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All non-trads, read this

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by moo, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. moo

    moo 1K Member
    10+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2000
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    I was just curious, but how do you guys get a letter of rec? I mean, you'd have to really get to know your profs to get a letter don't you, and assuming you're taking only the basic prereqs (bio, chem, phys, math) the classes are pretty large. So isn't it hard to get a letter of rec when you hardly know the profs? How do you go about circumventing this problem?
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  3. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel
    10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
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    Moo -

    I just graduated and plan on spending a few years away from school so I'm getting two profs to write letters now.
    #2 CoffeeCat, Jul 2, 2001
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  4. 0099900

    0099900 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2001
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    Hi Moo,

    I'm not a non-trad applicant but I thought I would share my $0.02 anyways. Class size is always a problem at the undergrad level .... especially in most intro. science courses. What I did was plan my education in such a way that I would always have classes that were <300 in size. For instance, I started my first semester of university in the winter instead of the fall. By doing this, when the 1300+ students were in CHEM II, BIO II, PHYS II, etc..... I was in CHEM I and so got the small classes. In case you're wondering, this didn't put me behind at all because my school is trimestered.

    Also, it makes it much easier to get to know the professors if you sit near the front and always try to make eye contact with them. (I'm not saying you should suck up or stay 25 mins after every class) Alternatively, you could always come in late which is what I did and believe it or not, that is how I actually started talking to one of my profs who I will be using.

    I think the biggest problem that students face is not knowing how to approach a prof for a letter of recommendation because they feel very intimidated. My advice is that if you feel "intimidated" asking a professor for a letter, the intimidation stems for the fact that you don't know them well enough and feel that you are being a burden on them ..... If you honestly feel this way, I would try to get to know them on a more personal level (ie. sending an e-card on Canada's Day) or just dropping by and talking about your interests before dropping the bomb on them. The right people to ask for letters are the ones you don't feel "intimidated" about asking.

    Good Luck .... You can drop me a line through ICQ if you wanna chat more about this (13830880)

  5. pcl

    pcl Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
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    Often, a letter from a supervisor at work can be substituted for one or more of the professor letters.

    I had the following in my letter file:

    Senior Design(Health Systems Eng) Professor

    Post-Bach Physiology Professor

    Undergrad Stochiastic Processes

    Volunteer Supervisor (Director of ER research/Surgery)

    Project Client (Medical Director)


    Only one school (PITT) would not accept two letters from professors and the remainder from my professional and work contacts. The nice thing was that the alternate letters were from people who had seen me work in analytical settings, with people, in situations that required skills that will be useful in medicine. All three had had lengthy discussions about why I was pursuing medicine, and all three had been very encouraging. These people KNEW me reallly well, and could speak to my strengths and weaknesses very well, which I think was far more telling than getting a letter from some professor who didn't know me and could only say I had received an A in his/her course. So, before you designate schools, call and see if they will accept alternate letters.


    Good Luck.


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