nightowl

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For peds, how many letters should come from pediatricians in your application? Is it usually all of them? Last year on peds wards, I didn't get any face time with attendings; I rounded with both of the chief residents instead of attendings, and although they gave me great comments, I've heard not to use them for letters of rec. So I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to need to do extra rotations in order to get 3 letters from peds, or if I can use a letter from my medicine rotation (my attending was med/peds) or if my family med preceptor can write me a letter... I'm pretty clueless. any help would be much appreciated! thanks!
 

DrJ2B

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I ended up having 3 peds letters (one from my AI/sub-I, one from my research mentor in peds pulm, and one from my peds pulm rotation). I had one medicine letter as well.

You should have at least one peds letter (this can be from your AI/sub-I or peds elective or clerkship/rotation). If you have one from a research mentor with whom you did not do something clinical, I would have another letter from someone who can evaluate you clinically as well (could be the same person). My friend did a peds elective in the field she did research in with her research mentor so her letter was very strong, both in evaluating her promise for research and clinicak skill in the field.

I think the most important thing is that you want strong letters, and if someone from another specialty can write a great letter for you and knows you better, then that would be preferable. I had several friends who had only one peds letter and did extremely well in the match. Almost everyone from my program did not use their clerkship for a letter. Most asked for letters from people who knew them well on a peds elective or peds acting internship/sub-internship. You do not want a mediocre letter and should not try to get a letter from people who do not know you that well regardless if they are in peds or not. If you had a surgery letter from someone you knew really well, I would say use it. I would totally use the medicine letter. It also shows that you did well in other aspects of medicine, not just peds. I worked well with an attending from my medicine clerkship and she wrote me an amazing letter that was commented on during the interview trail.

Best of luck. Feel free to message me if you have any more questions! :)
 

pmpkn219

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I submitted 3, 2 from Peds and one was a Med-Peds attending who I only worked with on the Med side.

I wouldn't do more than 1 non-Peds letter, unless you're submitting 4 because there's 2 non-Peds people that can write you really dazzling letters. People outside Peds can still comment on your worth as a student and what a great person you are, but the more from your chosen specialty, the better I think... if they're good! The worst thing aside from a scathing letter (which you shouldn't ever have!) is a "generic" letter.
 

twilightdoc

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Jun 12, 2009
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Most programs ask for 3 letters, and some still ask for a "chairman's letter" or a "clerkship director's letter". My suggestion would be to have at least 2 letters from Peds and no more than one from other services. The most important considerations are that the letter is "strong" and that the letter-writer actually knows you. (This last point is one of the arguments against a chairman's letter). And the best letters are from people who have worked directly with you and can comment on your clinical skills, work ethic, professionalism, interpersonal skills, etc. Remember that a residency is a clinical/educational "job" and not a research position, at least in most institutions. If you have 3 strong clinical letters, the chairman's letter (if needed) could be a 4th. In general, letters from attendings tend to be more highly regarded than letters from residents, so I would stick with attendings if possible. There is no harm in having a strong letter from an attending from a non-Peds rotation, provided it is written from first-hand experience.
 

DrJ2B

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I agree that having more than one peds letter is preferable. If you can get more than one strong peds letter, then that is great. However, some electives and rotations are not the best for getting such strong letters especially for services where the attending switches every week. You want to get letters from people who really know you and can evaluate you in detail, period. My main point is that if you only have one strong peds letter, no need to fret. Residencies want people with strong clinical skills, people who are professional, people who are meticulous, team players, etc. Regardless of which medical field your letter writer is in, if he or she can comment on these aspects of your personality/work, then that is all that matters, because all of these aspects are present in every medical field and this can be extrapolated to peds. If you were very professional, detail-oriented, had great rapport with patients, and had sound clinical judgment in surgery, then you will have it in other fields of medicine...they are not mutually exclusive.

However, if you can choose between an equally strong peds letter and a letter from another field, then choose the peds letter. I sent 4 letters everywhere and none of the programs I applied to required a chairman's letter, which is essentially worthless unless you know him or her well.
 

jannahz

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so i only have one letter from my peds clerkship and one letter from clerkship chair. should i send these two to everyone since i dont have any other peds letters?
other letters i have are from research project, OB, and 2 IM.
I was thinking of sending a peds, OB, IM and research to everyone who doesnt ask for a peds chair letter. is that too broad and not peds oriented?
 

WhatUpDoc!

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Kind of on the flip-side, is it looked down upon to have ALL of your letters from pediatric faculty? I've done most of my rotations at a small program and I've gotten to know many of the attendings well, so it was only natural for me to get LORs from 3-4 of them.
 

SSchulenb

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Does the chair's letter actually count as a letter of recommendation?
 

bks524

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What really matters is having good letters of rec from people who clearly know you. I never cared who wrote the letters. If you were a good student that cared about their patients then I believe that carries over into pediatrics or else you wouldn't be pursuing pediatrics. I do think having one letter from a pediatrician is helpful to gage your affinitity for kids and in the event your other letters are not quite as glowing, did you shine in peds because that is your interest.

At the end of the day, do well on your rotations, respect your colleagues, and take good care of your patients. Your letters will reflect this no matter who writes them.

PS-most of these same questions are asked every year by perspective applicants. Most of them rarely affect where you end up for residency. Remember, for the most part (the majority of you) you are more in control of the process than you may believe. You will likely get one of your top 3 choices. So for the other 9 (ie if you interviewed at 12 programs) you interviewed at that liked you-they are left with their next best option.
 
Sep 8, 2009
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A bit of a dilemma.... All of the programs that I am applying to allow four letters of rec and I know it is imp to get the letter from someone that knows me well. Three of my letters are from pediatricians who know me well so I am confident that they are good letters. For my fourth letter though, I am debating if I should send in a letter from my PI( He is PhD... I worked with him mostly before I went to med school- he can comment on the type of person I am really well and my lab work but nothing about my clinical skills) or the chair person of my school's Ped's department- who interacted with me a couple of times but I am really not sure how strong his letter is going to be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

bks524

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It is ok to ask a potential letter-writer "Do you feel that you can write a positive letter of recommendation for me" (or in some phraseology). If they say no, it is better to know that in advance. Also, phd's are hit/miss on ability to write non-technical pieces. just fyi
 
Sep 8, 2009
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Any ideas about how long after a school downloads your app should you expect to hear from them about about an interview? :confused:
 

twilightdoc

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Jun 12, 2009
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Any ideas about how long after a school downloads your app should you expect to hear from them about about an interview? :confused:
That differs dramatically among programs. Some have already started issuing invitations to interview, while a few will hold off until much later, perhaps until the MSPE ("Dean's Letter") is released. Those programs tend to be highly competitive and selective, so they think that they can wait. But I would expect most programs to begin issuing invitations to schedule an interview within the next month or so. Make sure all of your ERAS information is in (other than the MSPE, which is released Nov. 1). And some programs may want to see both USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores, or at least a Step 1 score.