that redhead

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I know there are other threads written on LORs, but I need your thoughts on my own situation, if you don't mind. I have two people (DVM at small animal practice, known 3 years+ and campus DVM where I'm working now, known 2yrs+) already set. I know I'll get an awesome letter from both of them. The third I'm stuck on. I have a handful of people to choose from, so to speak, but I don't know which would be the best:

Faculty advisor of Alpha Zeta, which I've been involved with since soph. year, am currently chancellor of. Figure he can speak to my strengths in leadership/community/organization.

Teacher I TAed for last year. Hoping she can speak to my interest in teaching, organization, team working skills.

PI of the lab I worked in, both as an animal caretaker and research assistant. Problem is, I didn't work with her very closely and it was about a year ago that the research ended. Basically, I'm worried about her being able to write me a strong letter.

Professor of farrier class I took this winter. Earned an A, very small class so I know he knows/likes me, can attest to work ethic (it was bitterly cold and we were outside for hours on end sawing away at PVC pipe, cadaver legs, etc).

Thanks for sticking with me up to this point. I know this is a really specific question, and I know different people will think different things, but I'm stuck on who to ask for this. I have weak grades so I'm really depending on the rest of my application to be amazing. Thanks so much for your input.
 

cowgirla

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Some schools require a letter from an "acedemic source."
I don't know if farrier school would really be what the AdComs are looking for. I think maybe the teacher you TAed for would be a good bet.
 

david594

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I would make your 3rd one an academic reference. And personally not the instructor of the farrier course.
 

lalzi22

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Some schools require a letter from an "acedemic source."
I don't know if farrier school would really be what the AdComs are looking for. I think maybe the teacher you TAed for would be a good bet.
Second this
 

Willowhand

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If there are no requirements designating who the third should be, I would pick whoever among the people you listed shares the best relationship with you and/or you think would write the best rec. One of my recommendors was a very well-spoken person who I have worked closely with for the last four years -someone who works in theatre! If the school says you can get a LOR from someone other than an animal/vet/academic contact, then I think you should take advantage of that and ask the person who you think knows you and is able to present you most accurately. Keep in mind that the objective here is for the schools to get an idea of who you are as a person, not just what you have done.
 

lei325

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I would double check the requirements for the LOR writers. A lot of schools I applied to required an academic advisor, a professor that you studied with (maybe the TA would be good) and then a vet or health professinal you worked with.
 

that redhead

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I would double check the requirements for the LOR writers. A lot of schools I applied to required an academic advisor, a professor that you studied with (maybe the TA would be good) and then a vet or health professinal you worked with.
Good point. It seems that of the ones I plan to apply to, most want you to have at least one veterinarian and the other two are up to you. Definitely worth checking again, though, thanks!
 

that redhead

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Some schools require a letter from an "acedemic source."
I don't know if farrier school would really be what the AdComs are looking for. I think maybe the teacher you TAed for would be a good bet.
Yeah, the farrier course is a tough one. It was a winter class at my university, although much more hands-on learning versus text-book/lecture (although we did have tests, etc). But I do agree with you in that I think the TA "mentor" is probably a better academic source.

Thanks for the input:)
 
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I would ask all of your mentors for a letter of recommendation, then ask the author of your favorite to submit it via VMCAS. It will be much easier to select an appropriate letter of rec after you have seen and read each one and decided how well it speaks to your strengths.
 

cowgirla

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I would ask all of your mentors for a letter of recommendation, then ask the author of your favorite to submit it via VMCAS. It will be much easier to select an appropriate letter of rec after you have seen and read each one and decided how well it speaks to your strengths.
Thats assuming the authors of the letters will let you read them.... a lot of people prefer that you check the little box that says "I waive my right to see this letter"
 
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I agree everyone above me. :rolleyes:

If the schools you're applying to do not specify where the third letter comes from, I would choose an academic relationship. Did you by any chance also take a course from the faculty member you TA'd for? (That could be a really good one...)

Personally, I would choose a letter from the person who not only knew me the best, but also the longest. (Since it sounds like you didn't work directly with your PI, I would eliminate that one. I would also eliminate the farrier one, because it sounds like a "brief" relationship.)

Other things to consider: one of my friends had a letter written by an employer. Her job was totally un-vet med related, but she had worked there steadily for several years. It ended up being one of the best letters she had written on her behalf.

Good luck!
 

Tco87

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I would ask all of your mentors for a letter of recommendation, then ask the author of your favorite to submit it via VMCAS. It will be much easier to select an appropriate letter of rec after you have seen and read each one and decided how well it speaks to your strengths.
This could be very insulting and damage your relationship with those individuals, so I would recommend NOT doing this.

