• SDN Site Updates

    Hey everyone! The site will be down for approximately 2 hours on Thursday, August 5th for site updates.

  • How To ACE Your Medical School Interview

    In this webinar hosted by SDN with experts from BeMo Academic Consulting, you will learn a simple five-step process to help you translate your interview invitation into an acceptance.

madindalab

New Member
Sep 26, 2011
10
0
Status (Visible)
So, I am a current medical student who is making an internal application to the MSTP program at my school.

My current PI, who I have been doing research with since the start of my first year, told me he would be happy to write a LOR for me but to give him a rough draft.... What should I say about myself?!?!

and fyi, I have letters from 2 others PI's I worked with and also my MD preceptor.

tl;dr help me write my own LOR!
 

mtb103

New Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2011
8
0
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
This is a life lesson: refuse to write your own recommendation letters. It should be your mentor's job. You put in hours of blood sweat and tears, this is the return you deserve. If you do it once, your mentor will NEVER independently write you a rec letter again.

That being said, I would make a bulleted list of things to comment on such as
- your interest in becoming a physician scientist, and not just a physician or just a scientist
- your ability to think independently and approach problems in the lab
- your research knowledge and background, including the skills you possess in the lab
- your ability to organized with your coursework and your time management skills that would make you an ideal candidate for med school
 

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
14,113
5,454
the beach
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
This is a life lesson: refuse to write your own recommendation letters. It should be your mentor's job.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Yeah ok. Good luck with that.

Seriously, when I did it the first time, I looked up example recommendation letters on the Google. Now that I've done at least a dozen of them, it's second nature.
 
About the Ads

madindalab

New Member
Sep 26, 2011
10
0
Status (Visible)
This is a life lesson: refuse to write your own recommendation letters. It should be your mentor's job. You put in hours of blood sweat and tears, this is the return you deserve. If you do it once, your mentor will NEVER independently write you a rec letter again.

That being said, I would make a bulleted list of things to comment on such as
- your interest in becoming a physician scientist, and not just a physician or just a scientist
- your ability to think independently and approach problems in the lab
- your research knowledge and background, including the skills you possess in the lab
- your ability to organized with your coursework and your time management skills that would make you an ideal candidate for med school

I actually agree, I would rather have my PI write it because I have no idea what to emphasize about myself.

On the other hand, my PI isn't that great at writing in english.... maybe that's why my PI wants me to write it? Probably now, however, it's probably just a lack of want to write it, haha.

Thanks a lot for this list, I really appreciate it.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Yeah ok. Good luck with that.

Seriously, when I did it the first time, I looked up example recommendation letters on the Google. Now that I've done at least a dozen of them, it's second nature.

Any more suggestions of what I should emphasize? What about how I have been doing on exams? We are "unranked" p/f, but we get test scores back and class averages with standard deviations.... how do I play that up?
 

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
14,113
5,454
the beach
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Here's an example fired off the hip.

On official letterhead

Dear MSTP Selection Committee,

I am writing to offer my enthusiastic support for Madindalab for the Medical Scientist Training Program of the University of X. I have known Madindalab since he/she joined our group as a research assistant in Month of Year. Since that time he has worked part and full-time on a project entitled "The random interaction of protein X and protein Y: implications for a disease you've never heard of."

As a research assistant, Madindalab has made exceptional progress. He took the lead in interpreting the basic research behind this project, designing experiments pertaining to the hypothesis, and in interpretation of the data and future directions for the project. [insert personal anecdote here: dedication (once I found out he worked all night for a deadline without any prodding), charity (he dedicates his time selflessly to the training of new students), knowledge, ability, something]. His hard work has culminated in a poster presented at the International Conference of Disease You've Never Heard Of, and a manuscript in preparation (if true).

I have supervised many students over the years, and Madindalab has consistently impressed me in his medical and research knowledge, dedication, and ability. I have supervised many students in research over my career, and Madindalab is simply outstanding. He has told me that his goal is to become a physician and scientist. Based on my interactions with him, I believe that he would be exceptional in that role. Madindalab should become a member in the Medical Scientist Training Program so that he may develop his knowledge and skills to become an excellent physician and scientist.

Sincerely,
Not writing about myself
 

madindalab

New Member
Sep 26, 2011
10
0
Status (Visible)
Here's an example fired off the hip.

On official letterhead

Dear MSTP Selection Committee,

I am writing to offer my enthusiastic support for Madindalab for the Medical Scientist Training Program of the University of X. I have known Madindalab since he/she joined our group as a research assistant in Month of Year. Since that time he has worked part and full-time on a project entitled "The random interaction of protein X and protein Y: implications for a disease you've never heard of."

As a research assistant, Madindalab has made exceptional progress. He took the lead in interpreting the basic research behind this project, designing experiments pertaining to the hypothesis, and in interpretation of the data and future directions for the project. [insert personal anecdote here: dedication (once I found out he worked all night for a deadline without any prodding), charity (he dedicates his time selflessly to the training of new students), knowledge, ability, something]. His hard work has culminated in a poster presented at the International Conference of Disease You've Never Heard Of, and a manuscript in preparation (if true).

I have supervised many students over the years, and Madindalab has consistently impressed me in his medical and research knowledge, dedication, and ability. I have supervised many students in research over my career, and Madindalab is simply outstanding. He has told me that his goal is to become a physician and scientist. Based on my interactions with him, I believe that he would be exceptional in that role. Madindalab should become a member in the Medical Scientist Training Program so that he may develop his knowledge and skills to become an excellent physician and scientist.

Sincerely,
Not writing about myself

wow, this is awesome, thanks so much! I really appreciate it!
 

erikreinertsen

MD/PhD student
5+ Year Member
Aug 19, 2009
95
1
Atlanta, GA
erikreinertsen.com
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
Awesome template, Neuronix!

I had to draft LoRs for myself as well. I asked my two main LoR writers for help. They basically gave me a format identical to what Neuronix provided, and also suggested to emphasize these points: independence, curiosity, productivity, team player
 

pfaction

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2010
2,225
79
WV
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Both I and my PI aren't good at English so when I asked for a letter, he asked me to write my own, and then we both realized...****. So I wrote a rough draft and went to my Writing Center and had it proofread--planning to do the same for my Personal Statement.
 

ChemMed

Curiosity is Fun!
5+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2010
1,196
11
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Asking you to write a rough draft of an LOR is a fairly common thing. The PI may like you but not know you well enough to write a great LOR. This way you get to 'sell' yourself and it makes the PIs life a little easier.
 

mercaptovizadeh

ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2004
6,894
2,384
This is one of my pet peeves. I think it is totally wrong, but everyone seems to be doing it. It's the norm in Europe. I didn't have to write a single letter in college or from my master's work, but at my MD/PhD institution, at least half of the PIs demand this. I think it's a bit insulting, but whatever...
 

ChemMed

Curiosity is Fun!
5+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2010
1,196
11
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
This is one of my pet peeves. I think it is totally wrong, but everyone seems to be doing it. It's the norm in Europe. I didn't have to write a single letter in college or from my master's work, but at my MD/PhD institution, at least half of the PIs demand this. I think it's a bit insulting, but whatever...

Honestly it made me think about what are my real shining qualities are as well as my pitfalls. The more I have talked to people about this (writing ones own LOR draft) the more I realize people usually do not like to do it. They are uncomfortable with their own success...granted some are perfectly fine with over selling themselves as well. The caveat of having to give the draft to your PI is that they will usually know if your over selling or underselling yourself. You have to know yourself well in order to be honest about what you are capable of doing. This is a very important thing to understand about oneself in any career path. As uncomfortable as this made me the first time I has to write my own draft of an LOR in the end it really helped me more then anything to realize how honest I need to be with myself in order to be honest with those who would want to hire me.
 

notbobtrustme

Crux Terminatus
Removed
Jun 28, 2011
3,477
1,674
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
One thing you should note is that you should never put anything negative in your LOR. LORs are supposed to be gushing with praise. Any negativity is essentially the kiss of death, so don't try to buttress your achievements with a dig here and there at yourself.
 

ChemMed

Curiosity is Fun!
5+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2010
1,196
11
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
One thing you should note is that you should never put anything negative in your LOR. LORs are supposed to be gushing with praise. Any negativity is essentially the kiss of death, so don't try to buttress your achievements with a dig here and there at yourself.

Avoiding negativity is a good thing, but don't say you can do something that you can not. Know what you can do and then make it sound like it the best thing since sliced bread.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 9 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.