Letters from away rotations?

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hareeese

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Another question about letters: what are people's opinions on getting letters from away rotations? I've heard some debate on this. On one side, if you're getting an ophtho letter from your home institution and another one from a place that you do an away rotation, chances that the adcom will know one of the letter writers is greater. On the other side, away rotations don't start until July anyway (at least at my school), which after 4 weeks of the rotation and then giving the preceptor time to write the letter, may not actually get to you until mid-to-late August (which is definitely pushing the time I would want to submit my application). Does it make sense to get a letter from an away rotation? In this case, would an away rotation more or less serve as the 'letter' for that particular institution? Part of the reason I'm asking is because my home institution does not have an ophthalmology residency program, and the department itself isn't very large as it is, so getting 'multiple' ophtho letters may not mean all that much. Any recommendations? Thanks!

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Send your packet in with PLENTY of time for mail delays and processing. If you can't get a letter from an away rotation in time for that then don't count on it being one of your letters. Find two ophthalmologists from your home institution or nearby private docs, whatever. Just get the application in with time to spare and still meet the deadline. That matters quite a bit.

If you can get a letter from an away rotation in time then by all means go for it if you think it will be a good letter. Just don't let the letter make your application late. Waiting for that one last letter and being late with your application can ruin it. Not having that one different letter won't hurt you that bad.
 
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Do you have to have 2 ophthalmology letters. I have started real late in the game and I only have one I could get from my home institution presently.
 
1 ophtho letter is adequate. You are much better of getting strong, personal letters from IM, peds etc rather than a second luke warm ophtho letter.
 
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Do you have to have 2 ophthalmology letters. I have started real late in the game and I only have one I could get from my home institution presently.

You can do just one, but the SFMatch instructions do say that they recommend two Ophthalmology and one "core" rotation letter (IM/surg/peds/ob). You're not as late in the game as you think, so if you can develop a relationship within your Ophtho department and get another strong letter that would be a plus, just not absolutely necessary. I did a case report, got a letter, did a research month, two grand rounds, etc - all crammed into the beginning of fourth year. A lot of us end up doing that, so don't think that you're behind in the game just yet.
 
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