Letter from Pre-Med committee will mention weaknesses

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BurntFlower

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Hello all, so I have several forms to fill out in order to get a composite letter of evaluation from my Pre-Med office, when one of them caught my eye. In the Student Information sheet there's a space where we have to mention academic and non-academic weaknesses. So I emailed the Pre-Med Professions Advisor and asked if those weaknesses will be mentioned in the final letter. He says they will and it's mandatory to fill this form out.

I thought any mention of weaknesses in a letter of recommendation is a red flag for medical schools. Is this true, or am I getting worried over nothing?
 
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FSUseminoleEM1

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Hello all, so I have several forms to fill out in order to get a composite letter of evaluation from my Pre-Med office, when one of them caught my eye. In the Student Information sheet there's a space where we have to mention academic and non-academic weaknesses. So I emailed the Pre-Med Professions Advisor and asked if those weaknesses will be mentioned in the final letter. He says they will and it's mandatory to fill this form out.

I thought any mention of weaknesses in a letter of recommendation is a red flag for medical schools. Is this true, or am I getting worried over nothing?


What's up with these BS committees? Like I told the individual in the other thread on committees - FORGET THEM. Solicit letters from quality professors & send them in yourself. Screw a committee letter, especially yours. Sounds like they'll be doing you a disservice if anything.
 

BurntFlower

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What's up with these BS committees? Like I told the individual in the other thread on committees - FORGET THEM. Solicit letters from quality professors & send them in yourself. Screw a committee letter, especially yours. Sounds like they'll be doing you a disservice if anything.
I thought if your school has a Pre-Health committee and you don't go through the whole process with them, it's seen as a red flag for medical schools. I think LizzyM said this once, but I might be mistaken. I wish I didn't have to use my Pre-Health committee.

Also, several people who go through this process in my school have been interviewed in several schools so it might not be as bad...?
 
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Tell them you have no weaknesses - you are the premed paragon. If they can't figure it out themselves, why should you volunteer this, and who are they to say otherwise then?
 

BurntFlower

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Tell them you have no weaknesses - you are the premed paragon. If they can't figure it out themselves, why should you volunteer this, and who are they to say otherwise then?
I assume people at my school mention their weaknesses and get into several medical schools according to the official accepted applicants booklet where the school records who gets in, who gets rejected, and where they interviewed/got accepted at. I REALLY wish I didn't have to do this. I'm thinking of keeping it blank, but I think that might come back to haunt me.

Good weaknesses to have are that you care too much, work too hard and try to do your best at all times.
I have a feeling that writing that down won't fly too well for him. :oops:
 

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OP you are under a correct impression. Most schools will require an explanation if you choose not to use a school letter/pre-med committee. I don't know how much it hurts an application to not use your committee, if at all. I just know you have to explain your reasoning why you didn't.
 

BurntFlower

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OP you are under a correct impression. Most schools will require an explanation if you choose not to use a school letter/pre-med committee. I don't know how much it hurts an application to not use your committee, if at all. I just know you have to explain your reasoning why you didn't.
Oh, I will use my committee I just wish I didn't have to. My current dilemma is what do I do for this form in which I have to fill in my weaknesses. I seriously thought having any mention of a weakness in a letter from a committee is seen as a red flag.

Can someone please clarify this for me? I also hope LizzyM has some input on this.
 

kexy

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Oh, I will use my committee I just wish I didn't have to. My current dilemma is what do I do for this form in which I have to fill in my weaknesses. I seriously thought having any mention of a weakness in a letter from a committee is seen as a red flag.

Can someone please clarify this for me? I also hope LizzyM has some input on this.

Maybe they mean that you should mention weak points in your academic history, so that then they can address them in a positive way? Like "Even though BurntFlower got a B- in physics, they are clearly academically wonderful and blah blah blah." I can't imagine why on earth they'd want you to describe your personal failings so that they could include them in a letter of recommendation.
Or, maybe they're not actually going to include them in the letter, and it's just a test to see if you're an arrogant tool or not. So if you write something honest on the form, they feel justified in writing something like "BurntFlower is humble and self-aware blah blah blah"

I don't know. I'm so glad my school was still getting its pre-med committee together last cycle.
 

kexy

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Oh, I just thought of something else. There are companies where you can pay to send in a confidential LOR, and without disclosing the content, they will advise you whether or not to use it (i.e., they will tell you if it says nice things or not). So if you're really worried, I guess you could get the letter and then send it to a company like that?
 

circulus vitios

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BurntFlower

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Maybe they mean that you should mention weak points in your academic history, so that then they can address them in a positive way? Like "Even though BurntFlower got a B- in physics, they are clearly academically wonderful and blah blah blah." I can't imagine why on earth they'd want you to describe your personal failings so that they could include them in a letter of recommendation.
Or, maybe they're not actually going to include them in the letter, and it's just a test to see if you're an arrogant tool or not. So if you write something honest on the form, they feel justified in writing something like "BurntFlower is humble and self-aware blah blah blah"

I don't know. I'm so glad my school was still getting its pre-med committee together last cycle.
Here's part of the email I sent the advisor: I have some questions regarding the Student Information and Summary of Academic Record sheet. There are several spaces where you have to fill in your academic and non-academic weaknesses.

