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Letter of Rec Issues...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by krebse, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. krebse

    krebse Senior Member
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    I need some advice...

    I've got my BA and I'm currently attending paramedic school at a community college. I just e-mailed my advisor/instructor to ask for a letter of rec and I got the following response:

    "Along with most of the staff, I no longer provide
    reference letters. This is something discouraged by the college due to
    liability. Apparently, there is genuine risk in commenting about a
    student's performance, regardless of how positive one can be. We can
    only acknowledge to prospective employers/schools that you are
    attending and are in good standing. Won't be much help."

    What should I do? This could be a polite way of telling me he's got nothing great to say about me, but he's not one to mince words, I think he'd tell me outright if he just couldn't write a strong letter....Does anyone know if a letter from this degree program will be required? Even if it's not required, how essential do you think it is? I've done well in my classes here, and I feel like my education here will be an important contributor to my "readiness" for med school...

    Thanks,
    Liz
     
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  3. bradwilkins

    bradwilkins Senior Member
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    Looks like you don't have much of a choice. I'm a grad student and I got 75% of my LOR's from grad prof's. Only thing that is working to your disadvantage is that the teachers in your EMT program probabply don't know you as well as your undergrad teachers. As long as you did well in their classes I would ask them to write a letter for you. I think if you explain your situation to them they'll be able to hook up some decent rec's for you.
     
  4. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    Gee whiz, what a crock. They know students need LORs and I think they are copping out on something they should be willing to provide for their students.

    That said... if that is their policy then you are out of luck with that. But I would keep the response you got so you can give it to any school that would require a letter from them. I would look for other people to write the letter. Have you taken classes any where else that you can get a letter from? Where did you take organic,or physics or bio? can you get letters from those classes?
     
  5. krebse

    krebse Senior Member
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    Oh, I'll be fine without it, I've got plenty of recs I can get from my BA, it would just be nice and I'm wondering if anyone's dealt with a similar situation and has advice...maybe they just don't understand that it's different from a letter of reference for a job, maybe they don't know about my waiving my right to see what they write?
     
  6. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    wow ive never heard of this before...i must say the policy at this school is really crappy. maybe they have had unfortunate experiences with students suing the school for writing bad recs or something? with all the frivolous lawsuits out in the land these days, i wouldnt be surprised.

    well maybe you can go to them personally and reason with them saying how important this is to you.
     
  7. EM Junkie

    EM Junkie SDN Donor
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    I agree with the previous poster who believes that the professor may be confusing a LOR for medical school with a LOR for a job. Many companies have policies against providing references for their former employees.

    However, you don't want to press the issue and get a bad LOR. Maybe you could clarify the policy with the program director for the EMS Education Programs at your school (unless he/she is the professor you were referring to).

    I was (and still am) and EMT before applying to medical school. I doubted that any of my paramedic instructors could write the caliber of letter I needed for medical school. Not that they are not smart enough, they just haven't written them much. Instead, I asked the medical director for the EMS service I volunteered for to write one for me. Since he has been through the medical school application process, he knew what the LOR should entail.

    FYI, I also plan on having the medical director for my current EMS service write a LOR for me when I apply to emergency medicine residency programs.

    Good luck!
    -Scott, MS2
    :)
     
  8. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I'm glad you don't need it. :D
    Can you imagine if you did need it? I think they need to rethink their policy.
     
  9. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    If you are going to have time to actually work as a paramedic before going to med school then a letter from one of your supervisors will probably be more relevant than the EMT instructor. If you are not planning on working then I guess you are out of luck though it's hard to see why someone would go through the paramedic course without the intention to work afterward.
     
  10. krebse

    krebse Senior Member
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    I'm planning to work...I'll be a medic by November and I already work for a 911 service as an EMT where I'll work as a medic as soon as I've got that sparkley gold patch...regardless, assuming the MCAT goes the way I want it to this Saturday I'm planning to submit apps in June...I consider it a good thing that my supervisors don't know me very well and the only other potential person would be my field training officer who, at this stage of the game, is another EMT...not to be snotty, but those three letters behind his name aren't going to pull that much weight...he doesn't really know me that well either, our training with our FTO is only six shifts and he's more like a friend than anything....I think I'll be able to ask our programs medical director, so I'm not stressing...but thanks for the advice and keep it coming if anyone has any other thoughts!
     

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