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letter of recs

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by jot, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. jot

    jot

    how does this work eh? do we send seperate sets to med school at mstp committees, or is it school dependent? how many did people send in the past (just to know how many is too many)? i suppose this will be all detailed later in the secondaries, but just checking.
    thanks
    -jot
     
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  3. isidella

    7+ Year Member

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    Jot,
    I was trying to figure out the letters and it got way too hairy. I have nailed down those who are writing my recs, but I have asked them to wait to do so because many schools have different protocols, such as sending letters in the same envelope as the secondary or not, etc etc. I am really trying to be on top of things, but I ahev found it is not worth it to worry about letters right now.
    Isid
     
  4. jot

    jot

    you're probably right, i'm going to send them all generic recs (not school specific) anyway. my pi at schools a lazy bum (but brilliant guy ... hmmm) so i don't forsee him getting it done within this year if i ask him. i was more curious about how many recs people are sending in, i don't want to overkill it. i hear you about the dayquill, i took some drowsy stuff by accident and i think i'm going to pass out.

    :) -jot
     
  5. Spudster

    Spudster Member
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    I wouldn't worry too much about doing school-specific recs, unless you have identified your number one choice and really want to give it all you've got. Oh, and I would definitely recommend getting the letters written ASAP since many profs are, as you say, lazy bums. I asked one to write one for me and he didn't get around to it for 6 months. Needless to say, I didn't need it by then.

    As for how many recs, that really depends on in how many labs you've worked. Many schools "require" a letter from every PI with whom you've worked. I think the maximum number of letters I sent was 6 (1 chem major advisor + 1 science prof + 1 EC + 3 PI's) Sometimes the mix was a little different, but you get the idea. The good thing is that usually the MD people share recs with MSTP, so you don't have to deluge both offices with letters. Send the med school what they ask for (usually 3, some very adamant about it), including your strongest research letter, and send the rest of your research stuff to the MSTP.
     
  6. isidella

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    Oh, as for the numbers, I have five people lined up.
    1. A PhD evolutionary biologist-my undergrad research advisor. Pedigree-scripts, woods hole, Harvard
    2. A PhD cancer biology researcher, my PI for my research assistantship right now. Wash U, Emory, NIH
    3. An MD cardiothoracic-surgeon, first woman in American League of Thoracic Surgeons, and Director of the Cancer Center where I am now. Mayo, NYU, Sloan-Ketterling
    4. An MD Surgical Oncologist who is also my current PI. Cornell, Emory, NCI
    5. A PhD, my favorite history professor who is totally ancient, publishes something like everyday. Duke

    What are your people like?
     
  7. Spudster

    Spudster Member
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    1) PhD chemist - undergraduate major advisor - Harvard, Harvard, Stanford
    2) PhD chemist - prof for inorganic - U. Nebraska, U. Illinois, Stanford
    3) JD professor - did major EC stuff with him - UUtah, BYU, BYU
    4) MD section chief of pulmonology - summer research - UConn, Boston U, Baylor
    5) PhD HHMI neurobiologist, currently senior VP of Research at Genentech - undergraduate research advisor - UW Madison, CalTech, Stanford
    6) PhD structural biologist / director of biophysics program - current research advisor - Princeton, Harvard, Columbia/Yale, Stanford
    7) PhD philosopher - prof for several classes for my minor in chinese philosophy - UMich, Stanford, UMich

    Like I said, I mixed these up a little depending on what different schools wanted, so they didn't all get everything.
     
  8. jot

    jot

    1) PhD Neuroscience UWash,UCSF,Merck (PI)
    2) PhD Computational Bio Berkley,UT Austin,UCSD (PI)
    3) PhD Biology (Developmental) OSU, Hopkins, Caltech (former PI)
    4) PhD Organic Chemistry Harvard,Harvard
    5) PhD Physical Chemistry Stuttgardt, Planck
    6) MD Family Practice dunno
    7) PhD High Energy Physics Columbia, Harvard (but it oddly enough my history/women studies prof)

    dunno what i'm going to send though ... i figure the family practice guy is crucial, and the history/physics lady. the rest i dunno. we'll see eh? just joining the foray,
    -jot
     
  9. wgu

    wgu Senior Member
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    I've noticed that the previous postings had multiple PI's. Is having a lot of different kinds of research typical or excepted. Next summer I will have the opinion of focusing on one research area at my university or applying to programs around the country. That's why I ask.
     
  10. jot

    jot

    the two PI's that i have listed; one is a summer PI (3 summers), and i have been working under the other for about 2-2.5 years. between the two its been quite a varied experience, (academic vs. industry / computational bio vs. molecular neuro) but yet i think its important to have some a fair amount of time with them. its given me a good perspective of why i wouldn't want to go into a bigpharma setting, and why the academic setting is for me. also the lab experiences were completely different: "dry lab" vs. "wet lab".
    -jot
     
  11. Spudster

    Spudster Member
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    I don't think that it is bad to have had several different research experiences, but there is certainly great advantage in longevity because you can really get your hands on a project and see it through to some results. I chose against doing different kinds of research over the summer than I did during the school year. Yes, my list does have three different PI's, but with each of them I worked on essentially the same problem. Circumstances were such that I had to move to a different lab (i.e leaving for school, PI left for industry), otherwise I think I would have preferred to just stay with one.
     
  12. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    With research experience and PIs, it is quality not quantity that counts for MD/PhD admissions. I worked in the same lab during undergrad for 4 years (although I also had a bit of research experience during high school and with another PI for a brief one-summer stint). It can be advantageous if you have something to show for all the hard work and sticking with the same lab (i.e. publications, presentations, awards, etc).
     
  13. Bikini Princess

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    Those are some impressive research recommendations. Do you really need that many? I think quality is more important than quantity..
     
  14. Spudster

    Spudster Member
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    Amen. Quality is definitely what counts.
     
  15. jot

    jot

    nah, they are all good (i know them all quite personally) my pre-med advisor reads them for us and tells us generally how they are. she suggested to lose the PChem prof because i have so many, and the orgo prof is nationally known. hah whatever, we'll see how today goes (the infamous June 7th [on or about]).
    -jot
     

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