AspiringDoc422

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Since it now looks like I will be having 3 online semesters in a row due to the pandemic, and I need to start gathering LORs , I have no choice but to ask professors that I have only taken online classes with for letters of recommendation. This will be my first time asking for a LOR. Would it make sense to ask a orgo professor for a letter of recommendation if there were limited office hour opportunities to meet with him during the semester? There were no real ways to get well acquainted with him due to it being a online class, so would it be appropriate to just send a polite email asking for a LOR and offer to send a copy of my resume? This is the last week of classes, so should I wait until after the final to know my grade or would that be too late to ask? Thanks
 

KnightDoc

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Since it now looks like I will be having 3 online semesters in a row due to the pandemic, and I need to start gathering LORs , I have no choice but to ask professors that I have only taken online classes with for letters of recommendation. This will be my first time asking for a LOR. Would it make sense to ask a orgo professor for a letter of recommendation if there were limited office hour opportunities to meet with him during the semester? There were no real ways to get well acquainted with him due to it being a online class, so would it be appropriate to just send a polite email asking for a LOR and offer to send a copy of my resume? This is the last week of classes, so should I wait until after the final to know my grade or would that be too late to ask? Thanks
I would avoid this if at all possible. You are going to have far more than 3 semesters completed before you apply. A LOR from an online professor you had no way to get well acquainted with is not going to help you.
 

AspiringDoc422

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After this one , I have two semesters left, one of which will also be online, so I wanted to start collecting LORs
 
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you have to do what you have to do I see no other way to get one in these times. I'm assuming the only other way is a teacher from freshman or sophomore year that doesn't know you well.
 

AspiringDoc422

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Since it now looks like I will be having 3 online semesters in a row due to the pandemic, and I need to start gathering LORs , I have no choice but to ask professors that I have only taken online classes with for letters of recommendation. This will be my first time asking for a LOR. Would it make sense to ask a orgo professor for a letter of recommendation if there were limited office hour opportunities to meet with him during the semester? There were no real ways to get well acquainted with him due to it being a online class, so would it be appropriate to just send a polite email asking for a LOR and offer to send a copy of my resume? This is the last week of classes, so should I wait until after the final to know my grade or would that be too late to ask? Thanks
.
 

anniekat2025

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I asked for (and ultimately received) an LOR from an online science class professor. I emailed her asking for the LOR and explained that I understood this was a strange circumstance given we had never met in person. She reviewed my CV/resume and met with me over Zoom to get to know me better and ask me some questions. Worth a shot to send the email and ask the question. Worst case he tells you know, best case you get a solid LOR from an o chem prof! :)
 
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KnightDoc

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I asked for (and ultimately received) an LOR from an online science class professor. I emailed her asking for the LOR and explained that I understood this was a strange circumstance given we had never met in person. She reviewed my CV/resume and met with me over Zoom to get to know me better and ask me some questions. Worth a shot to send the email and ask the question. Worst case he tells you know, best case you get a solid LOR from an o chem prof! :)
The question is, how solid can a LOR be from someone who never met you? Any decent human being would want to help, but what can the letter possibly be other than a summation of your resume, plus your grade in the class, on his letterhead?

I'd want a letter from someone with whom I had some human, in person, interaction, even if it was from freshman year. If it's all you can get you don't have a choice, but, to the extent these letters actually mean anything at all, a letter like this will not compare to those from profs running labs you worked in, or from profs you spent hours with in office hours or after class. It will probably be the rare candidate who had no choice but to get letters from profs during the 2.5 online semesters out of the 6, 8 or more than comprise their UG career.
 

anniekat2025

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I'd want a letter from someone with whom I had some human, in person, interaction, even if it was from freshman year.
Of course! We would all prefer a letter from someone who knows us on a personal basis, provided our interactions were recent enough to be relevant. My other LOR's were from people with whom I had interacted in this manner. But, if you need an LOR from a science professor (and most applicants will), and your science classes have largely been online...here we are.

I have done well this acceptance cycle, so my LOR clearly hasn't been a red flag for many schools. One LOR is a tiny fraction of your overall application. Most schools require minimum 3 and you are allowed to submit more than that. OP, don't stress it. Ask for the LOR and go from there. :)
 
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LaughingGas10

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Due to the COVID era, I suspect a significant number of required science LOR will be from online classes, in the next 2 application cycles, for students who had no other option. Havent heard much about online LOR for this cycle, since most of the applicants had taken their required classes 1-2 years ago, prior to the COVID era. But i suspect we will see it more in the next admission cycle next year and the following cycle, due to the students this year, having to have had online science classes.

