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IMG here. Do I absolutely need to have a letter of recommendation from a neurologist when I apply for residency? Is there anyone who matched to neurology without a letter from a neurologist?
 

PhakeDoc

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I think you should have at least 1 letter (of the 4 you are allowed to have) from a neurologist - that is the field you are going in to, afterall (if you are applying to neuro, that is). Generally, they want one from your Chair. I would probably include a medicine one as well (if possible, from the Chair as required by some programs such as a joint advanced+prelim spot at UPenn) to help with prelim apps. I think PDs would look at the lack of a letter from a neurologist as a red flag in that 1) you really aren't serious about the field/hedging your bets with another, i.e., radiology or 2) you've not really investigated the field/made a good enough impression on anyone who would write a letter.
 

Head

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Yes - as someone who conducts resident interviews, I can tell you that the letters of rec are very important to your application (much more important than the personal statement for example). When we go through them, the first thing we are looking for is a letter from a fellow Neurologist you have worked closely with. A glowing recommendation from someone who's been where you aspire to be goes a long way. It's also good to get a letter from your chair, but we understand that many med students don't work directly with the chairman so these are usually more generic and less helpful.
 

I_love_UMKC

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What about if you don't have a Neurology department...then for the schools that require a Chair's letter, whose letter do you submit?
 

typhoonegator

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What about if you don't have a Neurology department...then for the schools that require a Chair's letter, whose letter do you submit?
Yeah, that's kind of rough. You need to do an early away rotation and get a letter from that, or do neuroscience research and get a letter that way. If you can't do anything else, I'd get a letter from the highest ranking IM person you can find and make sure she/he speaks to this issue in the letter.

I wish I could say that a letter from a neurologist doesn't matter if you don't have a neurology department, but when there is a pile of applications and everyone else has neuro letters, no one is going to go back and research why you don't. People will understand why you don't have a chair's letter if you don't have a neuro department, but no neuro letter at all might be a problem, particularly at higher level programs.

Sorry. I hate giving scary assessments, but the match has gotten tight for neurology. Better to be honest. Go find someone to write you a letter! They're out there.
 

I_love_UMKC

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Yeah, that's kind of rough. You need to do an early away rotation and get a letter from that, or do neuroscience research and get a letter that way. If you can't do anything else, I'd get a letter from the highest ranking IM person you can find and make sure she/he speaks to this issue in the letter.

I wish I could say that a letter from a neurologist doesn't matter if you don't have a neurology department, but when there is a pile of applications and everyone else has neuro letters, no one is going to go back and research why you don't. People will understand why you don't have a chair's letter if you don't have a neuro department, but no neuro letter at all might be a problem, particularly at higher level programs.

Sorry. I hate giving scary assessments, but the match has gotten tight for neurology. Better to be honest. Go find someone to write you a letter! They're out there.
Thanks...I wasn't concerned about not getting a Neurology letter, but more so about, having no Chair's letter. Would it be correct to assume that if you have worked with a private Neurologist, that letter should suffice right? Sorry to hijack this thread a little bit OP, but one more question, for the majority of the programs how many letters do you need, and the more Neurology letters the better? So, 1 letter would be from Medicine, 1 from Neurology, what about others?
 

PhakeDoc

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If you are a straight MD, no research and don't want to fiddle with multiple letters to various people:
2 neuro
1 medicine (Chair or PD or someone that worked quite CLOSELY with you...the higher their rank the better unless they are a hotshot)

If you are a straight MD with research or MD/PhD
2 neuro
1 medicine
1 research mentor

If you want to try to keep track of different letters to different people,
then send all neuro letters to the neuro programs, and at least 1 medicine to prelim programs.
 

I_love_UMKC

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If you are a straight MD, no research and don't want to fiddle with multiple letters to various people:
2 neuro
1 medicine (Chair or PD or someone that worked quite CLOSELY with you...the higher their rank the better unless they are a hotshot)

If you are a straight MD with research or MD/PhD
2 neuro
1 medicine
1 research mentor

If you want to try to keep track of different letters to different people,
then send all neuro letters to the neuro programs, and at least 1 medicine to prelim programs.
Thanks, that's pretty helpful. What if you have done research in other area then Neurology, do you still need the research mentor letter? Also, the 2 neurology letters, will they work if you have worked with them in private practice in your own time (not a rotation) or do you actually need to get letters from only the Neurology rotation?