Professional Letter Service
Advising Services

121 South Hall, UC Davis
(530) 752-4100

Fax: (530)752-4545

Hours of Operation:

Mon-Thurs: 9-12, 1-3

Fridays: Closed

About the Professional Letter Service (PLS)Service

keyboardThe PLS is a letter of recommendation service for UC Davis students and alumni who are applying to schools/programs in the health professions or business programs.We will send to programs that award only the following degrees:
DDS, DDS/DMD,DMD, DNP, DO, MBA, MD, MD/MPH, MD/PhD, OD, PharmD (though if you are applying for Optometry or Pharmacy school, please speak with our office before paying for a file).

PLS stores, copies and sends your recommendation letters to support your applications for admission to multiple professional schools. PLS does not send to master's programs or special master's post- baccalaureate programs. You may keep a maximum of eight letters in your file and have up to fifteen mailings/uploadings for $125. Your PLS file is good for three years after the year you open your file.

The Professional Letter Service (PLS) at UC Davis is being phased out due to budget cuts, in conjunction with the availability of alternative letter services such as those offered through AMCAS and AADSAS. As a result, we will no longer be opening new PLS files after Friday, February 12, 2010. However, those who have current files will be able to use them as before until the final closure on December 31, 2012. Thus, you will be able to apply to dental, medical and podiatric medical schools in 2010 for Fall 2011 entry, in 2011 for Fall 2012 entry and in 2012 for Fall 2013 entry.

  • If you would like to open a PLS file, you will need to pay the fee ($125) at the Cashier’s Office in Dutton Hall, then bring the receipt to 111 South Hall (9-noon, 1-4 p.m. M-F) to schedule a File Opening no later than Friday, February 12, 2010.

  • 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 12/31/12) by paying the $25 file extension fee at the Cashier’s Office and bringing/mailing the receipt to 111 South Hall. BEFORE you file actually expires. We will not be able to extend files that have already expired, with the exception of files that expired in December 2009 (which can be extended until January 31, 2010 only).

  • All files opened in 2010 will expire on December 31, 2012; no extensions will be possible because the PLS service will end on 12/31/12.

  • 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; we will 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 then have questions about how the service works or general advice on getting LOR and PLS (e.g. whether you should open a PLS file, what LOR should you have in your file), please come to staff advisor drop-in hours or schedule an appointment. 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 (9-noon, 1-4 p.m. M-F only as we will not be able to return phone calls).

To open your file

First read this handout, then pay the $125 fee at the Cashier's Office (1st floor, Dutton Hall) and bring the receipt back to the receptionist at the PLS Office in 160 South Silo. You will then be able to sign up to attend a one-hour PLS file opening session. At that time you will receive the recommendation forms necessary for your file. The PLS office must have a receipt from the Cashier's Office for the correct amount for each of these transactions. Do not send money directly to PLS.

If you have additional questions about how to open your file, please see the page entitled "How to Sign Up".

List Serv

When you sign up for the PLS service you must also sign up for the appropriate list serv, prehealth- events.

It is also very important that you stay on the listserv as long as your file is active.

To sign up, send an email message as follows:


Subject: [leave this area blank]

Body: subscribe prehealth-events [your name goes here - no brackets]

Please note that - because we are constantly evolving - all PLS letter service policies and procedures are subject to change. Because of this, it is imperative that you remain on the appropriate list serv, prehealth- events as this is how we communicate any important changes in policies or procedures.


Letters of Recommendation
You will receive official letter of recommendation forms at your PLS file opening session and you may pick up additional forms at the PLS office. All letters of recommendation must be written on the official PLS form or on professional letterhead stationary which must be accompanied by the PLS form. Please inform your letter writers of this requirement. Our forms require original signatures from the applicant and the evaluator to prove the validity of the letter and to indicate whether or not the letter is confidential. Letters received without the original form and signature cannot be forwarded to the professional schools. PLS only sends letters to admissions offices of professional schools and programs. PLS does not send letters for jobs, internships, scholarships or fellowships.

All letters of recommendation should be mailed by the letter writer directly to:
phoneAdvising Services/Pre-Professional Advising
160 South Silo
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616-8508

The PLS address is also printed on the PLS forms. You can reach PLS by phoning (530) 752-4100 or e-mailing

We do not accept letters that have been faxed or e-mailed, nor do we accept letters that have been hand carried 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. Letters of support should address the skills, character traits and attitudes that make a candidate especially well-suited to a particular profession. While you may include a letter from a community college instructor, we highly recommend that you also have at least one letter from a UC Davis professor and update your file with current letters. Letters from personal references (i.e. those who have not had direct experience with you in an academic, professional or work setting), no matter what their title/position, will not help and may even hurt your application. We will be discussing sources during the file opening, but if you have any questions concerning the suitability of letter sources after the file opening, please make an appointment to talk to an advisor.

All of the letters in your file will be mailed to all of your schools unless you are applying to both allopathic and osteopathic medicine. If that is the case, you will indicate on the back of your Letter of Recommendation form if a letter can only be used for osteopathic medicine.

Retiring Letters

You have the option of retiring some of your letters before an application cycle. Once a letter is retired, it will remain retired.

Dental, pharmacy, public health, veterinary, and law schools have centralized application services with their own recommendation letter service systems that hold and mail letters. Thus you may not need to use the PLS service if you are only applying to one of these professions.

medical equipmentHealth Professions Schools: It is strongly recommended that you obtain letters from one or two science professors who have taught at a 4-year institution plus any other professors, employers, or supervisors who have observed you in research, academic, health care and community service settings. Some health professions require one letter from a professional in that field whom you have observed/worked with (e.g. from a dentist or pharmacist). A total of 4 – 6 letters is recommended.

piggy bankMBA 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.

notebooksPLS will keep a record of the schools we send your letters to and the dates the letters were 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 at any time a school should write to you stating that it has not received letters that your records and our records indicate 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.

If it is necessary for you to reapply, schools will want a current evaluation of you. We recommend that you have new (i.e. current) letters of recommendation added to your file. If your file has expired, it will be necessary for you to open up a new file and pay the new current fee.

Length of PLS Letter File Service
Your PLS file is good for three years after the year you open your file. If you open your file in the calendar year 2009, your file will remain active until December 31st, 2012. Expired files are purged and destroyed. It is your responsibility to keep track of when your file expires; we will not contact you. If you have not used your letters to apply to schools and would like to extend your PLS file service, a fee of $25 per year is required to keep it active beyond the initial expiration date. The extension year starts on your file's expiration date. Please notify us no later than one month prior to your file's expiration date if you plan to renew it.

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 contact us personally when you need questions answered. We are open Monday through Friday, 9 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm. Our e-mail is:

Fees (As of 2008)
To defray expenses for maintaining files, reproducing letters and preparing letter packets for mailing, it is necessary to require a user fee. This fee Is not refundable. The regular fee schedule is:

$125 To establish, maintain a file, and to copy and mail letter packets for up to 15 mailings.

$5 To prepare and mail each packet beyond the 15 included in the basic fee (this includes electronic uploadings).

$25 To maintain a file each year beyond the original active period if there have been no mailings or uploadings.

This page was last modified on Jan 24, 2010.   E-mail the webmaster.
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