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how many letters?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 777, Jul 23, 2001.

  1. 777

    777 Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2000
    I was going to send 3 letters to a particular school that requires only 2, but I had heard that sending 5 letters will be better. Although I will have 5 letters available, I planned on only sending 3 because one may not be a very strong letter, and the another one may sound too religious considering its from a pastor. The letter from the pastor has not been completed either, and I know having a complete file early is important in this application process. What do you guys suggest I do? How many letters should I send? I'm leaning towards 3...
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  3. booie00

    booie00 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2001

    Why aren't you using your pre-health counselor's recommendation? What I heard is that most med schools prefer a composite letter from a counselor rather than have several letters sent to them. Of course maybe your school does not have a pre-health advisor or maybe you have been out of school for a while and have no contacts with one... Just curious.
  4. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    I know you didn't ask, but many schools explicitly say that they don't want letters from family, friends, or clergy. I don't know your situation, or the attitude at the schools you are applying to, but I'm not sending in any of the above type letters.
  5. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2001
    If you didn't actually work with your pastor, then don't send that letter. The only school that I know of that takes letters from clergy and seriously looks at them as a "personal reference" is Loma Linda. It might even look bad, because schools can interpret that as a sign that you weren't able to get people that you worked with to write letters for you. However, if you did actually work with the pastor (ie: you worked closely with him/her as a youth group leader, or along that lines), then a letter from your pastor would be perfectly fine.

    Also, make sure that the school WILL accept more than 2 letters. Some schools are very strict about this, and will throw out any extra letters they receive. Otherwise I think 3 letters are fine, as long as they are strong letters. It's better to only send 3 strong letters rather than 3 strong and 2 weak letters, because the messages of the 3 you like would get "diluted" if you send 5.

    Remember that you can also send in extra letters after you have already send in your original application. I would recommend sending in the 3 now with your secondary, then if there are any others you decide to send later, you can send them in when you want.
  6. Barton

    Barton Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm not sending the same letters to every place. Some (like Pritzker) only want a pre-med advisor letter (if you have it). That sucked for me, cuz I have other letters that might carry some pretty good weight. Other schools ask for particular letters (e.g. 2 from profs-1 science), but will accept others in addition (MCW does this). My school accomodates this by keeping all my letters in a file. Whenever I want them sent, I just pick out the ones to send, write a check for $7.00, and boom- they're out.

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