Verifiers can be a source of confusion and anxiety for some applicants. Our verifier guidelines have not changed since the last cycle, so we hope this post from last year can help with some common verifier issues you might encounter.
Some verifiers are easy to choose: your current supervisor, your former coach, your guitar teacher. Others are more problematic. Because the Admissions Office has a responsibility to verify the accuracy of applications in order to ensure fairness for all applicants, we require a verifier for all non-academic, employment, and rural training experiences. However, we recognize that it can be hard to find a verifier for some entries. We hope these questions can help if you are struggling with a difficult verifier situation.
- I worked somewhere/did something a long time ago and have lost touch with my supervisor.
This is a common problem. Sometimes the organization will keep records, so you might be able to put down the current HR person. Remember, the verifier only needs to be able to confirm the details you list on the application – they don’t have to know you personally or comment on your performance. Alternatively, you might be able to reach out through social media to get in touch with your former supervisor. The ‘last resort’ is to use a coworker. You may do this at your discretion, but please note that in some cases we may contact you to ask for a different verifier. We do not accept things like certificates, newspaper articles, or other non-human forms of verification.
- I have a hobby I usually do on my own. You say not to put yourself down as a verifier, so who should I put?
For solo hobbies, you may choose a friend or family member who knows about your hobby.
- I own my own business and work by myself. Since I cannot put myself down as a verifier, who should I pick?
A business is more formal than a hobby, so we prefer that you not use a friend or family member. You might consider using someone like an accountant or lawyer who can confirm the basic details of your business. Clients are a bit trickier because they may not know the total number of hours you work or the start and end dates of your business.
- I work for a family business. You say not to use friends or family members as verifiers, so who should I choose?
Ideally, you could pick a non-family member who supervised you, but we understand that many family businesses are small and are staffed only by family members. In this case, if there is no one else, you may use the family member who supervised you.
- The only people who can verify my activity are also applying to the MD program.
Sorry, applicants should not verify activities for other applicants. Please try to find someone else.
- What happens if the Admissions Office thinks I put down an inappropriate verifier? Will the activity be automatically disregarded?
We will not automatically disregard an activity unless you put yourself down as a verifier or enter something like “no verifier”. As long as you have made an honest attempt to list a suitable verifier, we will contact you if we need to verify the activity and we have concerns about the verifier. We are not looking for ways to disregard activities or withhold points – we really want to reward your accomplishments and experiences. We just need to make sure the entries listed are accurate.
Ultimately, verifier choice is your decision. The Admissions Office cannot give you permission to list a particular verifier on your application or help you if you are trying to decide between two or more potential verifiers. Please use your best judgement to work within the guidelines provided.