oreosandsake

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
1,661
561
Chicago
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
he confirmed, "yes, I will write you a strong LOR"

I waived my right to see it but he mailed me a copy.

when i was there, he said I was the most well read 3rd year he'd ever had, etc etc. (I wish he would have quoted himself in the letter.)

it seems a bit short. One paragraph and one sentence.

the paragraph mentions some things like, "exceptional care, very organized, punctual, critical and independent thinker, compassionate, asset to our team"

the sentence at the end says something like "I have no reservations about recommending this student..."


is this the norm when it comes to LORs? sure, quality over quantity, but I'm not sure if this equals "strong LOR"

help?
 

Droopy Snoopy

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2006
1,846
21
The Alamo
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
he confirmed, "yes, I will write you a strong LOR"

I waived my right to see it but he mailed me a copy.

when i was there, he said I was the most well read 3rd year he'd ever had, etc etc. (I wish he would have quoted himself in the letter.)

it seems a bit short. One paragraph and one sentence.

the paragraph mentions some things like, "exceptional care, very organized, punctual, critical and independent thinker, compassionate, asset to our team"

the sentence at the end says something like "I have no reservations about recommending this student..."


is this the norm when it comes to LORs? sure, quality over quantity, but I'm not sure if this equals "strong LOR"

help?

The two letters I've seen (like you I waived but was mailed anyway) were both 3 paragraphs. First one had the writer describing himself and qualifications, second had the meat with specific examples of why I was being recommended, third was a couple sentence summary and closing.
 

Mental Gymnast

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 27, 2007
105
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Oreos,

That is not necessarily a very strong letter. I know from working on medical school admissions and reading hundreds of files that letter writers have their own verbal code for categorizing candidates. This system may be used in Dean's Letters as well. For example, rather than saying this candidate is in top 5, 10, 25, 50, or 75% of the class; they may say this candidate is outstanding, excellent, very good, good, fair.

Essentially, when skimming through hundreds of applications and letters, the one line that people essentially tend to skim down to is the last line, because that summarizes the letter. This line either says this candidate will be outstanding in any program, this candidate is highly recommended, this candidate is recommended with no reservations, or this candidate is recommended with the reservations mentioned above.

A one paragraph letter with a summary that the writer has no reservations is NOT a strong letter. There are many possible reasons for this: writer may be writing a LOR for the first time, he/she may have been super busy, may have had a bad week, etc. But the bottom line is that if you have better letters I would submit your other letters first unless you have no choice but to use this one.
 
About the Ads

carrigallen

16th centry dutch painter
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2003
1,542
7
Status (Visible)
Unless this person is VERY well known in your field, I would not bother using it. It seems more like an evaluation summary and less like a LOR. My guess is that this person doesn't have much experience in writing letters.
 

2tall

1K Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2004
1,952
6
USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Status (Visible)
some people can say a lot in a couple sentences. some people can go on without saying anything relevant for three pages. i wouldn't get caught up in the length. strong doesn't necessarily mean long.

if i had to read a personal statement and three letters of rec, i'd prefer they'd be clear and concise. what you've quoted seems strong to me.

2tall is not a program director
 

oreosandsake

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
1,661
561
Chicago
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Oreos,





A one paragraph letter with a summary that the writer has no reservations is NOT a strong letter. There are many possible reasons for this: writer may be writing a LOR for the first time, he/she may have been super busy, may have had a bad week, etc. But the bottom line is that if you have better letters I would submit your other letters first unless you have no choice but to use this one.

he's about 2 years out of residency...

He isn't "well known" in his field, but a very nice guy and I never felt that he didn't like me so I am led to beleive he had all intentions of writing a "strong" letter.


goodness, is there really a "code" ???
 

themudphud

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2008
133
1
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
hi Oreos- It's a bummer. There are some attendings, who for whatever reason (e.g. young and inexperienced), do not know how to write a "good" letter despite every intention to do so. As referred to earlier, this person may not be fully aware of the code system (yes it exists) within their field. I have a friend--another med student--who got a young faculty member to write a letter--the faculty member loved the student (the student was also excellent) and promised to write an excellent letter. The student received the letter and it was terrible--and the faculty member was going on about what a great letter it was! Funny but true. Given what your attending told you in person, I doubt that the nature of the letter was anything personally against you.
Finally, as another responder said, content doesn't necessarily equal length. *BUT* unless this guy has a track record in the field (unlikely at two yrs out of residency) of writing magnificent but short letters, there will be an expectation from residency committees that you have a longer letter. Also, I think the biggest cause for concern that this short letter is not packed full of quality is that you wrote this post...
Solutions: (1) get another letter. (2) if you know this person on a personal level--e.g. have done research together/written 1 or 2 manuscripts--and have a real sense that this person cares for your professional well being, then you might be in the clear to give some guidance. I would probably lean towards option #1.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 12 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.