My question is, will you mention those weaknesses in the final letter?

His reply: Yes. Read the statement at the top of that form.

But if they mention weaknesses for every pre-med, how does our school have so many people who interview and get accepted?
 
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Maybe they mean that you should mention weak points in your academic history, so that then they can address them in a positive way? Like "Even though BurntFlower got a B- in physics, they are clearly academically wonderful and blah blah blah." I can't imagine why on earth they'd want you to describe your personal failings so that they could include them in a letter of recommendation.
Or, maybe they're not actually going to include them in the letter, and it's just a test to see if you're an arrogant tool or not. So if you write something honest on the form, they feel justified in writing something like "BurntFlower is humble and self-aware blah blah blah"

I don't know. I'm so glad my school was still getting its pre-med committee together last cycle.

I agree with this approach. Find an academic weakness and then describe how you overcame it and what you learned/how you've changed.

I also think "weakness in letters" that are considered red flags are from your professors who mention it, and NOT when you address it yourself. Half of what the committee form/interview is for your UG to get a better feel of who you are. It is in their best interest you get accepted, so I don't think they'll put a negative spin on what you choose to say.
 

circulus vitios

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Here's part of the email I sent the advisor: I have some questions regarding the Student Information and Summary of Academic Record sheet. There are several spaces where you have to fill in your academic and non-academic weaknesses.

My question is, will you mention those weaknesses in the final letter?

His reply: Yes. Read the statement at the top of that form.

But if they mention weaknesses for every pre-med, how does our school have so many people who interview and get accepted?

Letters of recommendation and everything aside from MCAT/GPA don't matter nearly as much as SDN thinks?
 

kexy

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Here's part of the email I sent the advisor: I have some questions regarding the Student Information and Summary of Academic Record sheet. There are several spaces where you have to fill in your academic and non-academic weaknesses.

My question is, will you mention those weaknesses in the final letter?

His reply: Yes. Read the statement at the top of that form.

But if they mention weaknesses for every pre-med, how does our school have so many people who interview and get accepted?

Okay, then I am almost positive that this is a chance to address weak points in your application, not your own weaknesses. It's almost like how at interviews, applicants are given the chance to explain red flags/weak points in their application. This could actually be a really good thing. So, maybe you can say things like, "I don't have a lot of research experience because I am a humanitarian!" and "My grades were not good freshman year because I was unfocused and didn't know what I wanted!" etc.
There's no way they want you to write things like, "I get stressed easily" so that they can badmouth you in the letter.
 

LizzyM

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I've not seen the committee letter from your school (I guess my med school does not get many applicants from your undergrad school) but it could be that the adcoms that see many applicants from your school know that the letter follows a specific formula and they aren't as disturbed by a weakness in the letter as we would be at a school that generally sends only "walks on water" letters.

Would a former weakness that was overcome be acceptable? Having trouble with X as a freshman but learning to handle it by doing A and B is always a good approach. (e.g. time management or dorm living or faster pace of quarter schedule, etc).
 

Barcu

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Foregoing a committee letter because it may expose a weakness is certainly not an excuse that will fly.

Do the letter and do a weakness that you are working to overcome. This is a pretty common interview question anyway, so it's good to think about it and prepare for it now. I doubt your school is trying to screw you over.
 

virtuoso735

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I think they are asking you this because they want to write a well-rounded letter. My school has a committee interview/letter too, and they also ask about a weakness. I didn't necessarily think of this as a bad thing, because this will allow you to address a weak point in an application. And a weakness doesn't have a weakness necessarily. It just shows that you are human, and that you have things to work on. Don't talk too much about why you are weak in that area; make it an opportunity and explain what you are doing to proactively address the weakness.
 

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One of the biggest things I learned on the application/interview trail is that they want a genuine person that really comes off as warm and real. If you try to pretend to be some superhero with no weaknesses they will smell your bull**** from a mile away - THAT is a major red flag. Listing a weakness or two is seriously not a big deal at all. The main thing is that you recognize it and can explain what you are doing or have done to overcome that weakness. If you say you have nothing it shows you are dumb and ignorant and probably kind of lazy. Doing what I said above shows intellect, an ability to evaluate yourself and commitment. List something real, but just keep it tame - you still want to be somewhat careful in this area of the app. Besides, it could always be asked directly during an interview, and if you have nothing to say you will just look like an ill-prepared fool.
 

