Can I apply with only 1 LOR from science prof? How important is 2 recs?

fastfingers

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How important is it to have 2 letter of recs from 2 science professors? Right now, I can only think of 1 science professor that I can comfortably get a letter of rec from. I think if I was to push it to 2 science professor, the 2nd rec won't be great and would probably just list my EC and say what grade I got.

I heard it's important to have 4-6 recs and it's recommended to have 2 recs from a science professor. What schools actually require 2 LOR from a science professor?

I'm debating on two things.

Assuming I'm only sending in 6 LOR:
1. Send in 2 letter of recs from science prof, but my 2nd rec wouldn't be good.

2. Send in 1 letter of rec from science prof and instead of a 2nd rec from science prof, I'll send it in from a non-science prof or from research, volunteer ect.

I feel like (and i'm sure most people may have been in a similar situation), that when you do well in a class with exceptional test scores, that you really have no reason to ask a professor a question or talk to the professor. I think only when I'm struggling in a class would I ask questions (which in turns end up with a grade like b+ or lower) and I wouldn't feel comfortable asking for a rec when I did poorly in the class. I mean, with most of my academic curiosity questions, I could just go search online or on journals and read and I always feel like if I ask curiosity questions, I'm just wasting office hours for students that are actually struggling in class and need help for sure.

So what do you guys think? Should I go with scenario 1 or scenario 2?
 

VOP

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Your pre-med committee may require it...because MOST SCHOOLS require it.

Requirement =/= optional
 

fastfingers

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also, are recs from an advisor considered weak? I have 4 recs where I can choose 3 and they're from an advisor, doctor i shadowed, volunteer and research PI. I feel like using the first 3, but it might be bad if I don't get a letter from research especially when I've spent so much time on it.
 

shiftingmirage

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I would suggest trying to take another class with the prof that you are hesitant on or finding a prof that you are currently taking and make nice now.
 

PedsDoc14

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While a lot of schools do have "requirements" as to the composition of your letters of rec (2 science, 1 non-science or must have committee letter if offered, or whatever..) at least for the schools I applied to it didn't make a difference. Maybe some other schools do make that a hard requirement. I had once science prof. letter, one from a professor in a music class, and then several from organizations I was in and my current boss, no committee letter. To me it was more important to have my letters written by people who really knew me, and could write a strong and enthusiastic letter as to my qualifications. A letter from a science professor who only tangentially knows you is going to suck and its going to show. It won't, or at least shouldn't, say bad things, but few LORs do, one of the main thing readers will look at though is the enthusiasm for you as a candidate contained in that letter. Now that doesn't mean the identity of your writers isn't important, so I wouldn't recommend having none from science profs. or other MDs, or having your cousin write a really flattering and enthusiastic letter, but this is applying to be a doctor, and you should be capable of making a judgment call and not just blindly and unquestionably following recipe. Also, if you are concerned about someone looking at the letter in concern and thinking, "what does this person know about being a doctor?" You can always ask them to write it in a way that speaks to your character or academic drive, and also from a potential patient perspective (i.e. this person is going to access health care and have a pretty good idea about the qualities they would like to see in a doctor).
 
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I used a calculus prof as one of my science letters, and while that didn't fly at every school I applied to and I didn't complete as many secondaries as I could have as a result, it was okay with my pre-health advisor and with the schools who accepted me.
 

Dr Pennypacker

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If you need another letter of recommendation, I can help you out. I have been a longtime reader of this board and I have always respected you as a poster. I do have some "pull" at a few high profile schools.
 

Suenya

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Do you have a premed committee writing a letter for you too? Most schools officially (or unofficially) don't care about the composition having 2 science profs at that point if you do.

I found that alot of the requirements aren't as hard and fast as they pretend to be, but if you don't have a committee letter, I would try to get a second science letter, because it's easier if you don't need to worry about applying to schools without meeting their requirements.
 

fastfingers

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I do actually have a committee letter, but the letter highly recommends me to submit 2 science recs.

also, since i can only pick 3 out of 4 letters I have, which should I pick from: advisor, volunteer coordinator, shadowed doc, PI. I feel like the first 3 I can really have a grasp that they should be good letters, but I feel like I should at least submit a letter from research since I have a lot of time commitment. Also, is an advisor lor considered weak since I only see them for advise only?
 
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I do actually have a committee letter, but the letter highly recommends me to submit 2 science recs.

also, since i can only pick 3 out of 4 letters I have, which should I pick from: advisor, volunteer coordinator, shadowed doc, PI. I feel like the first 3 I can really have a grasp that they should be good letters, but I feel like I should at least submit a letter from research since I have a lot of time commitment. Also, is an advisor lor considered weak since I only see them for advise only?
pick the people that know you the best and that you think will write you stronger letters. we don't know you, or the people writing these letters, so just go with your instinct. i will say that you should be more concerned with the content/quality of the letter as opposed to the title of the letter writer
 

fastfingers

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well I only bring this up cause I looked at harvard med LOR requirement and they say I need to submit all my recs from research. Not that I'm applying there, but the fact that they may say such a thing makes me worried.


Another thing, has people asked their TA for a rec and have the professor cosign it? It seems impossible to interact with Professors unless I'm a straight up gunner. Whenever I ask a prof for a question relevant to lecture, they almost 99% of the time defer me to a TA first. Since most of my TAs have been able to answer my questions, that means only like 5% of my questions actually go to the prof. How am I suppose to get to know the prof if they want us to ask TAs? The only time I see students talk to prof is about random as heck information that is like current news.