2+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2015
Hi all,

So I have a dilemma, one of my letter writers is an older doctor who is a bit... technologically challenged and apparently hadn't had to write an LOR in a long time, because he had his staff give it to my mom (one of his patients) instead of using the AMCAS and TMDSAS instructions I'd emailed them, and she forwarded it on to me because she didn't know better either. I couldn't help but see it and read it (it wasn't super long). This means it's not confidential any longer even though it's marked as such on the apps... I don't know if there's any way to change the status of those letters after the fact, but I'm not sure how to alleviate the dissonance I'm feeling now about all the essays about honor codes and honesty I've been writing. What should I do?
Mar 8, 2015
Medical Student
If your letter writer shows you the letter then it is not a problem. It a problem when people have Interfolio send their letters to their sister's husbands company so they can read them all.
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2+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2015
Medical Student (Accepted)
I'm not sure how you would go about editing your 'waiver your rights' status at this point. I think that given you did not intend to breach confidentiality, it might be okay to just let this be. I'm not sure how useful it would be to now inform all the schools about what happened. In truth, you waived your right to see the letter and did not plan on accessing it- it isnt your 'fault' that you were accidentally sent the letter.


SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 1, 2013
You didn't scheme or set out to see the letter, and you DID waive your rights to see it, which is what the question asks, after all. It's perfectly OK for you letter writer to show you the letter and even for you to read it, and the Dr. may well have intended for you to see this letter. You still waived your right to see it. So no need for any guilt.

At this point, I'd contact his office and let them know that the letter was given to you instead of sent to AMCAS / TMDSAS and that you need to have the letter submitted from their office according to the enclosed instructions. Then follow up with AMCAS / TMDSAS in two weeks or so to make sure they received it.


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Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
The Big Bad Apple
You only give up the right to demand to see the letter. The letter writer is perfectly free to share it with you if they choose


2+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2015
Medical Student
I had a similar issue when a physician I work with sent it to me via email first instead of sending it to my undergrad institution for my committee file.

I think it only becomes an issue if you read it and then asked the writer to make changes/edits based on what you've seen or you make edits to it yourself. Otherwise I think your conscious should be clear!
Apr 5, 2015
The way I see it, it is unethical to penalize people for exercising their rights as it de-facto deprives them of said rights in all but name. Since colleges (and med schools) grant you the right to read your recs, they can't really complain if you "forget" to notify them that you're exercising this right on the application. The same way you "forgot" to tell them about underage drinking, etc.
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