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Is it okay to ask a volunteer coordinator for a rec letter?

TX500

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I feel like I could get "okay" recommendation letters from professors, but a much better one for someone I volunteered for. It's basically a place where individuals with AIDS come in for free food, bus passes, etc. (meaning it's non-clinical), but the coordinator is the nicest woman I've ever met. What do you guys think?

Note: I'm a Texas resident and they only require two LOR, so this would be one of them.
 

TX500

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There's nothing wrong with getting a LoR from a volunteer coordinator, but I hope you have a better reason to ask her for one than just her niceness.

Obviously, I do. Just trying to make a point that most of the professors I know, even the ones I've done research with, don't seem as friendly. When you go to a big school, it's a little bit difficult to have a professor know you more than from just an academic standpoint (to be honest, most of them just don't care).
 
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cinamin

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  1. Pre-Medical
I feel like I could get "okay" recommendation letters from professors, but a much better one for someone I volunteered for. It's basically a place where individuals with AIDS come in for free food, bus passes, etc. (meaning it's non-clinical), but the coordinator is the nicest woman I've ever met. What do you guys think?

Note: I'm a Texas resident and they only require two LOR, so this would be one of them.

I think this would be a good letter... I thought you have to provide non-professor letters anyway? Maybe it was just 1-2 schools but I just asked everyone around for letters so I had all my bases covered. I say go for it! Make sure you spend a little time talking about the importance of this letter (not everyone knows about the med school process) and that you want it to be a strong letter.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Mar 7, 2005
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YMMV but most of the time volunteer coordinator letters are not helpful. Some just say, "Sally Candidate has served as a volunteer at the Lord Have Mercy Mission in San Jacinto for 103 hours during the period from January 2, 2011 through July 3, 2012. The Lord Have Mercy Mission has been serving the downtrodden of San Jacinto for 132 years."

If they go beyond that is is mostly "cheerful, well-groomed, helpful" sort of stuff that sounds like a Boy Scout helping an old lady cross the street.
 

TX500

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Jan 16, 2013
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YMMV but most of the time volunteer coordinator letters are not helpful. Some just say, "Sally Candidate has served as a volunteer at the Lord Have Mercy Mission in San Jacinto for 103 hours during the period from January 2, 2011 through July 3, 2012. The Lord Have Mercy Mission has been serving the downtrodden of San Jacinto for 132 years."

If they go beyond that is is mostly "cheerful, well-groomed, helpful" sort of stuff that sounds like a Boy Scout helping an old lady cross the street.

Awesome, thanks a lot. I definitely think she'll be able to put in a better word than that. And it's the longest running HIV clinic in the nation, so that always looks nice :)
 
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