asking for LOR

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Hi guys,

Sorry if this isnt the right place to put this.. but I have some people in mind to write my letters for the upcoming cycle. Was wondering whether there would be additional things I would need to provide to them- CV, Personal statement.. anything else?

Thank you!
 

ciestar

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Only one of my LOR writers asked for my CV. It’s good to have it handy if asked though.

(My PS wasn’t ready until about two weeks before apps went out lol)
 
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Doggeronie

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So I haven't written my PS yet... I have a fully complete CV but I'm going to be studying pretty hard for Step 2 CK this month so I definitely can't write my PS this month. Can I just ask for an LOR with only my CV attached?
 

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So I haven't written my PS yet... I have a fully complete CV but I'm going to be studying pretty hard for Step 2 CK this month so I definitely can't write my PS this month. Can I just ask for an LOR with only my CV attached?

Yes, CV should be sufficient in the vast majority of cases. Your letter writer should tell you if not.
 
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MerYangBey

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So I haven't written my PS yet... I have a fully complete CV but I'm going to be studying pretty hard for Step 2 CK this month so I definitely can't write my PS this month. Can I just ask for an LOR with only my CV attached?
Yeah CV should be fine for most unless they really don’t know you very well. For example if you have to get a chair letter and the chair has never worked with you. Then a ps might help.
 

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In addition to my CV, I wrote out some bullet points about my research year and long term goals so that my letter writers would remember me, since some hadn't seen me in a while.
 

DrRedstone

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Another thing, make sure when you ask you give them an out. I always ask if they'd be willing to write me a good letter of recommendation. Most people will deliver if they don't think they can write you something of quality.
 

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Another thing, make sure when you ask you give them an out. I always ask if they'd be willing to write me a good letter of recommendation. Most people will deliver if they don't think they can write you something of quality.
I'm always skeptical of this line. Honestly it sounds cringeworthy to me.
Any letter of recommendation is assumed to be good. You don't know what the letter writer's definition of good is.
Plus it just makes it uncomfortable for the writer since you're casting doubt on their capability.
 
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ciestar

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I'm always skeptical of this line. Honestly it sounds cringeworthy to me.
Any letter of recommendation is assumed to be good. You don't know what the letter writer's definition of good is.
Plus it just makes it uncomfortable for the writer since you're casting doubt on their capability.
I was told to ask if they can write a “strong” letter rather than a good one.
 
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Hi guys,

Sorry if this isnt the right place to put this.. but I have some people in mind to write my letters for the upcoming cycle. Was wondering whether there would be additional things I would need to provide to them- CV, Personal statement.. anything else?

It depends upon what you're targeting. Residency? An award? If the latter, I like knowing what a person's interests and plans are so I can craft something unique for them. A CV always helps me with this.

For residency in general, I rely upon what PDs and residents have told me on what they look for, and the predominant thing is teamwork and affability. So, a PS is always helpful in that regard.


I'm always skeptical of this line. Honestly it sounds cringeworthy to me.
Any letter of recommendation is assumed to be good. You don't know what the letter writer's definition of good is.
Plus it just makes it uncomfortable for the writer since you're casting doubt on their capability.

I have to disagree with this, Met, because I have had a few people ask me letter, and I told some honesty that I didn't know them well enough to write a good LOR. BUT, I've also had a handful of grad students where terrible students and lab workers, and I was only too happy to stick the knife in them. These were people I did NOT want touching other human beings and had no business being on a med school campus.

And sometimes, I agree to write a letter, but I am brutally honest, even if the LOR isn't a knife. It's a letter of evaluation, after all.
 

Doggeronie

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I was told to ask if they can write a “strong” letter rather than a good one.
Strong, good, positive, anything. I don't think it's the applicant's place to question the type of letter they will receive. It's their job to select people who they think will write them a strong letter, and then whatever letter is produced is up to the writer. Asking for a strong letter just sends the message that you're not sure if the letter they will write is going to be strong, IMO.
I have to disagree with this, Met, because I have had a few people ask me letter, and I told some honesty that I didn't know them well enough to write a good LOR. BUT, I've also had a handful of grad students where terrible students and lab workers, and I was only too happy to stick the knife in them. These were people I did NOT want touching other human beings and had no business being on a med school campus.

