apim99

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Hi all,

I'm just wondering how many letters of reference I could send to dental schools. It seems that most schools require two from science faculty members plus one from non-science faculty (with a composite letter from a pre-dental advisor, I guess.) Could I send more than what they ask for or would they get annoyed?

So far, I've asked two science faculty members (microbio and physiology), a dentist I've observed, and my supervisor at work. Would this be enough?

I'm thinking about asking my English instructor (she's not a professor but she's a ph.d candidate, will this be ok?) and one more from a science faculty (biochem). Or should I stop asking people for letter of reference?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if someone else already posted the same question then I'll just look at it. BTW, I'm new here and this site rocks!! :)
 

DATslim

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in response to your questions; iv researched (from this site as well as my own sources), that 3 letter of recommendation are sufficient. Come time when i apply, i will be sending 2 from science profs., 1 from dentist i work for, and 1 from research instructor. The 3 that you have are fine. i would hold back on getting one from your english prof. Good luck!
 
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apim99

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Thanks for your advice, DATslim. So you think I don't really need LOR from engl instructor? Is there any specific reason why? b/c i thought one from non-science would be helpful unless it hurts. Well, I guess I'll hold down three or four references. Is there a maximum number of LOR (e.g. 5 LORs) that you definitely don't want to go beyond so that adcom doesn't get annoyed? BTW, how much do LORs really count for acceptance?
 

Sweeti8286

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3 is enough- more than that will just annoy the admission committee. (words from the admission committee of U. Mich) If you send more than 3, times that by say..200 people, that's 200 more letters they have to read.

Make sure the people you've asked will give you a good, and have nothing but positive things to say about you in their letters. It is okay to have all three science professors. Also-the dentist you've shadowed--was it a one-time deal? If so, then it may not be a good idea to do that since he/she barely knows you.

I wouldn't recommend asking your English instructor to write you a LoR. They like to see someone with a PhD degree, and someone who's had years of teaching experience. Otherwise, it wouldn't make a difference if a teaching assistant write a letter of recommendation for you.

To your question:BTW, how much do LORs really count for acceptance?
They do play a role in your admission status. Even if you have an outstanding GPA, stellar DAT scores, and a killer personal essay, one bad letter of recommendation can blow your chance away of being admitted. They look at EVERYTHING you give them....essays, transcripts, LoR's, etc.
 
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apim99

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Thanks a lot for your thorough response, Sweeti8286!! I really appreciate it. Regarding the dentist I've asked, I've observed and assisted him (whenever needed) for almost 80 hours so far. He promised me to write a good one and I trust him, Ha! I've also asked two science faculty members, which make up three letters in total and you said this is enough.

Now, I'm just wondering because I've also asked my supervisor at work (I've worked part time at circ. desk @ my school library.) Since the job requires dealing with patrons, I thought she could mention about my interpersonal skills, etc. However, this adds up to 4 in total instead of 3. So, am I supposed to exclude her letter? (It might sound stupid but I would really appreciate if you could advise me on this one.)

Another quick question:
If a pre-dental advisor writes a composite letter once he receives letters from three references (supposedly), will the one he writes be considered as an extra plus letter, which makes up four, not three? If so, does it mean I need only two reference letters and one from a pre-dental advisor? or would three references plus one from pre-dental advisor be fine? I'll look forward to hearing answers from gracious people (including Sweeti8286 and DATslim) in this forum.

Thanks in advance.
 

Pikeyman

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Man, I didn't know having a Pre-Health Committe to write you a composite could be this sweet.

I feel for you poor bastards that have to do the LOR thing on your own.
 

eran76

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From my experience during this last cycle:

- Send LORs directly to the schools (AADSAS too slow, doesn't send stuff together).
- Read and reread the exact letter requirements b/c at least two of my schools had some wacky requirements for the letters.
- provide the writers with all the materials they'll need including: stamped envelopes, a brief outline (of who you are, what you've done and where you're going).
- get extra copies with their signature across the seal in case you need to quickly resend some letters.
- Writers: 2 science profs, 1-2 non-science, 1 dentist (preferably one that you've worked with), 1 character reference (non-academic/family).
- Don't send all the letters pick and choose for the school.
- Remind writers about using official letterheads when available (more official looking).

Like a boy scout, its a shi*-load easier being prepared for every possiblity before hand than trying to run around last minute looking for some prof. from 4 years ago.

2 cents
 
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I like the advice above.

This is who i got.
1 Letter from my pre-health advisor, i got to know him well over 4 years, so it was a good letter
1 Letter from the Dean of the chemistry dept, he taught a couple classes i had
1 letter from a non science professor, my french teacher wrote a letter saying how i was very good in assimilation and utilization of french
1 letter from a dentist who i worked for over a 3 year period who was an alum at my first pick
1 letter from Adrian Rogers, the pastor of my church as a character statement

that's 5 and if they merely skim through them it won't be a problem, and it's a good mix.

When I gave the people the request forms, i included my resume outlining any work experience I had along with any achievements along the way to give them an idea of what I was doing. I also put a little note with somewhat of a suggestion of what was expected by the admissions comittee and asked them to write openly and honestly about their opinion of me.
 

Sweeti8286

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Your interpersonal skills will come in play when you go in for the interview. They will be observing you (that's part of the interview)- so be friendly and be a little bit "chatty" to the other candidates. ;) A letter stating that you were very friendly to work with and gets along with everyone else won't really help the admission committee. They can see for themselves at the interview. Besides, they already expected that you will be a friendly person with good interpersonal skills. However, if your supervisor plans to put in something a bit extra besides the usual expected things about you, then I'd say keep it for later uses if needed. Then it will be your call to send in 3 letters--again, 3 is enough. More will just annoy the admission committee. I really think that if you have a good solid letters from 2 science prof and the dentist, you're all set. I'd worry more about the personal essay.

I think a composite letter from a pre-dental advisor is unnecessary. All they're really doing is summarizing what the other three people wrote (from what you wrote)....the admission committee people can read the other three letters and don't need a summary.

eran76 brought up a good point...when you ask the writers to compose your letters, include a resume (education, volunteer experiences, extra cirr. activities, clubs, etc., internships....) addresses of schools and the AADSAS the letters should be sent off to, or a pre-stamped manilla envelope. Ask the letters on official letterheads to be sent off to the school directly as well as AADSAS. (it won't hurt to have them sent to both places to avoid lost by the money-hungry idiots who works at AADSAS....they're slow and sometimes undependable) Last thing you need is more stress on you learning that AADSAS lost your letters of recommendation.
 
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apim99

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Wow! Thank you so much for your valuable advice, eran76, CJWolf, and Sweeti8286! (Special thanks to you again, Sweeti8286!) You guys are awesome and the info from your own experience tell a lot and help me greatly. (so, AADSAS service doesn't do a good job of sending letters, huh. what a great scoop! thanks!)

Anyway, congrats those who will start this Fall (or Summer?) and especially helping me answering with so much great info. You could care less and simply ignore my question so I really appreciate your time and efforts. I can't imagine how excited (and anxious?) you all are and wish you the best. I hope to join you guys next year.