BurntFlower

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Okay, then I am almost positive that this is a chance to address weak points in your application, not your own weaknesses. It's almost like how at interviews, applicants are given the chance to explain red flags/weak points in their application. This could actually be a really good thing. So, maybe you can say things like, "I don't have a lot of research experience because I am a humanitarian!" and "My grades were not good freshman year because I was unfocused and didn't know what I wanted!" etc.
There's no way they want you to write things like, "I get stressed easily" so that they can badmouth you in the letter.
You make a good point. Although it says 'greatest non-academic weakness', and not one particular moment.

I've not seen the committee letter from your school (I guess my med school does not get many applicants from your undergrad school) but it could be that the adcoms that see many applicants from your school know that the letter follows a specific formula and they aren't as disturbed by a weakness in the letter as we would be at a school that generally sends only "walks on water" letters.

Would a former weakness that was overcome be acceptable? Having trouble with X as a freshman but learning to handle it by doing A and B is always a good approach. (e.g. time management or dorm living or faster pace of quarter schedule, etc).
Thank you for this, there were some things I did not consider like how adcoms that see many applicants from my school are used to this letter of recommendation formula. But what about if I want to apply to schools that don't see many applicants from my school? Do I need to worry about this? I'll ask my advisor if a former weakness is acceptable.

Foregoing a committee letter because it may expose a weakness is certainly not an excuse that will fly.

Do the letter and do a weakness that you are working to overcome. This is a pretty common interview question anyway, so it's good to think about it and prepare for it now. I doubt your school is trying to screw you over.
I said that I won't forego my committee letter though I wish I could. I really hope my school is not going to screw me over, but I thought it was strange that our weaknesses have to be listed especially how I've read that having a mention of them in a letter is considered a red flag.

Letters of recommendation and everything aside from MCAT/GPA don't matter nearly as much as SDN thinks?
I would think letters of recommendation are pretty important, but I'm not an adcom member so I can't say anything with certainty.

I agree with this approach. Find an academic weakness and then describe how you overcame it and what you learned/how you've changed.

I also think "weakness in letters" that are considered red flags are from your professors who mention it, and NOT when you address it yourself. Half of what the committee form/interview is for your UG to get a better feel of who you are. It is in their best interest you get accepted, so I don't think they'll put a negative spin on what you choose to say.
Why would it not be considered a red flag if I mention it myself? I'm a bit confused about this. Thank you.
 
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I assume people at my school mention their weaknesses and get into several medical schools according to the official accepted applicants booklet where the school records who gets in, who gets rejected, and where they interviewed/got accepted at. I REALLY wish I didn't have to do this. I'm thinking of keeping it blank, but I think that might come back to haunt me.

I have a feeling that writing that down won't fly too well for him. :oops:

Being unable to subject yourself to criticism and realistic self-evaluation is definitely a red flag in admissions. So would not using your prehealth advising evaluation process when we know it exists.
 

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Some pre-med committees will write something about the inteview it conducted with the student or a self-assessment form the student completed.

"Jack expressed some regret at not having mastered spoken Spanish despite his minor in that language and he plans to be involved in an immersion program in Guatemala during Winter break in his senior year. The committee is sure that with further exposure to colloquial Spanish that Jack's fluency will be continue to grow."
 

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"Well gorsh, committee, I guess my greatest weakness is that I just care too much. And I work all the time! It really is a personal struggle every day with how great I always am.

Also, every few minutes I compulsively yelp like a dog without warning."
 

gumbyj

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+pissed+

PRE-MED COMMITTEES WHY YOU SO ANNOYING

Sorry, rough day with the pre-med committee...
 

BurntFlower

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:poke:


+pissed+

PRE-MED COMMITTEES WHY YOU SO ANNOYING

Sorry, rough day with the pre-med committee...
I feel your pain. :nod:

Some pre-med committees will write something about the inteview it conducted with the student or a self-assessment form the student completed.

"Jack expressed some regret at not having mastered spoken Spanish despite his minor in that language and he plans to be involved in an immersion program in Guatemala during Winter break in his senior year. The committee is sure that with further exposure to colloquial Spanish that Jack's fluency will be continue to grow."
My pre-med committee does not interview us. Hopefully the pre-med committee will put a positive spin to it like in your above comment (hopefully). Thank you, your comments have been very helpful as useful!

Yeah that why I am not going through a pre med committee.
If your school has it, and you don't use it, that would be a red flag.

Being unable to subject yourself to criticism and realistic self-evaluation is definitely a red flag in admissions. So would not using your prehealth advising evaluation process when we know it exists.
Ah, I see how it would come off that way, but let me explain. I'm very self-aware of the flaws I have and what I need to correct in order to become a better person/physician. When I said I wish I could leave those spaces blank is because I'm wary that my school asks for my weaknesses when I heard over and over that having any negative comment on a letter of recommendation is considered a red flag. I already said I will be using the pre-med committee.
 
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