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Letter of Recommendation Blues!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by DesiDentist, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Hi guys,

    Today I went into my career office where I have my Letter of Recommendation file. I wanted to know if one of my recommendations had come in. When the lady was checking my file I noticed that my science prof's wrote only about half a page. Granted, I did not know them very well, but I was really expecting at least a page or something. For those of you that know how long are recommendations usually? I still have some other profs to ask (luckily both science) but I am kind of worried. I did skim the letter at it seemed really positive, but does it show that the recommender didn't know me really well. I currently have 5 recs in my file and aiming to get two more. Any advice would be appreciated.

    DesiDentist
     
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  3. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    hey sign on AIM :)
     
  4. racemic01

    racemic01 Member
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    I would guess normal LOR's are 1/2 a page. Maybe if you knew the professor REALLY well it'd be a page. Did you get a chance to see your other letters? I wouldn't worry about it, especially with seven letters. That's a hell of a lot of recommendations.
     
  5. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    ok you can't sign on...the ones i've seen are about a half to 3/4 of a page...maybe some (the ones you really know) are one whole page...don't fret my friend! :)
     
  6. racemic01

    racemic01 Member
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    And disregard that bit about seeing your other LOR's. Good thing I didnt have to take the reading comp section at 2am. :D

    Cheers
     
  7. I think usual rec letters are about 3/4 pages double spaced. Mine were anywhere from 3/4 to 1.5 pages. It really depends on how well you know the profs.....the better you know them the better obviously.

    steve
     
  8. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE
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    I think most are 3/4 of a page...
    I have 4 letters in my hand right now. Two of them are 1 page long and 2 are 3/4 long...I have seen 1/2 page before though. When I applied to graduate school, one of my professors that I knew well wrote me 1/2 page and I was shocked!!! I was really sad and wondered how he could write me a letter so short? So I know how you feel...don't worry about it. You'll get into dental school.
    and besides, it's the content of the letter, not how long it is right??
     
  9. racemic01

    racemic01 Member
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    May I ask how you guys see these letters? I wasn't allowed to seen any of mine, not that it mattered much.
     
  10. crimson

    crimson What up Smokey!
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    Desi,
    You are in a catch 22 situation. I would not go back to the prof and ask him to do somethign else coz you might be breaking a contract of not looking at your recos (if you waived your rights).At the same time I hear your disappointment. Maybe you can see <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> the next two and just ask the person responsible for the file to select the 5 best and hint that you do not want to send inconsequential letters. In my conversations with dental school friends they keep on mentioning that a good reco can do wonders so I would try and get the best deal. I haven't requested mine yet so I can't tell you how much is good -- but a page at least IMHO.
     
  11. Beagle

    Beagle Meet BEAGLE
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    I just asked my professors. I asked them to send me three copies. One for the AADSAS and two other in case the other got lost...
    So they sent me one for my own purposes, for me to read, and two that were signed on the back.
     
  12. agutier3

    agutier3 The City By the Bay
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    I would not worry too much. Dental schools must read tons of letters...so IMO they want something short and to the point. Like an earlier post said, it's content that matters - not length. :p
     
  13. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    As a sidenote, candidates who don't waive their rights to see their letters are at a disadvantage when compared to applicants who do waive their rights. Applicants really should never see/read their letters of recommendation as it nearly completely nullifies the letters.

    Their are two acceptable ways that applicants may submit letters: 1) The letter writer mails the letter to AADSAS or 2) the letter writer mails the letter directly to the dental schools. Both of these methods are meant to circumvent the applicant viewing their letters.

    In the case that you are planning on viewing your letters, your ethical obligation is to let the evaluator know this beforehand. Experienced evaluators will most likely turn down the offer to write you a letter of recommendation in this circumstance.

    So much digression <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> In response to the original question, I wouldn't worry about the 1/2 page letter. A strong letter that is short yet sweet is much better than a long letter than ebbs and flows. Adcoms need sleep and yawn just like the rest of us -- I asked my evaluators to keep the letters short (3/4 page maximum) for this reason. Length does not equal quality!

