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Committee Letter vs. Normal Letter of Rec

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Azianmunk, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Azianmunk

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    What is the difference between a committee letter and a normal letter from your professor and/or mentor? Assuming that I know how they are different physically but which carries more weight. How is it viewed in the eyes of the admission group.
     
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  3. Dr.Inviz

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    committee letters, from my experience, carry more weight. Make sure you don't piss off your premed advisor somehow ... :laugh:
     
  4. Steve203

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    yeah but what about schools that don't have pre-med committees?
     
  5. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member
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    For schools that don't have committees, just send the professor letters. If your school has a committee, a committee letter can actually take the place of any professor letters med schools may require. Since med schools allow one committee letter to be substituted for 3 normal LOR's, I can only assume that they place a lot of weight on the committee letter.
     
  6. Azianmunk

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    Many of my friends have come back to me during their interviews telling about how the interviewer kept asking them if their LORs were committee letters. They assume somehow they it held some weight so they told me to go seek more information about them.

    So i ended up setting up a future interview with my biochem department.

    I know the letter can count for as many as 3 LORs from other schools.

    The next question is: what is in these letters, how do these interviews go about, and why do they carry more weight? Wouldn't a person you talked to during every office hour or done research under for the pass year know you better as a person? How does a hour long interview (if that) count for anything? Has anyone else been through this process before? The "committee letter" for is new here my school (at least for my department.)
     
  7. Crazy4F1

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    my committee letter actually covered all 7 letters that i had submitted to them. from what i've heard, if your school has a premed committee and you dont get a letter from them, it looks really bad.
     
  8. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member
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    My school calls the committee letter a "letter of evaluation." Obviously, it's written with a positive tone but it's written after looking at each facet of your application (MCAT score, transcript, personal statement, EC's, and whatever is gleaned from your interview). Your professor will be able to evaluate you only from the standpoint of his/her class but probably won't be able to make as comprehensive an evaluation as your committee will.

    The point is that if your school has a committee, you should get the letter. If your school does not, it won't put you at a disadvantage.
     
  9. foofish

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    That's definitely the way it was with my school....we had to qualify for the committee letters by meeting gpa, volunteer hour, and other requirements. And apparently the letter not only blends our individual LORs and the background info we provided, but it also compares you to the other premeds of your year (including some mysterious ranking). So if you don't have that letter, it's definitely suspect because either you didn't qualify for it or had some (presumably sketchy) reason to dodge getting it.
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    ^This is true. A committee letter is from a premed advisory committee. If your school has a committee process & you don't use it, it does look bad.

    The committee letter is not from a committee of people in your department (Azianmunk seems to infer this in an earlier post on this thread). The committee (or the pre-med advisor) generally has access to your AMCAS essay and/or a biographical statement, your grades and other material in your academic file, all letters of recommendation submitted to the office for inclusion along with the committee letter, and the notes take during conversations with the applicant. The letter has a format that is unique to each school but it may include information about your class rank, institutional actions (probation, academic infractions -- usually to say that the record is clean), your high school class rank and SAT scores (rarely included but I've seen it done), your family background, your academic performance, extracurricular activities and interest and brief quotes from the letters of recommendation that you've solicited from faculty. Some will actually tell a story about your journey to medicine if it is something unusual or noteworthy (the post-bach schools are good at this). Some other schools just send a form letter describing the school and the grading policies at the school and giving a break-down of the grading curve at the school and quantifying the student's class rank and gpa. Some also classify students as Most Highly Recommended, Highly recommended, recommended, recommended with reservations, offered for your consideration. Some schools won't tell you that they have a grade higher than "highly recommend" and you only figure it out after you see someone with the "most highly" recommendation. Other schools tell you how many applicants in the previous year's class were in each group and what proportion of each group matriculated at a med school. The admissions offices of the medical schools get to know pre-med adivosrs over the years by style and reputation and many are known and referred to on a first name basis (Kay at Duke, for example). Anyway, as you can see, a committee letter can be very valuable to an adcom and when it is expected, its absence is glaring.
     
  11. postbacker

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    So, how is this handled in a formal post bac? Is the post bac applicant lumped in with the other undergrads at the post bac insitution? Or do post bacs have their own version of a committee letter, dealing with just the post bac students?
     
  12. foofish

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    My program had a separate letter for postbacs, but then again it's a big program (100+ per cycle). Your program's office should have details on how they run it.
     
  13. KnuxNole

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    This may seem like a dumb question, but do you have to know the committee and/or pre-med advisor really well in order to get a letter? I am afraid that if I go to request a committee letter, they might be hesitant due to the fact that they do not know me very well.
     
  14. drizzt3117

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    My postbac program has its own committee, but I believe our institution has a separate committee for undergrads as well.
     
  15. Bacchus

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    There all different types of committees. For example there are committees where you interview infront of the panel and advisor and a letter is formed from that experience. There is another type at my university in which you pick six previous professors (or M.S.'s ;)) and have them right a letter of recommendation for you. Those LORs, which you waive rights to, are sent to the pre-med advisor and she writes a composite letter for each applicant. Fortunately, I go to a small school (3000) where the professors know you and so does the advisor. Am I happy about my process? Definitely. From there, the composite is sent to all schools designated through the advisor. I would recommend sending a few additional letters besides a committee letter if you can. This will allow you to send your PI's LOR and also a doctor you have shadowed, or an employer, or another advisor.
     
  16. shepdogg2

    shepdogg2 Junior Member
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    I graduated from a school that has a pre-med committee in 2005, and it would be impossible for me to get it now. I have letters from profs though. If i explain how i have been out of school for over 2 years, won't i be ok?

    I really hope it "looks really bad," i'd hate to get screwed on this...

    Anyone know if it will be alright? :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  17. Bacchus

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    When in doubt, call the schools. Your reason sounds legitimate. Maybe LizzyM can chime in? ;)
     
  18. burningsky

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    I didn't know my pre-med advisor very well at all. Basically, im pretty sure he just summarizes the points made on the letters that I had professors write and submit to the committee.

    Also, I think a committee letter ranks you in comparison to other students at your school.
     
  19. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    I submitted 4 letters in lieu of a committee letter as I've also been out of school for several years. I've got 3 interviews lined up, so I guess I'm not at that much of a disadvantage. At VCU, I asked for a waiver and it was no problem.

    When there was space on apps to explain, I did.

    I'm also not using any undergrad letters only graduate since they all knew me better.
     
  20. My school does not have a committee so I'm kinda lost. I'm thinking of asking a couple of science professor who I have had for 2 classes each but they don't know me well AT ALL! In fact, none of my science professors have ever really known me because I never found the need to go for extra help. I'm not really sure what to do. One professor I know of lets the kids write their own letter but that might prove to be more confusing. Should I just say to hell with it and ask the 2 profs that barely know me? isn't that what most people do anyways?
     
  21. Music Doctor

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    "My school calls the committee letter a "letter of evaluation." Obviously, it's written with a positive tone but it's written after looking at each facet of your application (MCAT score, transcript, personal statement, EC's, and whatever is gleaned from your interview). Your professor will be able to evaluate you only from the standpoint of his/her class but probably won't be able to make as comprehensive an evaluation as your committee will.

    The point is that if your school has a committee, you should get the letter. If your school does not, it won't put you at a disadvantage." -Big Red Premed

    So if you attended summer school at another institution but you only got a degree from your "home" institution, and that home institution does not have a committee, you wouldn't need to submit a committee letter? I've only just now heard about this and I was just about to submit my app, so I'm sort of nervous...
     
  22. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Here is a helpful thread:Committee Letters: Advantages and Disadvantages
     

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