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Ok, so an advisor from my pre-health committee is strongly strongly suggesting that I turn in a letter from a physician. I haven't shadowed a physician for a while and I don't know how much time I can allocate to that at the moment. I'm thinking my only option is to reconnect with a physician I shadowed a couple months ago and spend about 3/4hrs a week or probably even every other week shadowing and then asking for a letter in like a month and a half.

Any advice? Should I really go completely out of my way to try and get this letter from a physician?
 

gyngyn

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Ok, so an advisor from my pre-health committee is strongly strongly suggesting that I turn in a letter from a physician. I haven't shadowed a physician for a while and I don't know how much time I can allocate to that at the moment. I'm thinking my only option is to reconnect with a physician I shadowed a couple months ago and spend about 3/4hrs a week or probably even every other week shadowing and then asking for a letter in like a month and a half.

Any advice? Should I really go completely out of my way to try and get this letter from a physician?
Letters from physicians are neither required nor particularly helpful at most MD schools. DO schools do seem to require/request them, though.
 

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Letters from physicians are neither required nor particularly helpful at most MD schools. DO schools do seem to require/request them, though.
I'm gonna quote this post and link it to my sig. These threads are getting out of hand.
 
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allantois

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Letters from physicians are neither required nor particularly helpful at most MD schools. DO schools do seem to require/request them, though.
I know I am bumping an old thread. However, my undergrad institution requires us to obtain 1-2 LORs from a healthcare professional (e.g. MD for someone wanting to go into med school, PharmD for pharmacy school, etc) to go into the letter packet they send to professional schools. I also see that many MD schools require one or two character letters, which can be written by a doctor among other people. What are some of the disadvantages/advantages to submitting a letter from a physician for a character letter? Who medical schools want to see write character letters for applicants?
 

gyngyn

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I know I am bumping an old thread. However, my undergrad institution requires us to obtain 1-2 LORs from a healthcare professional (e.g. MD for someone wanting to go into med school, PharmD for pharmacy school, etc) to go into the letter packet they send to professional schools. I also see that many MD schools require one or two character letters, which can be written by a doctor among other people. What are some of the disadvantages/advantages to submitting a letter from a physician for a character letter? Who medical schools want to see write character letters for applicants?
I am unfamiliar with the MD reference letter requirement that your school has.
If your "character letters" come from MD's, it appears that you have fulfilled everyone's needs by including them in your letter packet.
At my school, MD letters have little weight (what can you really say about someone who shadowed you!)
If we wanted a reference, it would be from someone who had direct observation of your core qualities.
 

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Letters from physicians are neither required nor particularly helpful at most MD schools. DO schools do seem to require/request them, though.
I understand why a shadowing letter or a letter from a family friend would not be viewed well, but excluding those cases, I don't comprehend why 'physician letters' would be more unhelpful than any others.
 

gyngyn

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I understand why a shadowing letter or a letter from a family friend would not be viewed well, but excluding those cases, I don't comprehend why 'physician letters' would be more unhelpful than any others.
They are uniformly positive, therefore, fluff.
 

mehc012

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I am unfamiliar with the MD reference letter requirement that your school has.
If your "character letters" come from MD's, it appears that you have fulfilled everyone's needs by including them in your letter packet.
At my school, MD letters have little weight (what can you really say about someone who shadowed you!)
If we wanted a reference, it would be from someone who had direct observation of your core qualities.
Ah, I see...you are considering all physician letters to be shadowing letters. That makes more sense.
Still, seems a bit unfair to paint all MD/DO letters with the same brush. A LOR writer who doesn't know you is an LOR writer who doesn't know you. That issue (which seems to be at the core of the 'no shadowing letters' mantra) is wholly separate from 'the letter writer is a physician'.
 

mehc012

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They are uniformly positive, therefore, fluff.
So even if I get a letter from a doc whom I've worked frequent 12hr shifts, often stressful ones, for 2yrs straight, that will be disregarded just because they're an MD?
That's just depressing. My MD letter writer will probably be the one with the most knowledge of what I am capable of.
 
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gyngyn

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So even if I get a letter from a doc whom I've worked frequent 12hr shifts, often stressful ones, for 2yrs straight, that will be disregarded just because they're an MD?
That's just depressing. My MD letter writer will probably be the one with the most knowledge of what I am capable of.
If the letter writer directly supervised you, has personal knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses and might be presumed to be objective, it could still be worth sending. This is rarely the case, however, so we often just skim lightly over them with usual expectation of a glowing eval that we always get.
It is so rarely the case the doc has any real knowledge of the applicant that they all get painted with the same broad brush, I'm afraid.
 

mehc012

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If the letter writer directly supervised you, has personal knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses and might be presumed to be objective, it could still be worth sending. This is rarely the case, however.
Yeah, this is a doc I met only through my job as a scribe - I am essentially tied to his hip for 12hrs at a time, and he reads through every document I make because he signs it with his name for the medical record. He thought highly enough of my work and abilities to spontaneously email my manager about it , not to mention having multiple conversations (while I was sitting there, which was awkward) with his fellow MDs about what made me stand out as a scribe. I was really hoping that a letter from him would be very helpful to my app, as it will be my most recent one (my prof letters are from undergrad, which I graduated from 2yrs ago, and my postbacc, where I don't know the profs as well) and seemed as if it would be very strong.
 

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Yeah, this is a doc I met only through my job as a scribe - I am essentially tied to his hip for 12hrs at a time, and he reads through every document I make because he signs it with his name for the medical record. He thought highly enough of my work and abilities to spontaneously email my manager about it , not to mention having multiple conversations (while I was sitting there, which was awkward) with his fellow MDs about what made me stand out as a scribe. I was really hoping that a letter from him would be very helpful to my app, as it will be my most recent one (my prof letters are from undergrad, which I graduated from 2yrs ago, and my postbacc, where I don't know the profs as well) and seemed as if it would be very strong.
I'm sure the letter will strongly support you. Sadly, our experience tends to discount this type of letter because they are always strongly supportive! As long as you do not exceed your total or use this instead of letters that might be viewed as more objective, it won't hurt you.
 

mehc012

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I'm sure the letter will strongly support you. Sadly, our experience tends to discount this type of letter because they are always strongly supportive! As long as you do not exceed your total or use this instead of letters that might be viewed as more objective, it won't hurt you.
Yeah, it's just a shame that it will count for little considering it's definitely the most meaningful out of all of them.
I'm not planning on submitting too many LORs...I mostly think the whole system with them is a crock. I can't think of a better one, but still...seems ludicrous that this would count for more if I just left his title out and put 'Supervisor'.
This is literally the saddest thing anyone has told me on SDN.
 

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Yeah, it's just a shame that it will count for little considering it's definitely the most meaningful out of all of them.
I'm not planning on submitting too many LORs...I mostly think the whole system with them is a crock. I can't think of a better one, but still...seems ludicrous that this would count for more if I just left his title out and put 'Supervisor'.
This is literally the saddest thing anyone has told me on SDN.
Sorry. It just seems like I should let you should know.
I know the DO schools see it differently, so maybe some MD schools do too, just nowhere I've ever worked...