Letter of recommendation from a clinical experience supervisor & volunteer coordinator

Jul 31, 2016
24
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi SDN, I am applying next cycle and am trying to figure out what letters to get for my committee letter. Pre-med advising is not the best at my school so I have tried searching other university websites to see what they usually want in the committee letter.

In my search I found many undergrad schools either strongly encourage or require a letter from a clinical experience supervisor. Many other schools also strongly recommend a volunteer coordinator letter.
Is this the norm expectation?
ex:

http://www.swarthmore.edu/health-sciences-office/guide-applying-to-medical-school-swarthmore-undergraduates-and-alumniae

http://prehealth.cas.nyu.edu/page/application.letters

http://www.brynmawr.edu/healthpro/medicine/PremedCommitteeLetter.html

http://www.prehealth.umd.edu/letters-of-recommendation

I am hesitant to submit those because I never directly worked with my supervisors or coordinators at my different volunteer experiences so they don't know me very well. I do have extensive volunteering and clinical experiences though so I am not sure if it will be a red flag to not have a letter from such an experience.

I plan on only submitting 2 science, 1 non sci, 1 research (maybe +1 more research letter if I pursue a different lab this year). My clinical exp and volunteering are more extensive than my research but I just included research anyway. I am not sure if this gives off a "I'm more into research" vibe, I just included it because it seemed like a good option since the activity was academic in nature and it's one letter that is not from a class professor.

@Catalystik @gyngyn Could you offer your input on this? Thank you in advance.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
Unless you are working shoulder to shoulder with a volunteer coordinator and that person knows your name and can give a few anecdotes about your service, the letter will be a waste of time. Stick with the letters from your instructors and research supervisor (ideally the PI).
 
OP
F
Jul 31, 2016
24
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Unless you are working shoulder to shoulder with a volunteer coordinator and that person knows your name and can give a few anecdotes about your service, the letter will be a waste of time. Stick with the letters from your instructors and research supervisor (ideally the PI).
Yeah I did not work side by side with them. I can see why medical schools would see value in such letters if they did work directly with the students though. I am still wondering if it looks fishy to apply without such letters. Do medical schools know that many times the coordinators and supervisors don't actually directly work with the volunteers? I am just slightly worried since many respectable schools clearly expect their students to apply with letters from a supervisor and coordinator. One undergraduate school in my search said if they did not get this letter for the committee letter it would adversely affect their chances of getting into medical school.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
Yeah I did not work side by side with them. I can see why medical schools would see value in such letters if they did work directly with the students though. I am still wondering if it looks fishy to apply without such letters. Do medical schools know that many times the coordinators and supervisors don't actually directly work with the volunteers? I am just slightly worried since many respectable schools clearly expect their students to apply with letters from a supervisor and coordinator. One undergraduate school in my search said if they did not get this letter for the committee letter it would adversely affect their chances of getting into medical school.
Don't confuse what a pre-med committee at a specific school wants to see and what a medical school admissions committee wants to see.