Afraid to send 4 or 5 letters of recommendation (D.O.)

Aug 3, 2017
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12
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Medical Student
Hello, so here is my question. I want to send 4 letters of recommendation. They are as follows:

1. Chemistry professor who taught me a class and was my chemistry masters advisor

2. Chemistry professor who taught me a class and he was the head professor for Timmy Global Health organization, which I was an executive board member of.

3. Chemistry professor who taught me a class

4. D.O. physician

Here is my question. Do medical schools read ALL FOUR LETTERS, or do they just stop at 2 science professors, and not read the third (assuming that med school only requires 2 science professor letters).

Hence the problem if they do, since I have a huge difference between a couple of those letters and deeply desire they read the chemistry advisor masters letter.

Should I only include 2 science letters, and 1 DO letter? That would be fine, except some schools want all the letters! So how can I be assured that the DO schools that require 3 letters will read all 4 of mine? Thanks!
 

Coltuna

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Nov 2, 2015
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I've read on here that schools read all letters.
 
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Coltuna

2+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2015
1,540
1,130
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Medical Student
In reference to the title about being feaful of sending 4 or 5 letters, I sent 6 and have 3 interviews so far. N=1 though.
 
OP
Cat Nip
Aug 3, 2017
57
12
Status
Medical Student
In reference to the title about being feaful of sending 4 or 5 letters, I sent 6 and have 3 interviews so far. N=1 though.
How do you know they read all the letters? I tried finding an official source, and am asking a few schools if they do. However, I'm applying to 14+ DO schools and cant expect to email each one and get a response before I plan on sending apps for submission.
 

Coltuna

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Nov 2, 2015
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How do you know they read all the letters? I tried finding an official source, and am asking a few schools if they do. However, I'm applying to 14+ DO schools and cant expect to email each one and get a response before I plan on sending apps for submission.
Goro and LizzyM have said this.

Edit: Goro has specifically said to take pity on the committees because they have to read all of them lol. Think about it-- If an ADCOM admits someone who eventually fails out and it's found that one of the letters they chose not to read indicated a high risk for failing out...
 
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OP
Cat Nip
Aug 3, 2017
57
12
Status
Medical Student
Goro and LizzyM have said this.

Edit: Goro has specifically said to take pity on the committees because they have to read all of them lol.
From my understanding of what Goro has mentioned to me before, is that some letters may get ignored if they read the "required" ones before finishing the rest.

@LizzyM , maybe Lizzy could shed more light on this?
 

Coltuna

2+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2015
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LOR from "connection" at school?

This isn't exactly in line with OP's post, and maybe I was equivocating a bit with the understanding of what Goro said but it may shed some light.

Edit: I may have incorrectly included LizzyM as someone I'd heard this from.
 
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LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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If we get more letters than requested, and if we intend to make an offer of admission, we are obligated to read all the letters because we don't want to make an offer if there is a serious red flag lurking in an unread letter.
If we have already decided that you are not worthy of an interview (don't take it personally, we have too many good applicants to interview them all), we will not read more than the requested letters as it is unlikely to change the decision not to interview (or the decision not to admit).
 
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OP
Cat Nip
Aug 3, 2017
57
12
Status
Medical Student
If we get more letters than requested, and if we intend to make an offer of admission, we are obligated to read all the letters because we don't want to make an offer if there is a serious red flag lurking in an unread letter.
If we have already decided that you are not worthy of an interview (don't take it personally, we have too many good applicants to interview them all), we will not read more than the requested letters as it is unlikely to change the decision not to interview (or the decision not to admit).
I know LORs aren't suppose to make a huge difference, but I've known people from my research lab go to phDs at places like Johns Hopkins, whose admission committees said that my research mentor writes some of the best letters they've ever read. In lieu of this, I personally would feel as though my entire application wasn't evaluated if the letters read did not include his letter. I want to send 4 letters, but if there is a chance some committees will skip his letter, then should I simply only apply to schools that require 2 science letters and 1 DO letter, just to ensure his letter is read (by sending only 2 science letters, and 1 DO letter myself)?

(I understand that metrics, etc. are much more important, but I do prefer that letter be read, and if that means less broadly applying, then would that be reasonable?).
 

HopefulDoc91

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Jun 21, 2015
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Only send letters if you KNOW they are good letters. A mediocre letter is not going to help you. So if you think all 4 of those letters talk about how amazing you are and they would improve your chances, then send them all. I sent 6 LORs (2 science profs, my advisor, 2 DOs, and my volunteer coordinator) and I chose to send all 6 because I knew that they were all absolutely glowing. I have 1 acceptance and 4 more interviews, so I don't think it's a big deal to send that many. Just don't send average letters that don't really speak too much about you or your character.
 
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Goro

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I know LORs aren't suppose to make a huge difference, but I've known people from my research lab go to phDs at places like Johns Hopkins, whose admission committees said that my research mentor writes some of the best letters they've ever read. In lieu of this, I personally would feel as though my entire application wasn't evaluated if the letters read did not include his letter. I want to send 4 letters, but if there is a chance some committees will skip his letter, then should I simply only apply to schools that require 2 science letters and 1 DO letter, just to ensure his letter is read (by sending only 2 science letters, and 1 DO letter myself)?

(I understand that metrics, etc. are much more important, but I do prefer that letter be read, and if that means less broadly applying, then would that be reasonable?).
For medical school admissions, LORs do not have magic properties. At the most, interviewers will comment "great LORs".

Ditto for PS and other essays.

SDNers are advised to stop looking at single metrics and remember it's the entire app packet that gets evaluated, and will make or break you.
 
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