In the 2021 Match, Residency directors ranked letters of recommendation the third most important category they considered when deciding who to interview. While the most important part of your LoRs will be the content, we know the letterhead may also be important to you.

Two of the most popular letterheads visitors receive their LoRs on through AMO’s programs include hospital or university letterhead. Understanding the difference between these two types can help you know which is right for you as you build out your residency application.

Below we break down the two types.


Hospital Letterhead

Hospital letterhead means that your LoR will be written on a document that includes the logo, and perhaps contact information, of the hospital system where you completed your clinical rotation. These are typically offered if your preceptor or letter writer has a hospital affiliation. This is usually the case for most clinical rotations at hospital programs, but the opportunity to earn an LoR on hospital letterhead may extend to affiliated physicians working outside the hospital setting.

Because the U.S. hospitals often differ from the way hospitals operate in other countries, an LoR on hospital letterhead shows residency application directors that you have experience with the U.S. hospital system.


University Letterhead

While most universities will also have a hospital affiliation, LoRs on university letterhead prioritize the academic affiliation over the hospital. This can be beneficial for you and your letter writer, as it establishes your preceptor’s credibility through his/her academic affiliation. It may also give the person reviewing your residency application an idea of the kind of research your preceptor does.

Because preceptors with academic affiliation often double as academics at a U.S. university, university letterhead can be valuable for IMGs. This is because it highlights your experience within a U.S. academic setting.


Tips for Earning Your LoR

Earning an LoR is always based on merit, so establishing your hope to earn an LoR with your preceptor early in your rotation will help him/her know to keep an eye on your learning and growth throughout your rotation. 

We recommend scheduling a 1:1 meeting with your preceptor within the first week of your rotation to outline your goals for your LoR and medical future. However, make sure to maintain communication with your preceptor throughout your rotation to ensure these goals are being met and to receive any insight your preceptor may have.

 For more tips on earning an LoR, click here.

Ready to earn your LoR on hospital or university letterhead? Click here to get started.