I agree with what most other people said in regards to picking whoever knows you best.
Also, keep in mind you can submit more than 3 letters. If you narrow your list down to two or even three you could ask them all ;)
 

DVMDream

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This could be very insulting and damage your relationship with those individuals, so I would recommend NOT doing this.

I agree with what most other people said in regards to picking whoever knows you best.
Also, keep in mind you can submit more than 3 letters. If you narrow your list down to two or even three you could ask them all ;)
You have to be careful doing this though. While some schools do not mind if you have more than 3 LOR's other schools only want 3 and will only read 3. Some of the schools (CSU) will let you tell them which 3 to read but others will randomly pick 3. So if you have 6 letters and only 2 are from a vet and they randomly pick 3 of the 4 others you no longer have a veterinary reference even though you submitted 2. So look at what the schools want and if they will allow you to indicate which letters you want them to read.
 

Minnerbelle

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You have to be careful doing this though. While some schools do not mind if you have more than 3 LOR's other schools only want 3 and will only read 3. Some of the schools (CSU) will let you tell them which 3 to read but others will randomly pick 3. So if you have 6 letters and only 2 are from a vet and they randomly pick 3 of the 4 others you no longer have a veterinary reference even though you submitted 2. So look at what the schools want and if they will allow you to indicate which letters you want them to read.
Hmm... I think in those cases, they'll definitely read the vet letter (or 2 vet letters for Ohio) and pick the rest randomly so I wouldn't worry about it.

My personal opinion on the matter is to ask every person who you're certain will write you a strong letter, as long as each of those people can add a different perspective about you as a person. Definitely waive your right to see the letters though.
 
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This could be very insulting and damage your relationship with those individuals, so I would recommend NOT doing this.

I agree with what most other people said in regards to picking whoever knows you best.
Also, keep in mind you can submit more than 3 letters. If you narrow your list down to two or even three you could ask them all ;)

Sorry to start a debate, but based on my own experience I'll have to disagree with you on this. I asked all of my mentors (vets, professors, advisors) who I thought would be qualified to write me a LoR to write one for me. I have a ton of letters on hand, in paper, right now which I can use for anything, such as future jobs or vet school. None of my evaluators had any problem with writing me a letter when I asked them. When I apply to vet school this summer, I will be contacting 3-5 of my mentors to submit their already written letter through VMCAS, and I know that they have no problem with this either.

I think it is important to have a variety of letters which can speak about you from multiple different perspectives. And I think it can be difficult to put together an application which stresses certain specific traits about yourself when you limit yourself to letters from only 3 evaluators, especially if you haven't read them yet. So I really think it can help if you ask for a few LoRs. I know Tco87 said that asking for so many LoRs can be somehow damaging to your relationship with your evaluators, but I can assure you that it has not been this way in my case.

That Redhead, feel free to handle your situation however you want, but when you're having trouble deciding who to ask, well, this is what I would do in your situation. Of course, you know the state of your relationship with your mentors best anyways. :)
 

david594

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And for every letter you decide not to use that person still put time and effort into writing. Time of theirs you completely wasted if you choose not to use their letter.

Unless you told the LOR writers before hand that you were asking multiple people to write for you, and then choosing the best ones I think you were being quite unfair to them.
 

DVMDream

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Sorry to start a debate, but based on my own experience I'll have to disagree with you on this. I asked all of my mentors (vets, professors, advisors) who I thought would be qualified to write me a LoR to write one for me. I have a ton of letters on hand, in paper, right now which I can use for anything, such as future jobs or vet school. None of my evaluators had any problem with writing me a letter when I asked them. When I apply to vet school this summer, I will be contacting 3-5 of my mentors to submit their already written letter through VMCAS, and I know that they have no problem with this either.

I think it is important to have a variety of letters which can speak about you from multiple different perspectives. And I think it can be difficult to put together an application which stresses certain specific traits about yourself when you limit yourself to letters from only 3 evaluators, especially if you haven't read them yet. So I really think it can help if you ask for a few LoRs. I know Tco87 said that asking for so many LoRs can be somehow damaging to your relationship with your evaluators, but I can assure you that it has not been this way in my case.