    -G
     
  14. ALI

    ALI Senior Member
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    Hi
    I have some LOR questions
    I have 7 letter of rec right now. all of them are pretty important. should I send them in a package to ADDSAS or staright to dental schools? I want to avoid as many error and accidence as poosible.
    Will addsas make copies of all my letters and send them to all the schools. Should I just go ahead and send them out?
    My status right now:
    application-will be done next week
    Dat-mid june-august
    letter of rec-?
    transcript-?
    what should I do, please help
    thank
     
  15. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Hi guys,

    thanks for the abundant responses. First off, I did waive my right to view my letters, and I did not get to read them. However, usually the people in the center where my letters are kept tell me via computer data base which letters have come in. This instance the lady was not setup to use the computer so she brought my file and counted the letters I saw only how long they were not the content. That was the only basis for my sadness. I guess it is better to have a short good letter than one that goes on and on about ambiguous things like the stuff I put in my personal statement, what not.

    To ALI: Send you LOR's to AADSAS and they will make copies for you and send them to your schools. I know they do 3-5 letters, but i don't know about 7!!

    DesiDentist
     
  16. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper
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    LOR blues you ask?

    Well I had one...I had a LOR from the Biochemistry Department Chair (Prof. X) at Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) last year when I applied to dental schools.

    Prof. X didn't really know me that well, but he had me in both of his Medical Biochem courses that were taught to the DO students (there were a series of two Biochem courses at AZCOM's curriculum). I didn't do too hot, I had a solid "B" (84%) in both Biochem courses, 7 and 5 credits respectively.

    When I asked him for a letter, he bluntly said, "Andy, I don't really know you?!"

    I replied, "Well, let's get to know me!"

    I told him that I had my personal statement, transcripts, and resume available if he needed read them and he can interview me at any time!

    Well, after that, he just said, "why don't you give me all the documents you have and I'll see what I can do!"

    You see, at AZCOM, Biochem is partially Problem-Based Learning (PBL). With PBL, small groups of students get to interact with faculty members quite often. See, I've interacted with Prof. X quite a bit during class as a student, but never outside of class!

    So he wrote me a LOR and gave it to me like 3 or 4 days later in a SEAL and SIGNED school envelope, which was what I had asked for (I, too waived the right to view my LORs)! Pretty cool, right!? Nice and quick!

    After I brought the letter home, I realized, hey, I can see through the envelope and actually read the letter if I apply it to a light source. The letter is a one pager, approximately 3/4 length long, folded twice into three folds.

    So I'm reading, I'm reading, then all of the sudden I came across these words....

    "although Andy does not rank among the highest students in my course, but he makes it up with his interpersonal abilities"

    I was like....WHAT THE FUC#, he pretty much said, I'm not the smartest, but heck he'll do fine since he's got the personality!

    He also stated in the letter that our class average in Biochem course were 85% and my average was a 84%! Again, he's trying to say...Andy sucked!!!

    I don't know, after reading his letter, I was really nervous about submitting to AADSAS and then ultimately to all the dental schools that I applied to! At the end, I was like, oh well, it's the CHAIR of the Biochemistry Department at a medical school, his words gotta have some pull!! I mean, if I can get a solid "B" in medical school, I definitely can pull a "B" in dental school, right? So what if my average is below the class' average and that I don't rank among the top of the class!

    So I submitted it to AADSAS and all my dental schools seem to be fine with it! Some actually have told me during my interviews that my personality does stand out as mentioned in one of my LORs!!!

    To sum up, LOR are important, but exactly how important, it varies within schools to schools! :cool:
     
  17. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Thanks Yah-E for sharing your story. Recommendations are the hardest part of the application other than the DAT. I think what makes it so hard is going out and depending on others. They are an important part, but if you have solid grades and DAT scores they are second in line. It is so important to get them from profs who really know you. Unfortunately, UW has like 200-500 kids per science class and even if you did go see the prof from time to time they would have a hard time knowing your name. Anyways, thanks for the posts. More stories would be welcome.

