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How effective REALLY is a GOOD LOR ....?

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yzf600

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I just got word from a friend that her interviewers last cycle (one MD school and one DO school) pretty much overemphasized a LOR from a Doc. she shadowed.

So how effective really can a strong LOR be at swaying a schools impression of you?

Like in my case, I have below average stats, but could a good LOR push an adcom. to think twice about giving me a shot?
 

MissCutie

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yzf600 said:
I just got word from a friend that her interviewers last cycle (one MD school and one DO school) pretty much overemphasized a LOR from a Doc. she shadowed.

So how effective really can a strong LOR be at swaying a schools impression of you?

Like in my case, I have below average stats, but could a good LOR push an adcom. to think twice about giving me a shot?

My understanding is that if letters are exceptional, they can help offset scores. My source of information is a professor of mine who used to be on UM Med School's Admission Committee. Her husband still is. I dont know if it applies to everyone everywhere, but that's her insight.
 

washington101

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Outstanding question, I would be interested in hearing more responses.
 

BozoSparky

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yzf600 said:
I just got word from a friend that her interviewers last cycle (one MD school and one DO school) pretty much overemphasized a LOR from a Doc. she shadowed.

So how effective really can a strong LOR be at swaying a schools impression of you?

Like in my case, I have below average stats, but could a good LOR push an adcom. to think twice about giving me a shot?

A good letter is very powerful! I don't know how to quantify it for ya, though. So yes, do your best to get a great LOR!!! I imagine a good letter can be the deciding factor between otherwise identical applicants (premeds with identical stats seem to be a dime a dozen).
 

SpenserKuntz

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I've heard mixed reviews about shadowing physicians (both good and bad). Is it a good idea? What other EC activities might look better on applications?

As for LOR's, what do adcoms like better - professors, someone you volunteered for/with, a physician you shadowed? I know that many graduate schools take LOR's into account, big time, I just don't know much more than that.
 

braluk

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i had a very strong LOR when i applied to an accelerated masters. I was recruited before even my MCAT scores came. They can definitely go a long way
 

jillibean

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IMO, a super strong letter from a MD that has worked with you or a professor that sees a lot of pre-meds (i.e. O chem) could go a long way.... I am just guessing though.
 

Erina

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SpenserKuntz said:
I've heard mixed reviews about shadowing physicians (both good and bad). Is it a good idea? What other EC activities might look better on applications?

As for LOR's, what do adcoms like better - professors, someone you volunteered for/with, a physician you shadowed? I know that many graduate schools take LOR's into account, big time, I just don't know much more than that.
in my opinion, shadowing is a great addition to your application--so much so that it may look weird if you don't have any. med schools want to see that you know what you're getting into so shadowing shows that you've seen what doctors do. if you can do the same sort of thing through volunteering, that works too...but you definitely want to get some sort of experience like shadowing.
 

Law2Doc

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yzf600 said:
I just got word from a friend that her interviewers last cycle (one MD school and one DO school) pretty much overemphasized a LOR from a Doc. she shadowed.

So how effective really can a strong LOR be at swaying a schools impression of you?

Like in my case, I have below average stats, but could a good LOR push an adcom. to think twice about giving me a shot?

A letter itself per se can help you but probably not get you past "below average" stats. Almost everyone applying has good to great LORs, or they wouldn't have asked the writers to write one. Using pull from someone with strong connections by means of a LOR might make a difference though.
 

tifa

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jillibean said:
IMO, a super strong letter from a MD that has worked with you or a professor that sees a lot of pre-meds (i.e. O chem) could go a long way.... I am just guessing though.

it's also good to get a letter from a NON-premed class. Show's you’re well rounded and can do other things besides science successfully.
 

SirTony76

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I was told by an MCW admissions committee member that all letters he see's are "walk on water" so a great letter of rec is an equalizer, not a distinguisher

TP
 

yzf600

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So....I just got done chatting it up with my LOR friend.

One of the interviewers said, "This is ONE OF THE BEST letters that I have ever read"

I'm guessing these things have to be pretty damn good to get a spot in the "interview" folder :rolleyes:
 

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LORs matter a lot more than I thought they would. In my case (admittedly a somewhat special case), I'm almost positive they helped push me over the top. I had quite a few LORs in my file that I sent to most schools, but they were mentioned several times during my interviews. I think in my case it was the set of LORs that made a difference, not just one or two. Try to get as good and diverse ones as possible.
 

Dr. Pepper

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Law2Doc said:
A letter itself per se can help you but probably not get you past "below average" stats. Almost everyone applying has good to great LORs, or they wouldn't have asked the writers to write one. Using pull from someone with strong connections by means of a LOR might make a difference though.

For the most part, LORs are glowing, yet very trite and impersonal.

If you get a letter that says "this student is very hard working, he'll be a great doctor!" then they'll just look at it and it will effect you neutrally (this is only because most LORs say the same thing.)

Unfortunately, I think that since most LORs are glowing, a bad LOR can detrimentally affect you....fortunately, these LORs are rare, particularly if you choose your recommendors wisely.

Finally (which seems to be the situation in your case), if you can find a recommendor who genuinely knows you and writes a unique or distinguishable letter about you, then it might be enough to push you over the edge...but let me emphasize one thing: it will usually do only a little bit of good granted your recommendor isn't Hemingway.

Bottom Line: LORs kind of suck. For the most part, they have no effect since everyone has glowing LORs (yet they sure are a pain to get). Furthermore, a good LOR can only help you a nudge and a bad LOR could kill your chances.
-Dr. P.
 
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