I was going to apply to MSTPs, but I changed my mind. Problem is, the LORs are written. Am I in trouble?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Members don't see this ad.
I was set on applying to them, but after actually thinking long and hard about it and writing my essays, I realized my heart was in medicine more than research. I would love to do research as a physician, but in all honesty an MD would suffice for the type of career I want. I regretfully had to come to the decision that I'm better off applying regular MD, and I should let someone who is more passionate and likely to dedicate more time to research apply instead of me.

The problem is, my LORs were written on the expectation that I would apply to MD/PhD programs. I know it was stupid of me, but when I asked them 4 months ago, I was sure this was the path for me. I wish I was more thoughtful earlier, but what's done is done. I had an MD LOR lined up, but the physician suffered a stroke, and his assistant emailed me to tell me that he would not (understandably) write my letter anymore. So, now I'm down to 3: my PI, who taught two of my classes; a science professor in my major; and a humanities professor who I am close with.

Am I screwed? Will adcoms read my LORs and reject me? I know it doesn't look good to change my mind so suddenly, and it probably doesn't bode well. Truthfully I've wanted medicine for longer than an MD/PhD. I was enticed into it by my PI and science profs, who made it seem like it would be a complete waste of my research years if I went regular MD. I do love research and I hope I can continue benchwork in my future, but a regular MD would be just as fulfilling.


The dog is always the real hero.
5+ Year Member
May 24, 2017
Reaction score
Some feedback here from the MD side: Is it negative if reccomender writes MD/PhD for MD only programs?

You may be better off asking this in the Pre-Medical (MD) forums rather than here, since most of the perspectives here are from the MD-PhD side, not the MD side which is where it seems you want the feedback.

My gut instinct is that this will not look very good to MD adcoms (not necessarily them endorsing you for MD-PhD, but the fact that such letters will focus a LOT more on your research than the specific qualities MD adcoms are looking for in letters).