    DesiDentist
     
  18. racemic01

    racemic01 Member
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    I agree that letters are important, but I don't think they're second in line to your GPA and DAT. I tend to think experience such as shadowing, research, volunteering in the community, and/or leadership roles are more important than LORs. LORs can be great and profound or they can be superficial. Sometimes it depends on your relationship with the professor, and sometimes it just depends on the prof. There's so much variation in letters I bet schools are just looking for a positive letter that doesn't say "Jimmy is poor, uncaring student; please do not accept him."

    I wouldn't put too much stress on yourself over them. IMO, what matters a lot more than LORs is your interview and whether your interviewer recommends your for acceptance to the committee. I'm sure you'll do great when that time comes.
     
  19. racemic01

    racemic01 Member
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    Oh, if you want a good knee-slapper I'll tell you about one of my LOR. I didn't read it, but one of my interviewers brought it up. Apparently, one of my professors wrote a positive letter, but he wrote that he tried to convince me to go into medicine rather the dentistry. WTH?! I'm sure he threw it in to show my dedication or something like that, but I thought it was BS. Whatever, it didn't stop me from getting accepted. Looking back, I probably shouldn't have asked him.

    Like I said, I don't think letters are a big influence to admin committees. Maybe a little influence.
     
  20. portlander

    portlander Member
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    I'll share my LOR experience too...

    I had sent all the materials to my three science profs and my mentor dentist about a month ago. Without my asking, my dentist sent me a copy of what he had written about me. I was a little worried about how short it was, but when I read it, it was so sincere and complimentary, I was glad he hadn't written any more than that.

    For reference for those of you who have not asked for letters of rec yet, I was given some great advice from my organic professor. He compared letter of recommendations to the way students write term papers: at the last minute, without much refelction, and without access to other information. He advised me to supply the recommender with everything needed so that the letter practically writes and mails itself.

    He had me write him a personalized statement explaining why you are interested in the program/graduate school and why you think you are a good candidate. You need to include things that the professor might know, but needs to be reminded of...talk about coursework, experience, relevent-extra curriculars. No recommendor will use everything you mention, but you want to tactfully list the possible items to include. It sort of a thinly veiled effort to help write the rec.

    Then, I included a resume (or a CV).

    And then, it is helpful to encolse your latest copy of your transcript.

    To make it a complete package, include any forms the evaluator might neet to attach to the letter, and a stamped addressed envelope. The pre-adressed envelope saves the day it takes to have the secratary type the envelopes, etc.

    Then, always follow up with a "Thank You" card about a week before the rec should be sent out. It doubles as a sincere thanks and a reminder to the evaluator to finish his letter.

    I hope that helps someone out there!! LORs can make a big difference, especially if your evaluators know your personal qualities.

    Good luck
     
  21. grettlin

    grettlin Senior Member
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    Hi, DesiDentist,
    I had the same situation as you before. While I realized my professor only wrote several sentences in my recommendation, I was so surprised since i think he knew me (better than he didn't even know my name out of 118 students).
    I told her my worry and hope it was possible for her to write something more concrete, like "for example,.....". She felt she wanted to change it and really gave me a good one. My point is if it is possible to talk to your professor and discuss your woryy with him/her? I believe it will wokr! Good Luck.
     
  22. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Thanks portlander and grettlin,

    I gave each of my profs a stamped envelope, recommendation form, a Resume, my statement of purpose and a individual letter to each prof stating why I was asking them for a recommendation and I included other information like research and other criteria I like about dentistry. I also mentioned that if they don't think they could give me a good recommendation they should let me know. I'm sure their recs are positive, and like some people above stated a letter of recommendation should be short and sweet and to the point. These recommenders were just two science profs, I am asking my research prof and a dental prof in a upcoming weeks and making sure they add a lot of stuff to the recommendations.

    I also agree that LOR's are important but action is more better than words on a piece of paper so the community service and other activities one does should have a drastic effect on the application. Thanks again for the responses.

    DesiDentist
     
  23. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Great stories, guys. It's nice to have a topic on the predent forum where we get more than 5-6 posts, and where the posts have some substance. Oh well, eveybody is worried about applications (myself included!) these days.

    Is anybody interested in discussing bilateral swelling of the parotid gland caused by sarcoidosis? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    -G
     

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