Baer

2+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2016
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Pre-Veterinary
I've tried searching on the website but can't find any topics that ask this particular question. To put the question simply, is there a minimum requirement for the level of education when it comes to your LOR writers?

I have the letter from a veterinarian (I work at his hospital) taken care of. For the other two I really haven't maintained a relationship with any professors or my advisor due to being a sort of nontraditional student. Before going back to school I was in the Army for 4 years (medic) so upon returning back to school my main focus was readjusting to civilian life while just taking classes. Up until recently I wasn't really in the position to be getting experience or building relationships with people.

With that said, I have people that would be willing to write good letters but I'm worried that they will be looked down upon for not being doctorate level educators. I have plenty of human medical professionals (nurses, nurse practitioners, etc..many people with Bachelors/Master degrees) that would be willing to write one because they know my level of knowledge, work ethic, etc.

So what's the common thought about this? I would rather just ask the schools but at this moment I can't get any decent answers from them even from simple questions so I rather poke around the "community" first.
 

thecatastrophist

Illinois c/o 2019
Oct 16, 2014
219
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Veterinary Student
The real answer will probably depend on the school. Keep in mind that some schools require that a letter come from a professor, so you'll want to check up with the website for each school you plan to apply.

That said, if you meet the requirements for what they ask on their website of recommenders, I don't see what's wrong with people who have a bachelor's/master's degree writing letters for you. My employer wrote me a letter, and she had a master's degree but was able to speak far better of my capabilities than as an applicant than most of the PhDs I know can.

You want to pick the people who can write you the strongest recommendation possible. A 'meh, okay' letter from a doctor is probably going to count for less than an excellent letter from somebody without that degree, provided you have all the types of recommenders that a school asks for.
 
OP
B

Baer

2+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2016
98
32
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Pre-Veterinary
The real answer will probably depend on the school. Keep in mind that some schools require that a letter come from a professor, so you'll want to check up with the website for each school you plan to apply.
I've looked into this. Every school that I'm applying to only has the requirement that at least 1 letter has to come from a vet, which I already have. Besides that they don't state anything specific beyond requiring 3 letters total.

I just didn't want it to come down to some situation of " Well this person doesn't have a PhD level education how can they say this applicant is suitable for our program.".
 

kcoughli

Lab Animal Resident
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Jan 8, 2013
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One of my letters came from someone who "only" had a BS. Never even thought twice about it. So long as you're meeting the requirements and not like, having your parents write you a letter or something, I think its fine to use letters from people with fewer letters after their name.
 

Shya

C/O 2022 Hopeful!
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Sep 15, 2016
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Gonna bring this thread back with a similar question. I'm planning on applying when the applications open up this year, and I have a DVM that will write me a letter, and I'm going to be asking my Japanese professor when I visit them this week, but I'm straining to think of a third person to write a letter for me. I have someone in mind, but they don't have a formal education, and they may or may not write it for me. My supervisor at the hospital I work at was hired as a veterinary assistant about 20 years ago and learned everything on the job. Did not go to school to be a technician. She's really great and knows her stuff. She just throws me in to situations and goes "Here, learn." Would it be appropriate to have her write me a letter?
 

kcoughli

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Gonna bring this thread back with a similar question. I'm planning on applying when the applications open up this year, and I have a DVM that will write me a letter, and I'm going to be asking my Japanese professor when I visit them this week, but I'm straining to think of a third person to write a letter for me. I have someone in mind, but they don't have a formal education, and they may or may not write it for me. My supervisor at the hospital I work at was hired as a veterinary assistant about 20 years ago and learned everything on the job. Did not go to school to be a technician. She's really great and knows her stuff. She just throws me in to situations and goes "Here, learn." Would it be appropriate to have her write me a letter?
I say yes. I had my lab supervisor write me a LOR and he just had a BS (and I doubt it was noted anywhere in the letter that he had a BS).

Edit: Just realized I literally posted almost this exact same thing right above your post. Time flies huh?
 

Shya

C/O 2022 Hopeful!
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I say yes. I had my lab supervisor write me a LOR and he just had a BS (and I doubt it was noted anywhere in the letter that he had a BS).

Edit: Just realized I literally posted almost this exact same thing right above your post. Time flies huh?
Time does in fact fly! Thank you for the feedback! I just wasn't sure since I don't believe she went to college at all.
 

