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Cornell University

Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC)

Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC)

The Health Careers Evaluation Committee is a group of Cornell staff and faculty who serve Cornell undergraduates and alumni as they apply to four-year degree-granting programs in the human health professions. The HCEC supports juniors, seniors, and alumni with their applications to these schools through a Letter of Evaluation, also known as a Committee Letter or the HCEC Letter.

What is the HCEC Letter?

The HCEC Letter is a narrative summary of an applicant’s candidacy for the health career of their choice. It is positive in tone, providing an overall evaluation of each individual’s unique attributes and experiences. The HCEC Letter includes a Letter of Evaluation written by the HCEC, and at least two, but no more than three, Letters of Recommendation. One letter must be from a Cornell-affiliated writer.

What is the approved use for the HCEC Letter?

The HCEC letter may only be used in support of applications to four-year degree-granting programs in: allopathic medicine (MD or combined MD degrees), osteopathic medicine (DO), dental medicine (DDS/DMD), optometry (OD), or podiatry (DPM). The HCEC Letter may not be used for post-baccalaureate or master's degree programs.

Who is eligible?

Any Cornell student or alumna/us who has completed at least 30 letter-graded, undergraduate credit hours at Cornell may register with the HCEC and have an HCEC Letter written on their behalf. 
Undergraduates are required to complete the HCA-APP Canvas course. Alumni registrants are encouraged to complete the course, but are not required to do so. 
Transfer students who have completed less than one full year at Cornell may register with the HCEC, and should consult with a Health Careers Advisor for guidance regarding the HCEC process and the timing of medical school applications.

When do I register?

Online registration opens each year in early December and remains open through the spring and early summer. The deadlines and timelines for undergraduates are different than the deadlines and timelines for alumni. Review the corresponding timeline for your graduation status on our Timelines page.
Note that seniors who graduate in December are considered alumni by the HCEC.

What steps are required to obtain an HCEC Letter?

Once registered with the HCEC, both undergraduates and alumni must complete a series of required steps using the HCEC Online Checklist. Throughout the process, all HCEC registrants must follow and adhere to their respective timelines and completion deadlines. Essential information about the HCEC process can be found on the Process Details page.

For more information:

Additional information about submitting Letters of Recommendation, tracking your applications, and helpful tools and resources, can be found on other HCEC web pages.

For answers to more specific questions, contact the HCEC by phone, email, or Zoom appointment.

There is a host of information available on applying to health career related programs and we welcome your questions about the HCEC. For answers to questions of an advising nature, including guidance with the HCA-APP, application readiness, letters of recommendation, medical/dental school application strategy, or other aspects of primary and secondary applications, please contact a Health Careers Advisor.