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I asked some professors, and they worte me bad LOR

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Monkeymaniac, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. Monkeymaniac

    Monkeymaniac Member
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    Hi,

    I have a question about LOR. I asked my physics professor for LOR
    at my college, and this professor willingly wrote me one. It was
    for private scholarship, and I had to include the letter in my
    application, so I had a chance to look at the LOR. He wrote all these
    nice things, but on one spot, he wrote that I was quite during the class,
    which if I sent the letter to med school, won't be a good thing, since
    they more value outgoing, socially-genius, frat-living, leaders of this world,
    right? And another professor wrote me a LOR, and
    she complemented that I was hard-working, and smart
    during the course, but at one point, he wrote that my
    written-communication skill is poor, but she knows that it will be improved,
    because he knows that I'm a hardworking, and brilliant student.

    I mean why did they have to include these negative aspects of me
    in the LORs? If they were really worried about me, cared about me,
    and want me to have those things improved, couldn't they just
    have told me to do so? Have you guys had similar experiences?
    And what I am trying to do from next time is to ask professors,
    "I know that I'm not a perfect person, and if you have any things
    that you want me to work on, and improve upon, please let me know,
    I will sincerely take the advice. But I would appreciate if you could
    exclude them on my LOR." Is it rude? How would you deal with such
    situations? Thanks!
     
  2. AtreyuRocks

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    i haven't seen my LOR's but i do know that if professors are able to write about you genuinely for the "good and the bad" then the letter can have more credibility, especially since pretty much every LOR says "this person is great blah blah blah". don't worry about it... maybe you could be a little more selective with the professors whom you choose to write your LOR's... but unless the LOR is completely horrible (no good points mentioned at all), i wouldn't worry about it.

    EDIT: also IMO, they are not being mean or rude but merely giving their opinion of you. your prof's or whom ever you ask for an LOR are writing you a letter that comes from their own name. they are not there to make you a better person but pass on their opinion of you to the next person. my PI got really pissed off when we received good LOR's for a grad student who turned out not to be anything the LOR's said... thus we had to get rid of him and it was disappointing that the "professional" individuals who wrote the LOR's did not seem to accurately represent the individual in their LORs
     
  3. AtreyuRocks

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    oops double posted
     
  4. Wanna_B_Scutty

    2+ Year Member

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    I agree with AtreyuRocks. It is traditional to list the applicant's many good points and then to list one minor bad point in order to show that the letter writer is giving an honest assessment. After all, everyone has flaws!

    Don't worry about it one bit. The mention of one minor flaw does not a bad LOR make.
     
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  5. Jack Swift

    Jack Swift In the program
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    Yea, I don’t think it is a huge deal. For one, I think the point of having confidential letters is that the writer can be completely honest in their letter and hence be more creditable. I think adcoms will genuinely be more interested in a letter from a professor who knows your strengths and can give highly specific and constructive faults. In this way each letter is an actual representation of the student (good and bad) and not just a flowery letter that you could fill with any name and not miss a beat.
     
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  6. jsnuka

    jsnuka Senior Member
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    When you ask for a letter of recommendation you should KNOW pretty much what that person will write about you AND you should have other people write letters to balance out the profile that each letter presents of YOU.

    Be proactive. If you ask someone for a LOR, then provide them with a narrative about yourself and a resume or CV that tells the mmore about you than they would know otherwise from just seeing you in class.

    Ideally, the person (s) you ask for LORs are people who know you fairly well and can speak evenly about you and can write a positive letter no matter what your personal situation may be.
     
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  7. AtreyuRocks

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    yup, very helpful especially for those busy prof's :thumbup:
     
  8. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member
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    The exact same thing happened to me. Scholarship letter with the format:

    This is how I know AnEyeLikeMars.
    This is why he's great.
    His weakness is X but it will be improved by Y
    Thanks,


    That seems to be the standard format for letters like this. We all have certain weaknesses, and as other posters said, a letter that includes these is more honest, genuine, and reliable.
     
  9. Thrall

    Thrall Centurion
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    I think your recommenders did the right thing. Based entirely on your original post, I would say that your written communication skills need some polishing, too. However, I do keep in mind that this is SDN, and should not reflect your writing skills with respect to your personal statement (or one could only hope).

    Look at it this way - it's better that your professor wrote that you need to improve your written communication as opposed to something sinister like, "threatens other students with dull pencils." :)
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    Monkeymaniac

    Monkeymaniac Member
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    Thank you guys for your opinions! :)
     
  11. instigata

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    What other people have posted is true (about writing the good and bad for credibility), but if you submit both of these LOR's to medical school, adcoms may get the idea that you don't have good communication skills since it's a running theme in both. Just something to look out for.
     
  12. mdm2fly

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    Did your profs know that you were going to read their LOR's? I know that most profs want to keep them confidential.
     
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  13. eikenhein

    eikenhein Supreme Commander Anesthesiologist
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    it shows depth
     
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  14. OncoCaP

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    I would not tell a professor how to write an LOR or make any suggestions about it (and if they asked me for advice, I would regret my decision to use them for a reference). It's quite possible that the professor would be offended by your request (and rightly so, in my opinion). The only thing I would ask them is whether they could write me a strong recommendation for medical school. If they hesitate, I would go with someone else. People outside of academia may need some guidance (if they don't write these letters), but professors really should know what to do.

    If you don't like the LOR you're getting from one professor, then choose another.
     

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