ADCOMs may have to accept this as the new norm. Any thoughts from the ADCOM members @Goro @gonnif @LizzyM ?
 
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KnightDoc

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Due to the COVID era, I suspect a significant number of required science LOR will be from online classes, in the next 2 application cycles, for students who had no other option. Havent heard much about online LOR for this cycle, since most of the applicants had taken their required classes 1-2 years ago, prior to the COVID era. But i suspect we will see it more in the next admission cycle next year and the following cycle, due to the students this year, having to have had online science classes.

ADCOMs may have to accept this as the new norm. Any thoughts from the ADCOM members @Goro @gonnif @LizzyM ?
But, will it really be the new norm? Assuming things go back to normal next Fall, it's one year out of how many? Some people won't have a choice, but most will, since nobody takes all their science classes in a single year!

Remember, even last year, online didn't start until March. I'm sure it won't be fatal if you don't have a choice. I'm equally sure it will put you at a disadvantage to people with the opportunity to get better letters.
 
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Remember, even last year, online didn't start until March. I'm sure it won't be fatal if you don't have a choice. I'm equally sure it will put you at a disadvantage to people with the opportunity to get better letters.
Pretty much everyone has had the last 3 semesters (will) online prior to applying this cycle (even gap year students); it's also normal to not have all your letters of rec gotten by halfway through sophomore year...Like unless you plan on getting ALL your letters of rec from online classes, I don't see how there could possibly be this much of a disparity between letters as you are describing. If you've been on top of things it's likely you formed a decent relationship with one of your soph/freshman teachers and have TA/are TAing for them right now. Taking a gap year for one science LOR out of the 5-6 you will ultimately end up submitting sounds rash unless they are all of mediocre/"i did well in you class write me a letter" quality.

Plus, profs aren't out to get you. Talking about what you want in a letter/what they can do for you over zoom works wonders—they want to help, if they agree to write it (usually).
 

AspiringDoc422

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I just spoke with my pre health advisor, I hope to participate in my school’s committee letter process, I would be participating in this process in about a year. Is it normal practice to ask a professor for a potential letter of recommendation now but have them write and send the letter at the time of the committee meeting in over a year? Since this is what was recommended to me by the advisor. Thanks
 

anniekat2025

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I just spoke with my pre health advisor, I hope to participate in my school’s committee letter process, I would be participating in this process in about a year. Is it normal practice to ask a professor for a potential letter of recommendation now but have them write and send the letter at the time of the committee meeting in over a year? Since this is what was recommended to me by the advisor. Thanks
I can only speak from my experience and other folks might have different recommendations, but I would recommend asking for the letter now and having your prof send it to an Interfolio account. This way you can save the LOR and can quickly and easily send it to committees and medical schools going forward. I got both my o chem LOR and biochem LOR in this manner. I received both over a year before I actually started applying and it made for one less thing to worry about during the application season. To be fair, I didn't go through the committee letter process (nontrad) but I think asking for the LOR's when my interactions with the profs were still recent/fresh probably helped them write better letters.

Again, just my two cents, other people might have different recommendations.
 
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AspiringDoc422

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I just spoke with my pre health advisor, I hope to participate in my school’s committee letter process, I would be participating in this process in about a year. Is it normal practice to ask a professor for a potential letter of recommendation now but have them write and send the letter at the time of the committee meeting in over a year? Since this is what was recommended to me by the advisor. Thanks
If anyone has any other perspectives regarding this advice, I’d appreciate it
 
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If anyone has any other perspectives regarding this advice, I’d appreciate it
You are a sophomore or junior? Regardless, requesting letters early can be useful unless you plan on engaging with the professor further down the line. If you've taken one class and they've offered you a TA position, or you can take another class with them before application, the letter would obviously be better after the latter two items have concluded as opposed to asking after the first class.
 
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AspiringDoc422

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I am a junior, I don’t plan on taking another class with this professor. The advisor just told me to ask for a letter now, stay in touch with the professor, then have them send/write the letter to the committee at the appropriate time, which in my case would be Spring 22. The advisor also stated that it would be beneficial in that the letter would be more current. Not sure what to make of this, but the committee website does say that the professors should send the letters to the committee during the committee process, which would be in over a year.
 
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