That Redhead, feel free to handle your situation however you want, but when you're having trouble deciding who to ask, well, this is what I would do in your situation. Of course, you know the state of your relationship with your mentors best anyways. :)
Yes but some people feel uncomfortable sharing those letters that they have written which is why there is that box asking you to waive your right to see the letters. So it is very much a personal preferance of your recommenders as well as each individual person's relationship with that person. I know if someone asked me for a letter of recommendation and then wanted to see it I would begin to question if they trust in my opinion and in the relationship we have. I would never ask the two vets that I have worked with over the past 5 years to see their recommendation letters because I have enough faith and trust that they can write a strong recommendation for me.

Also, in one position I applied to we were specifically told that we are not allowed to see our letters of recommendation and that they have to be placed into sealed envelopes by the person who wrote the letter and they had to sign on over the envelope to be sure that we did not open up that letter at a later time.

Really, I would think it is kind of weird for someone to ask for a recommendation and then want to see the letter. But I guess it really is up to personal comfort and opinion.
 

Minnerbelle

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And for every letter you decide not to use that person still put time and effort into writing. Time of theirs you completely wasted if you choose not to use their letter.

Unless you told the LOR writers before hand that you were asking multiple people to write for you, and then choosing the best ones I think you were being quite unfair to them.
Yes definitely. If you're going to ask for a LOR you better use it. But I think it's completely fine to ask for more than 3, and only use 3 for the places that only allows for 3 (e.g. CSU + Ohio). I think I had a total of 8 or 9 LORs, and I used them all for the places that allowed for them (Cornell required it, and Tufts and Penn welcomed them, not sure about some of the others).
 

DVMDream

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Hmm... I think in those cases, they'll definitely read the vet letter (or 2 vet letters for Ohio) and pick the rest randomly so I wouldn't worry about it.

My personal opinion on the matter is to ask every person who you're certain will write you a strong letter, as long as each of those people can add a different perspective about you as a person. Definitely waive your right to see the letters though.
Good points. I was always lead to believe that if they get more than what they asked for it was a random process in which they just picked three. But, why would they want to do that when they know people apply to other schools that may require or let you have more than 3 LORs.

Yes I definitely waived me right to see the letters. I was even more convinced that was the right decision when I read that the ONLY way you can see those letters (if you did not waive your right) was after the application cycle has ended and ONLY if you were successful. Seems kind of pointless to read the letters if you got in. :rolleyes:
 

Minnerbelle

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I was even more convinced that was the right decision when I read that the ONLY way you can see those letters (if you did not waive your right) was after the application cycle has ended and ONLY if you were successful. Seems kind of pointless to read the letters if you got in. :rolleyes:
yeah... isn't that really weird???
 

Tco87

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Sorry to start a debate, but based on my own experience I'll have to disagree with you on this. I asked all of my mentors (vets, professors, advisors) who I thought would be qualified to write me a LoR to write one for me. I have a ton of letters on hand, in paper, right now which I can use for anything, such as future jobs or vet school. None of my evaluators had any problem with writing me a letter when I asked them. When I apply to vet school this summer, I will be contacting 3-5 of my mentors to submit their already written letter through VMCAS, and I know that they have no problem with this either.
I agree with what david594 said. If they knew exactly what you were going to do and agreed to it, they probably weren't offended. However, I could see several people that I know getting offended if I asked them to write me a letter so I could compare it to others. Especially if I ended up not using their letter.
It could be a difference in the people that we know though.
 

Tco87

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Yes I definitely waived me right to see the letters. I was even more convinced that was the right decision when I read that the ONLY way you can see those letters (if you did not waive your right) was after the application cycle has ended and ONLY if you were successful. Seems kind of pointless to read the letters if you got in. :rolleyes:
I don't know if every school does this, but U-Illinois told me what my score was for my letters of recommendation when I did a file review with them. Thus, even rejected or waitlisted applicants would know whether they had a not-so-good lor in there or not.
I don't know if they would tell if a specific letter was harmful (didn't come up with me since all of mine were stellar :D) but I would guess they don't.
 

Tco87

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As a final note and then I'll stop swamping this thread with posts (Sorry!)

None of the schools that I applied to had the "3 and only 3!" rule so I forgot that some of them do only look at 3 letters. If any schools that you're considering do that then I guess I would suggest following what most people advised and going with whoever you feel you have the best relationship with.
 

DVMDream

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I don't know if every school does this, but U-Illinois told me what my score was for my letters of recommendation when I did a file review with them. Thus, even rejected or waitlisted applicants would know whether they had a not-so-good lor in there or not.
I don't know if they would tell if a specific letter was harmful (didn't come up with me since all of mine were stellar :D) but I would guess they don't.
CSU will not tell you anything about your LOR's: good or bad. :oops: All she told me was: we got your LOR's! Thanks, I already knew that. :mad: