Does it really matter, if u waive ur right to see lor?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Ice dude, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Ice dude

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    Does it really matter to a program director, if a candidate waive his/her right to see the lor? Is it taken as a plus point?
     
  2. dragonfly99

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    I have always waived my right to see them. I think that in general, the letter is less powerful if the powers that be know that you have read it. In my mind, I always felt that it should be unnecessary for me to read it also - if not sure the person will write a positive LOR, then don't ask that person.
     
  3. kalyanova

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    I agree but HOW MUCH power does a waived vs. nonwaived LOR have?

    do the programs pay attention to that?

    that has been a concern of mine lately..
    anyone?
     
  4. Law2Doc

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    Unless you waive the right to see it, the program has to assume (1) that you don't trust your letter writer to say positive things otherwise, (2) that the writer is going to be less candid because he knows you are going to read the letter, and (3) that you may be reviewing and not submitting less flattering letters, and that the ones they see are only the ones you didn't screen. All bad things for them to have to assume. Better to ask people you trust to write strong letters, and waive the right to see them. If you don't trust folks you asked to write letters to say nice things, that says volumes about you. And a program ought not overlook that.

    In the business world, potential employers get around all this by simply calling up references and talking to them without the applicant involved. But in the residency game, the only way to ensure candor is by waiving. So do it.
     
  5. Abram Hoffer

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    Law2doc: From a purely legal standpoint, if you "waive" your "right" to "see" the "letter", this implies that you will never see the actual letter that the recommender wrote. If you happen to see, even a copy, you have not seen the letter. There are other words in that sentence that can be scrutinized for loopholes. Many US med schools have their Dean's offices "screen" their letters by saying which ones to send to ERAS based upon what was written about them. My international med school will not do this -- and this is based upon their ethical standpoint. Do the US students need this sort of an edge? Fine by me. When I am in a position to screen residency candidates, the US students will go second (after the IMGs).
     
  6. ESU_MD

    ESU_MD Old School
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    I personally think that the only thing that matters as far as LoR is the identity of the writer.

    If the person reading the letter doesnt know personally know (or know of) the writer it doesnt mean anything whether it was waived or not. If there is any questions, the person will call the writer.


    as far as how much weight to put on the waiver- it may be impossible for anyone to answer this, since the answer is different for each letter and each individuals background/circumstance.

    I would say that if the LoR writer is not known by the program you are applying to, it doesnt matter much if your rights were waived
     
  7. Law2Doc

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    That there may be loopholes doesn't mean that the overall system isn't expected to be applied. sort of like taxes.
     
  8. dragonfly99

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    Abramhoffer,
    not sure where you are getting your information.
    But I know that neither my medical school nor my residency did anything to "screen" the LOR's for me, nor to let me know what was in there. And yes, we were expected to waive our right to see those. Old Mil has a point in that a LOR from someone famous (or just someone known to the folks reading the letter) will have way more influence in many cases than a LOR from a doc they don't know.

    I still think it matters whether you waive your right to see the letters or not. If you don't, some folks will assume you have something to hide. I had folks on the fellowship interview trail specifically ask me/confirm with me that I had waived the right to see the LOR's, and subsequently told me they were "very good" but I have no idea what the letters said (specifically). I believe it is generally expected that one will waive the right to see the LOR's, and if you don't you are deviating from the expected practices. Are there actually any significant number of applicants who don't waive their right to see the LOR's? I've never known anybody who did that.
     
  9. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    i have a LOR that I guess is rather strong... i have gotten comments about it at multiple places and they always ask, "have you read this? ... it is really strong", etc. Then a couple even went on to read a few sentences. This makes me wonder how easily they can tell if one waives their rights... as I waived my rights to read all of my letters. So I understand why it theoretically matters if you waive your rights, but I am beginning to wonder if it is even a practical issue. I have heard that in other fields that it is customary for the LOR writer to show you the LOR before it is submitted.
     
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  10. Law2Doc

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    Actually in most other fields a LOR is unimportant, because the potential employer is really just going to ask for references, not letters, and is going to call up the reference and talk to him/her in person. Thus they will get the scoop in a way that the reference is most likely to be candid, and you are least likely to be privy to what is said.
     
  11. yaah

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    The standard is to waive your right to see them. There is no real reason to do otherwise. If you don't trust a person to write you a good letter, then don't ask them to do it.
     
  12. Ice dude

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    It's not about trust. I just wanted to have it back through the return of document service, in case I needed it.
     
  13. dragonfly99

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    Oh I see what you are getting at. However, I do think that it may hurt you if you don't waive your right to see the letter. I had one letter write who sent me a copy of the LOR he wrote for me, even though I'd waived my right to see it. I think he wanted me to have a copy just in case I needed it, which was nice. However, by waiving my right to see it I was telling him that he should feel free to be candid and I'm not going to be looking over his shoulder to see what he is writing. Maybe if you are worried about needing a copy of the letter later, you could ask that the LOR writer send an extra copy to your school's career office. My medical school was really good about this, offering to hold the LOR's and our ERAS application for 3 years I think.
     
  14. Ice dude

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    I was thinking about asking him for a copy, coz I might need it, if I have to scramble.
     
  15. Samoa

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    I've always waived. I subscribe to the "don't ask if you're worried about what it will say" school of thought. Occasionally people will cc them to me, though, and it always makes me feel better to know what they say.

    Some PDs will reject out of hand any applicants who don't waive their right to see the letters. In other fields, it's unusual NOT to have seen them.

    The whole waiver thing tends to go out the window if you have to scramble, but asking for a copy if you get the unmatch message that Monday is entirely legitimate.
     
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  16. dragonfly99

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    OP, doesn't your medical school assist students who have to scramble? If not, or if you are away from your school @ the time (i.e. you are an offshore student) that sucks. I think my school kept copies of our LOR's in the career office, and I'm pretty sure they helped the "scramblers" by helping them fax documents, etc. to various programs. Don't you have a couple days after you get notified that you don't match (I mean before the scramble starts?).
     
  17. Ice dude

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    dragon fly I am an off shore student. I don't know incase of a non-match, if I would have couple of days, but it is better to be prepared in advance, as my LOR writer is kinda busy person n its difficult to catch him.
     
  18. dragonfly99

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    Oh I see - well in your situation you may need to do what you need to do.
    You may get asked why you didn't waive your right to see the LOR's at some point during interviews...if so, you pretty much have a good reason. I think in general whether the reader knows the LOR writer vs. does not will probably be as important or more important than whether you waived the right to see the letter. Ideally, you would waive your right to see it, but if you need to keep copies and don't have another way to do so (besides seeing and keeping the letter yourself) I think it is OK. I have a friend who was an FMG who had to do this, and she still got residency.
     

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