVING YOUR RIGHTS

When you enter an evaluation, you are asked if you wish to “WAIVE” or “NOT TO WAIVE” your right to view the reference. This waiver is not a creation of AACOMAS, but is part of U.S. Federal Law and must be filled out for any letter of reference, including those you may have obtained to attend your undergraduate institution.

Please review the information below before making your decision. Once a decision is made, it may NOT be changed.

“YES, I Waive My Right”

Selecting “YES” indicates to the school that your evaluator wrote their letter of recommendation with the understanding that you would never be allowed to view it. If you select this option, you will never see the content of your letter. However, programs may view this type of letter as a more accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications.

“NO, I Do Not Waive My Right”

Selecting “NO” indicates to the school that your evaluator wrote their reference with the understanding that you may choose to view it in the future. Please note, however, that checking this option will NOT allow you to view your reference via AACOMAS. If you have not waived the right to view your reference, you may ask your evaluator for a copy of their recommendation, or, once you matriculate into a DO program, you may ask to view the reference in their offices. However, programs may view this type of letter as a less accurate representation of an applicant’s qualifications.

APPLICANT RESPONSIBILITY

It is the applicant’s responsibility to monitor his or her application for evaluation receipt, even after you have submitted your application. AACOMAS will NOT notify applicants concerning missing evaluations. Applicants must follow up with any references in a “New” or “In-Progress” status and ensure all reference materials are completed to avoid delays in processing their application. You may view the status of your evaluations at any time in the status menu.

COMMON QUESTIONS:

Q: Am I required to send letters of reference through AACOMAS?

A:  NO. Some schools may want the letters mailed directly to them.  Requirements may vary from school to school, and you should visit the Program Page for each institution to which you apply.


Q: How long should the letters be?

A: The file uploaded by references may not exceed 5 MB. The Evaluator Portal will not allow references to exceed this file size when uploading their assessment.


Q: Can I submit more than six references?

A: NO. You may not submit more than six references via AACOMAS, and AACOMAS cannot accept any additional or substitute letters.  You may not submit more than one committee letter through AACOMAS.


Q: Why can I only have six letters? Why are letters restricted to 5 MB in length?

A: Restrictions regarding the length and number of references have been determined by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.  These restrictions reflect the programs’ desire to receive concise assessments and allow a certain degree of standardization in the amount of consideration given to each applicant’s reference material.


Q: Can I have different evaluations sent to individual programs?

A: NO. Each evaluation is sent to all programs that you applied to.


Q: Can I send letters of reference which are on file at Interfolio to AACOMAS?

A: Yes. If you have letters stored at Interfolio you may have these letters sent directly to your DO programs or submitted electronically through the AACOMAS application.  To upload an Interfolio letter directly to your AACOMAS application, you may input an Interfolio-generated email address in place of your letter writer’s email address.


Q: Can I send VirtualEvals to AACOMAS?

A:  No.  Letters sent through VirtualEvals must be sent directly to the schools you are applying to.


Q: Does AACOMAS accept committee letters?

A: Yes. Please note that a committee letter only counts as one letter of reference out of the six total you are permitted to send through AACOMAS. You may not submit more than one committee letter through AACOMAS.


Q: What do I do if I want to change the person who is sending the reference or edit the information I entered?

A: Even after you submit your application, you may edit, delete, or replace references whose status is still listed as “new” or “incomplete.” Once a reference is “completed,” you may not make changes to that reference, regardless as to whether or not you’ve submitted your application.


Q: How do I know my evaluator received the e-mail request?

A: Evaluator e-mail notifications are sent immediately once you save the evaluator’s information into the system. Please advise your evaluator to monitor their junk e-mail and spam folders for messages from “aacomasinfo@liaisoncas.com,” subject heading “Evaluation Request Submitted” as these e-mails are automated and therefore sometimes filtered as spam. If your evaluator has not received their request within 24 hours, click the pencil icon to the right of their name on your AACOMAS application, and then click the “Resend This Evaluation Request” button at the bottom of the page.


Q: My evaluator can’t log into the Evaluator Portal. What do I do?

A: If the evaluator continues to experience difficulty, they should contact AACOMAS customer service directly by phone or e-mail so that we may assist them.


Q: How do I change an evaluator’s e-mail address?

A: To change the e-mail address of an evaluator, please log into your AACOMAS application and click the pencil icon to the right of their name on your AACOMAS application, and then edit the required information. Click the “Resend This Evaluation Request” button at the bottom of the page to resend the request to the correct address.


Q: Can evaluations be co-signed by a Teaching Assistant and a Faculty member?

A: Yes, an evaluation from a Teaching Assistant must be co-signed or include the name and contact information of a Faculty member within the letter.


Q: Once I submit an evaluation request, can I change my waiver selection?

A: No. Your waiver decision on the AACOMAS application serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding.


Q: Can I e-submit my application before my references are received by AACOMAS?

A: Yes. Once you have successfully filled out your application, you can e-submit it to AACOMAS at any time.


Q: Can I view my letters of reference?

A: No. Even if you have not waived your right to view the reference, you still cannot access the reference via AACOMAS.


Q: Can AACOMAS forward my references to me, my evaluators, or schools not affiliated with AACOMAS?

A: NO. As per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), AACOMAS may not release letters of reference to anyone other than your designated schools, including other schools or the applicant themselves.



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