And sometimes, I agree to write a letter, but I am brutally honest, even if the LOR isn't a knife. It's a letter of evaluation, after all.
I agree with you a lot, but I personally have a problem with this. It's a letter of recommendation, not a letter of evaluation. If you cannot recommend someone, you shouldn't write the letter. It strikes me as disingenuous to use this position to tank people's careers, since they have no way to know what you actually wrote about them. If you don't think someone should be a doctor, you should outright tell them so and then refuse to write them a letter.
Either way, I don't think asking for a "strong" letter would have persuaded you to actually write a strong letter for these folks.

So again, I don't think asking explicitly for a strong letter is a good idea. I think applicants should just select people who they think will write a strong letter for them, and then hope for the best. That's really all we can do anyway.
 
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ciestar

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Strong, good, positive, anything. I don't think it's the applicant's place to question the type of letter they will receive. It's their job to select people who they think will write them a strong letter, and then whatever letter is produced is up to the writer. Asking for a strong letter just sends the message that you're not sure if the letter they will write is going to be strong, IMO.

I agree with you a lot, but I personally have a problem with this. It's a letter of recommendation, not a letter of evaluation. If you cannot recommend someone, you shouldn't write the letter. It strikes me as deceitful to use this position to tank people's careers, since they have no way to know what you actually wrote about them. If you don't think someone should be a doctor, you should outright tell them so and then refuse to write them a letter.
Either way, I don't think asking for a "strong" letter would have persuaded you to actually write a strong letter for these folks.

So again, I don't think asking explicitly for a strong letter is a good idea. I think applicants should just select people who they think will write a strong letter for them, and then hope for the best. That's really all we can do anyway.
Well, my one letter writer told me to ask if a strong letter can be written. It has nothing to do with questioning the letter writer. It has to do with making sure you don’t get a lukewarm letter because your letter writer is too polite to say they can’t write more than a generic letter for you.

Of course, when your letter writers offer to ask to write you one before you ask yourself, than I think you’re in a good place ;)
 
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Doggeronie

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Well, my one letter writer told me to ask if a strong letter can be written. It has nothing to do with questioning the letter writer. It has to do with making sure you don’t get a lukewarm letter because your letter writer is too polite to say they can’t write more than a generic letter for you.

Of course, when your letter writers offer to ask to write you one before you ask yourself, than I think you’re in a good place ;)
Idk, that's just how it comes across to me. If your letter writer is too polite to say they're going to write a generic letter, they're probably too polite to say no even if you ask for a strong letter.
To each their own, I'm just not a fan of this technique. It feels like the verbal equivalent of saying you don't waive your right to read the letter.

I'm sure it doesn't bother most people when you ask them like this, I just don't feel comfortable with it.
 
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Strong, good, positive, anything. I don't think it's the applicant's place to question the type of letter they will receive. It's their job to select people who they think will write them a strong letter, and then whatever letter is produced is up to the writer. Asking for a strong letter just sends the message that you're not sure if the letter they will write is going to be strong, IMO.

I agree with you a lot, but I personally have a problem with this. It's a letter of recommendation, not a letter of evaluation. If you cannot recommend someone, you shouldn't write the letter. It strikes me as disingenuous to use this position to tank people's careers, since they have no way to know what you actually wrote about them. If you don't think someone should be a doctor, you should outright tell them so and then refuse to write them a letter.
Either way, I don't think asking for a "strong" letter would have persuaded you to actually write a strong letter for these folks.

So again, I don't think asking explicitly for a strong letter is a good idea. I think applicants should just select people who they think will write a strong letter for them, and then hope for the best. That's really all we can do anyway.
LORs are supposed to be LOEs.
 

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Idk, that's just how it comes across to me. If your letter writer is too polite to say they're going to write a generic letter, they're probably too polite to say no even if you ask for a strong letter.
To each their own, I'm just not a fan of this technique. It feels like the verbal equivalent of saying you don't waive your right to read the letter.

I'm sure it doesn't bother most people when you ask them like this, I just don't feel comfortable with it.
If putting “strong” does what it’s intended to (avoid a lukewarm letter) for even 1 in every thousand letters, then it’s worth it. The downside is hardly there. Especially when a generic LOR can tank an app for all the reasons you mention above; I.e that letters are expected to reflect excessively positively on the student.
 
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softball2344

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I personally asked if they could write me a supportive letter rather than strong letter (that sounded too awkward to me) and gave them a way out (said if you don’t think we worked with each other long enough I understand, blah blah) - also emailed rather than in person to give them another easy out. I’m hoping after all this the fact that they agreed means it will at least be decent?
 
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