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adviser weeds out the good/bad LORs - thoughts?

bUBBA gUMP

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Apr 12, 2008
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    is it ok to have one's premed advisor selectively decide which LORs would be strongest to send, and which ones would be best left out? i have accumulated close to 7 or 8, and i'd better cut down, as i believe it's overkill.
     
    I don't think they do that...unless they really like you. I think YOU can select, but not the advisor.


    I'm pretty sure I've been told that some schools' premed committees do indeed screen out letters. You, of course, cannot pick and choose after they've been sent to the committee, since you should be waiving your right to read them.
     
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    dancinRN1022

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      the advisor at my school would sort through the letters...we would send him at a minimum five or six letters and he would send the best two or three and quote from the rest of them in his letter!!! i don't know what he would do if he received a bad letter... i don't think he would send it...his goal is to maximize your chances of getting into med school...not screw u over... i am sure if we got one bad letter he wouldn't do anything...if we received a bunch of bad letters... i think our advisor would be pretty honest and tell us that medicine isn't the right choice for a career..he actually does this alot and i think this is why most ppl don't like him...he is just brutally honest!:)
      i personally loved him!:)
       

      bUBBA gUMP

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        the advisor at my school would sort through the letters...we would send him at a minimum five or six letters and he would send the best two or three and quote from the rest of them in his letter!!! i don't know what he would do if he received a bad letter... i don't think he would send it...his goal is to maximize your chances of getting into med school...not screw u over... i am sure if we got one bad letter he wouldn't do anything...if we received a bunch of bad letters... i think our advisor would be pretty honest and tell us that medicine isn't the right choice for a career..he actually does this alot and i think this is why most ppl don't like him...he is just brutally honest!:)
        i personally loved him!:)

        hey - this is encouraging news - thanks for your input - dancing rn (and also for the post from notdeadyet (thanks, n.d.y.)) - i'm thinking that the committee will probably sift through lors, be selective, and do just what you've said - quote from those not necessarily super good but send the sweet ones. yeah - sweet ones! sounds like a win-win situation, especially when one has specifically asked his/her letter writers whether they could write *positively.*:idea:
         

        perutz

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          At my school, since some people may have more than the max number of letters to be included in the packet, applicants can pick the letters to be sent (to create a more diverse packet and sometimes based on perceived strength of letter). However, the advisor sends out all letters, good or bad, and writes a cover letter highlighting positive aspects of the applicant. I think this is the standard for most premed committees.
           

          Excelsius

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            It's likely that most advisers will not screen out negative letters, unless they really like you, in which case it might make sense to discuss the letter with the student. I don't think many advisers will be willing to compromise their position by disregarding a legitimate, negative letter. The point of screening out is likely to select the strongest of all positive letters rather than deciding to hide the negative ones. Now if your adviser knows you really well and thinks otherwise about you, you might have that privilege, I suppose.
             

            PreMD86

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              Sorry to highjack this thread, but out of complete curiousity, do premed advisors let you read your file after the season is done and you've matriculated into a medical school?
              I just read this thread, and thought to myself it would have been interesting to be able to read my lor's once everything's said and done.
               

              LizzyM

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                Sorry to highjack this thread, but out of complete curiousity, do premed advisors let you read your file after the season is done and you've matriculated into a medical school?
                I just read this thread, and thought to myself it would have been interesting to be able to read my lor's once everything's said and done.

                You have waived your right to read them and they are supposed to be confidential meaning that the writers submitted their letters with the understanding that they would be shared with adcoms on a "need to know" basis for the purpose of making admission decisions.

                A compassionate premed advisor might, if you were totally unsuccessful in a cycle, tell you in a circumspect way that you should get new letters for the next cycle and that you might cut back on the number of letters and not ask Professor Y again.
                 

                riverwoman1040

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                  the advisor at my school would sort through the letters...we would send him at a minimum five or six letters and he would send the best two or three and quote from the rest of them in his letter!!! i don't know what he would do if he received a bad letter... i don't think he would send it...his goal is to maximize your chances of getting into med school...not screw u over... i am sure if we got one bad letter he wouldn't do anything...if we received a bunch of bad letters... i think our advisor would be pretty honest and tell us that medicine isn't the right choice for a career..he actually does this alot and i think this is why most ppl don't like him...he is just brutally honest!:)
                  i personally loved him!:)

                  Not that this process is fair to begin with, but advisors picking out your best letters strikes me as particularly unfair. My school certainly didn't do this. Our professors sent our letters straight to interfolio, and it was up to the students to decide which letters to send, without seeing them. It kind of defeats the purpose of the LOR in my mind if some students have such a clear advantage. I wonder how many adcom members know this happens...
                   

                  LifetimeDoc

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                    Hmmm... some schools specifically state in the cover letter that every letter submitted to the committee is enclosed. I never thought that the others might be holding back negative letters....:eek:

                    I asked my undergrad if they screened out letters, and they said absolutely not. However, they said that they only ever saw one "negative" letter of recommendation anyways, so people should stop worrying about it. They summarized the character of letters as describing all the students as "walking on water", so I doubt that there are that many bad letters written by people.
                     

                    LizzyM

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                      I asked my undergrad if they screened out letters, and they said absolutely not. However, they said that they only ever saw one "negative" letter of recommendation anyways, so people should stop worrying about it. They summarized the character of letters as describing all the students as "walking on water", so I doubt that there are that many bad letters written by people.


                      Did you graduate from Harvard?? You don't have to answer that but your statement is so true when it comes to some schools. Other faculty members are far less laudatory (the Canadians are the worst for being stingy with praise -- I think it is a cultural thing), and some will write negative things (maybe one in 500 letters is "bad" or damning with faint praise.)
                       

                      dancinRN1022

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                        i really don't think alot of people receive negative letters, most professors or people would just not write anything versus something that could really harm you...and why would u ask for a letter for someone who didn't really like you in the first place??... however, I was curious about those people who said that it was their negative letter of rec that prevented them from gaining acceptances...

                        I think in my school once the pre-med advisor/committee decides to endorse you...then they really endorse you.. they ask you to send at least five or six letters...and they send the best three with your app...and they quote from the marginal ones... in their personal composite letter!! is this really not fair?? eh...who knows??? obviously i am personally biased so i can't really argue against doing it this way...

                        i think most people's letters of rec can be classified as generic and positive...(basically the same letter for each applicant, nothing too outstanding...or as extremely positive and personal...with the latter being the most preferred one...

                        you should just ask your school how they handle letters of rec...
                         

                        tncekm

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                          Did you graduate from Harvard?? You don't have to answer that but your statement is so true when it comes to some schools. Other faculty members are far less laudatory (the Canadians are the worst for being stingy with praise -- I think it is a cultural thing), and some will write negative things (maybe one in 500 letters is "bad" or damning with faint praise.)
                          Hmm... so good LOR's are kind of standard then? I was hoping that'd be something unique I'd have going for me. :( I was super excited to see that interfolio showed 2 of my confidential LOR's at 2 pages in length, but I guess that's normal. This process is so difficult *sigh*. Writing a PS is very difficult, everyone is smart, everyone has good grades, and now it looks like everyone has good LOR's.
                           

                          MilkmanAl

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                            so good LOR's are kind of standard then? I was hoping that'd be something unique I'd have going for me.
                            It's just common sense, if you think about it. How many people are going to ask someone who'll write a bad LOR to help them out? Of those, how many will write the letter and not tell the student he/she can't write a good letter? Of that small subset, how many professors actually are motivated to annihilate their students chances at attending med school?
                             
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