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I currently have 4 letters of rec and the primary school I am interested in accepts up to 6. Would it be alright to have my friend's Dad (who has known me his entire life) who is a Doctor write me a letter? Even if I haven't shadowed him or anything? He still knows me extremely well.
 
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starlite911

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I don't think it would help you in any way. Better to have 4 solid letters then add in an additional useless one. Most MD schools don't accept/want letters from physicians you have shadowed, yet alone ones that you just happen to know.
 
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Jul 20, 2014
413
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Pre-Medical
I don't think it would help you in any way. Better to have 4 solid letters then add in an additional useless one. Most MD schools don't accept/want letters from physicians you have shadowed, yet alone ones that you just happen to know.
That's exactly what I was wondering. Thanks!
 
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What about a neurosurgeon that I shadowed for a day? I remember him offering to write me one, but I never asked because I wasn't quite sure what all he could say since I only shadowed him for a day.

(The 4 letters I have currently are very solid, I just figure it wouldn't hurt if there were additional ones that look good as well)
 
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Oh, and final question...I assisted with research in my cousin's lab (she runs it, has a PhD in biology) over the summer. I was going to ask her, but wasn't sure if I would be able to since she is family.
 

gonnif

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(The 4 letters I have currently are very solid, I just figure it wouldn't hurt if there were additional ones that look good as well)
Why do people assume that an action will not have an impact? It can hurt as is in the impression it makes on an adcom member. Do you want someone to read these solid letters, have a great impression of you, then see a couple of worthless fluff letters? Do you want that to be the thing they possibly remember the most? Ot gets them wondering if your insecure depending on family friends for recommenations?
 

p0gono

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Oh, and final question...I assisted with research in my cousin's lab (she runs it, has a PhD in biology) over the summer. I was going to ask her, but wasn't sure if I would be able to since she is family.
This doesn't sound like a fluff letter to me, assuming you actually got your hands dirty in lab. It shouldn't matter that it is your cousin, though it may sound less objective to adcomms, I don't know.

Were there any other superiors in the lab who could write or cowrite with your cousin? If you really want another letter, I mean.
 

gonnif

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This doesn't sound like a fluff letter to me, assuming you actually got your hands dirty in lab. It shouldn't matter that it is your cousin, though it may sound less objective to adcomms, I don't know.
That's is half of why it is fluff. The other half is, despite what so many applicants believe otherwise, unless you have worked towards a research project under a PI, lab letters are not particularly important. Most med schools want letters from faculty you have had a class with. This letter would be from 1) a relative 2) non faculty and 3) not from a course instructor
 
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Goro

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Doctors are incapable of writing anything but glowing testimonials, and NOT the evaluations that we really want to see.

Pay attention: they don't add anything.



I currently have 4 letters of rec and the primary school I am interested in accepts up to 6. Would it be alright to have my friend's Dad (who has known me his entire life) who is a Doctor write me a letter? Even if I haven't shadowed him or anything? He still knows me extremely well.
 

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Doctors are incapable of writing anything but glowing testimonials, and NOT the evaluations that we really want to see.

Pay attention: they don't add anything.
Interesting. So you've never seen a practicing MD write one of those semi-lukewarm, send a Jedi message that the student is not really all that great kind of LOR? Or even a "Dude this kid just bugged me for one, here it is" type?
 

Goro

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In over 12 years on the Adcom, I have seen exactly one bad LOR from an MD.



Interesting. So you've never seen a practicing MD write one of those semi-lukewarm, send a Jedi message that the student is not really all that great kind of LOR? Or even a "Dude this kid just bugged me for one, here it is" type?
 
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p0gono

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That's is half of why it is fluff. The other half is, despite what so many applicants believe otherwise, unless you have worked towards a research project under a PI, lab letters are not particularly important. Most med schools want letters from faculty you have had a class with. This letter would be from 1) a relative 2) non faculty and 3) not from a course instructor
If OP's cousin is "in charge" of the lab, wouldn't that make them a PI or at least an investigator? I've seen advice on these forums that evidence of using your connections to get experience would actually look good. With that said, I agree that it would be a better idea to have someone else in the lab write or cowrite.

And yes, instructor letters are vital. OP already fulfilled the 4 required letters.
 

gonnif

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If OP's cousin is "in charge" of the lab, wouldn't that make them a PI or at least an investigator? I've seen advice on these forums that evidence of using your connections to get experience would actually look good. With that said, I agree that it would be a better idea to have someone else in the lab write or cowrite.

And yes, instructor letters are vital. OP already fulfilled the 4 required letters.
If the OP had a formal research arrangement it might have some value. But being around the lab of a relative for the summer is not worth much. Same as applicants who get a letter from any doc they shadow informally.

Besides, there seems to be this perception among applicants that getting any little bit, however small and trivial it may be, should be gotten without any regard for negative impact it might have.

1) Schools get thousands of applicants leading to tens of thousand of pages of material.
2) Someone who reads a file from an applicants is time pressured and often an applicant is evaluated from an overall "impression" of the app. Indeed, imagine the first letter in the file the adcom reads is something that starts with something about his/her cousin. Is that going to shadow the readers impression for everything else? Is it going to sound like nepotism? Is it just gonna make the reader rush thru the file leaving clouding the impression.
3) Is the formula 4 solid letters + 2 "fluff" > 4 solid letters alone? I think 4 solid letters alone > 4 + 2 fluff
 
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Gandyy

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The letter would be worthless. Especially if he starts off "I have known this boy since he was in training diapers"
I want you to know that I laughed out loud when I read the "since he was in training diapers." part.
 
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