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Asking for LOR exception: ok or presumptuous?

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deleted1084643

    Hello,

    I’m older and most of my prerequisites have been online during the pandemic. I have a few great letters, but only one is from an instructor. Is it ok to politely ask a school for an exception for the 2 science professor letter requirement? Or should I just try to get a letter from someone who doesn’t know me at all?

    Thank you
     
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    LizzyM

    the evil queen of numbers
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      I'm going to be the contrarian here. If you received your undergrad degree > 3 years ago and you have been employed full-time, the schools may agree to receive letters from your employer(s) in place of faculty recommendations. I have seen it done, and done well. Do explain your circumstances and specify the job title of the person who woud be recommending you along with the number of years they've known you. Be sure your recommenders have the AAMC instructions and know what schools are looking for. They are not looking for a reiteration of your grades or your activities. Emphasis to the writers that they should write about what they have personally witnessed and an assessment, based on personal experience, of how well suited you are for medical school and/or a career as a physician.
       
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      Deltasidearm

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        If you received your undergrad degree > 3 years ago and you have been employed full-time, the schools may agree to receive letters from your employer(s) in place of faculty recommendations.
        This would be very reasonable to me, but would it still apply to a non-trad who has taken the required coursework within this past year? OP says his coursework was completed during the pandemic, so they have had the same opportunities to develop a relationship with their professors as other more traditional students in the same classes.

        Personally, it doesn't seem as reasonable to me to have the requirement waived if coursework has been recently completed, regardless of employment status.
         

        LizzyM

        the evil queen of numbers
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          This would be very reasonable to me, but would it still apply to a non-trad who has taken the required coursework within this past year? OP says his coursework was completed during the pandemic, so they have had the same opportunities to develop a relationship with their professors as other more traditional students in the same classes.

          Personally, it doesn't seem as reasonable to me to have the requirement waived if coursework has been recently completed, regardless of employment status.

          The requirement is to have letters of recommendation from three professors who have taught you, two science and one non-science. There is no requirement to have LORs from professors who taught required courses so the "requirement" is not being waived. The question is, "unlike a college senior who has not worked, I have full-time work experience and a boss who is willing to write a LOR. Will you accept that as an alternative to a faculty letter?" I've seen letters from bosses, from commanding officers, and from Peace Corps supervisors. It is not unreasonable to at least ask if an adcom will accept such a letter in lieu of what has been requested.
           
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          LunaOri

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            I’ll second what LizzyM said. A letter from a PI or supervisor who knows you well and can talk about your work ethic and what would make you a good physician is better than a generic letter from a prof from whom you took an online course. (And no, a letter from your boss at the Waffle House does not count, no matter how many years you worked there).
             
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            LizzyM

            the evil queen of numbers
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              I finished undergrad more than 10 years ago and only one of the schools I’m applying to explicitly requires 2 letters from instructors. For the sake of anonymity, I don’t want to get more specific than that. Can I PM you @LizzyM ?
              of course.
               
              D

              deleted1084643

                For other nontrads out there wondering or worrying:

                I asked several schools (first, to test the water, schools I’m not applying to). All I did was tell them when I graduated. Every school replied that I don’t need faculty letters. They want letters from people who know me best. Easy, no need to explain specific circumstances.
                 
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