Feb 27, 2021
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Hello! I'm hoping to apply for MD this cycle, submitting in the summer of 2021.

I am in a dilemma about requesting LORs from PIs.
I have worked in two labs during undergrad/gap years:
  • Lab A: worked for 3 years, quit about 2 years ago. Only worked as a tech and not in the sciences. No pubs. PI would write me a letter, but PI was disappointed that I left the lab.
  • Lab B: worked for 2 years. Did the science, learned a lot. Great relationship with PI. A couple of pubs.
PI from Lab B has agreed to write an LOR, but I have not asked PI from Lab A. Do I need both PI's LORs? I'm trying to apply broadly, including the T20 and research powerhouses.

Current LOR spread:
  1. Biology Professor
  2. Biology Professor
  3. Humanities Professor
  4. Dean of our college
  5. PI of Lab B
ANY guidance would be helpful. Thank you!
 

Banco

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May 28, 2014
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I had a similar situation and I got them from both. You certainly don't NEED both. But if you do decide to ask PI A, word it like "are you willing to write me a STRONG letter in support of my application?"

If you feel it will be an average letter, just leave it.
 
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BRTC200

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May 3, 2017
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My take would basically be a synthesis of both responses above. Ask PI A whether they'd be able to write a strong letter of recommendation and if they say they can, take the letter and keep it on Interfolio. Then you can more conveniently choose whether you actually want to send the letter or not to particular schools.

It may be convenient and/or nice to have that letter, even if it will not be the strongest. I am only directly familiar with the MD/PhD application cycle myself, where many institutions explicitly ask for LORs from all research PIs. Though this may not be a hard rule in MD admissions, it might still be nice, and it is certainly more preferable to have a LOR ready to send instead of being caught with your pants down.
 
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