LetItSnow

Skipping the light fandango
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Gonna bring this thread back with a similar question. I'm planning on applying when the applications open up this year, and I have a DVM that will write me a letter, and I'm going to be asking my Japanese professor when I visit them this week, but I'm straining to think of a third person to write a letter for me. I have someone in mind, but they don't have a formal education, and they may or may not write it for me. My supervisor at the hospital I work at was hired as a veterinary assistant about 20 years ago and learned everything on the job. Did not go to school to be a technician. She's really great and knows her stuff. She just throws me in to situations and goes "Here, learn." Would it be appropriate to have her write me a letter?
It w0uld.

The entire application should be internally consistent.

Think about two scenarios, with all other things being equal:

1) Applicant A wants to be a small animal vet, talks about it in the PS. Has 1 (required) vet reference, and then a couple academic references from PhDs who were former instructors.

2) Applicant B wants to be a small animal vet, talks about it in the PS. Has 1 (required) vet reference, another from a professor, but a third from a SA Practice Manager, who is "just" a CVT but who can talk about how applicant B has shown non-stop interest in learning how to run a practice, how to handle ordering/inventory, how to manage budgeting, HR issues, payroll, sensitive client issues, etc.

You really want to be applicant B, even though applicant A has 3 'doctorate'-level references and applicant B only has 2.
 

Shya

C/O 2022 Hopeful!
2+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2016
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It w0uld.

The entire application should be internally consistent.

Think about two scenarios, with all other things being equal:

1) Applicant A wants to be a small animal vet, talks about it in the PS. Has 1 (required) vet reference, and then a couple academic references from PhDs who were former instructors.

2) Applicant B wants to be a small animal vet, talks about it in the PS. Has 1 (required) vet reference, another from a professor, but a third from a SA Practice Manager, who is "just" a CVT but who can talk about how applicant B has shown non-stop interest in learning how to run a practice, how to handle ordering/inventory, how to manage budgeting, HR issues, payroll, sensitive client issues, etc.

You really want to be applicant B, even though applicant A has 3 'doctorate'-level references and applicant B only has 2.
The only difference with that though is that she isn't the practice manager. She's just a veterinary assistant who is our shift supervisor. She over-sees everyone on OUR shift, and she isn't certified. She started out not knowing anything 20 years ago, was hired by our practice, then worked to learn everything on the job to get to where she is now. She has the training and knowledge level of a CVT, but doesn't have the certificate. Is it still the same?
 

pinkpuppy9

Illinois c/o 2019
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Oct 20, 2013
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The only difference with that though is that she isn't the practice manager. She's just a veterinary assistant who is our shift supervisor. She over-sees everyone on OUR shift, and she isn't certified. She started out not knowing anything 20 years ago, was hired by our practice, then worked to learn everything on the job to get to where she is now. She has the training and knowledge level of a CVT, but doesn't have the certificate. Is it still the same?
Idk, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this. I think it's going to have to be a judgement call on your part. Generally, it's good to have 'the powers that be' write the letter if they know you and can write a good one. If you call her a veterinary assistant (I think there's a place for job title on VMCAS?), it might come across as strange, especially if she doesn't delve into her career history to explain herself (and she sort of shouldn't, the letter is about you). You could title her as your shift supervisor so it gives the impression that she's in a position of authority at least.

If anything, I'd recommend networking a bit more and expanding your experiences in the future so you're not scrambling to try and find a third person to write you a letter if you have to apply again.
 

Shya

C/O 2022 Hopeful!
2+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2016
27
8
KY
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Idk, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this. I think it's going to have to be a judgement call on your part. Generally, it's good to have 'the powers that be' write the letter if they know you and can write a good one. If you call her a veterinary assistant (I think there's a place for job title on VMCAS?), it might come across as strange, especially if she doesn't delve into her career history to explain herself (and she sort of shouldn't, the letter is about you). You could title her as your shift supervisor so it gives the impression that she's in a position of authority at least.

If anything, I'd recommend networking a bit more and expanding your experiences in the future so you're not scrambling to try and find a third person to write you a letter if you have to apply again.
I really appreciate the feedback on this! I ultimately decided not to ask her to write me one, and I hope I didn't give the false impression that I was scrambling to come up with someone to write a letter! I already have my veterinarian, my advisor, and waiting to hear back from my professor. I was just looking for a back up in case one of the above were not able to do it for some reason (I realize now how I wrote my original post would make it sound like I was struggling to find someone, my bad!)