Letter of Recommendation - Summary

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Knight_MD, May 7, 2007.

  1. Knight_MD

    Knight_MD Member
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    This is my 1st LOR....

    I've recently just spent 2 great months at our Surgery department. I gave a pretty solid and unique impression, and have recently asked one of the Professors with whom I've had most contact to write me a LOR. Of course he told me to write it myself, then he'll modify and sign it for me.

    The letter was really strong, and his modifications actually made it even stronger. Except for one issue:

    In the summary (most imp part), he won't say I was the "best intern he has ever worked with" :) Alright I can live with that... He says he can write I'm "one of the best 3-5"....or "one of the best"...

    Now considering this is the 1st LOR I've ever acquired, and probably my strongest and most sincere, which is better?

    "is one of the best interns I've ever worked with"
    or "is one of the best 3 (or 5) interns I've ever worked with"

    He's letting me make the choice, and knowing how imp. the summary portion is in a LOR, I'm hoping you guys could help me on that.

    By giving a number, I fear it will draw attention to the fact he hasn't written "the best".... However, "one of the best" is pretty solid, if not comparative or specifying.

    This may seem pretty MINOR... but for us IMGs, landing on a residency is really, really difficult. I really want to have a competitive application...

    I should have it signed in 2-3 days, so plz let me know what you think asap.

    Also any suggestions regarding LORs in general are MOST welcome.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick!
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    I don't think there's much difference in that subtle language. And I certainly don't think too many PDs would take "best intern I have ever worked with" very seriously. How many has he worked with? Why are you the best?

    I think "one of the best" is fine. I don't think there is any real way to quantify such a statement.
     
  4. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I agree with Bertelman - go with "one of the best". There's no need to quantify it.
     
  5. Knight_MD

    Knight_MD Member
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    Sounds much better..

    However it was this person's site (University of Colorado) about LORs that made me worry:
    http://www.psichi.org/pubs/articles/article_48.asp

    About the "summary" portion, he says:
    so having read that, is quantifying it that important?
     
  6. lloyd braun

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    That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. It disgusts me to think of all the BS that gets written in these LORs. I mean, to say that no one is ever not in the top 10??? That's just crazy. Talk about taking the integrity out of the whole process.

    In regard to your LOR, I will reiterate what has been said already. Don't stress out about the subtleties of language.
     
  7. Bitsy3221

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    You have to consider the source. This website is published by someone guiding undergraduate psychology students and professors on writing LOR to get into graduate school. I mean, he even said in the second sentance of the article "this isn't brain surgery."

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Stop stressing--it sounds like you are going to get a perfectly good LOR. :) Good luck.
     
  8. Knight_MD

    Knight_MD Member
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    Thanks.... "one of the best" does sound A LOT better....

    I just didn't want a great letter with a screwed up "summary".... I just changed it before having it signed :)
     
  9. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I wouldn't worry too much about it. As noted above, the website you referenced is for undergrad psych students and the standards may be very different. Physicians probably aren't that likely to read into any subtext in your letters or to worry about it.
     
  10. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
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    if a letter were to say "the best" then that'd probably give it less credibility. as noted above, as good as you may be, to say a candidate is the best ever sounds almost silly - kinda like a 12 year old saying someone is their "best friend." if you really are the absolute best there are better ways to phrase it, but using that exact language just comes across awkwardly. "one of the best" not only sounds better, but it also sounds more realistic and is likely to get you more props from readers.
     
  11. eastcoastyall

    eastcoastyall Wisdom Onslaught
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    Even with "one of the best" in there, it sounds like you will have yourself a great letter. Be proud of the hard work it seems that you have put in...
     
  12. Knight_MD

    Knight_MD Member
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    Thanks... I really did put a lot of work into the time I spent with this professor. And you know what? I wasn't even planning on getting a LOR out of him during these couple of months till the very last day with him, standing during a Whipple operation he was performing, 6 hours into the operation when all the bright ideas start popping up... :)

    All I had in mind was leaving a good impression on a Prof. But then the devil in me thought, why not get this "good impression" in writing? :D

    And thanks a lot for the credibilty heads up. It really does make sense. Having a non-American LOR with "the best" in it definetly throws it down the drain....

    I'm really glad you guys chipped in....
     

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