libertyyne

2+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2015
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16,953
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Medical Student
Over the time a few of my professors asked me to draft the LOR for them. I was taken aback by this request, and wrote what ever i thought an ADCOM would like to see that reflected me. They signed and uploaded the letters. The question I have is what should a steller LOR look like? are there any examples in addition to the LOR guide AAMC provides?
 

genericscreenname

2+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2015
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I had to write two of my letters and edited a third. Some will do this on purpose to see if you can reflect on your own strengths/weaknesses objectively before they make their edits. Some just don't have/don't want to make time to write one. Sucks but it is what it is. AAMC's guidelines are pretty good imo. One letter won't fit all of their competencies obviously. Try to think from an adcom's perspective or the LOR writer's point of view for what they want to convey about you as an individual from your specific experiences with them.
 
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MYRIAD909

PhD Student
7+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2009
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Cleveland, OH
Over the time a few of my professors asked me to draft the LOR for them. I was taken aback by this request, and wrote what ever i thought an ADCOM would like to see that reflected me. They signed and uploaded the letters. The question I have is what should a steller LOR look like? are there any examples in addition to the LOR guide AAMC provides?
I've experienced this on several occasions. I'll have to disagree with genericscreenname. Referees who ask that you write your own LOR are just plain lazy. I've had Department Chairs and Section Chiefs write great LORs without any help from me. I've also had Assistant Professors (with presumably much more "free time") who have consistently asked me to write my own.

My best advice in this situation is to follow this general template:
Paragraph 1 - "Dear Admission Committee Members: It is with great pleasure that I write a letter in support of libertyyne's application to your medical school program. I am a..." Go into detail about the Referees title, position (especially if they are endowed), grant funding situation/lab size (if applicable). Don't skimp on this first paragraph. ADCOMs really want to know how important this person is.

Paragraph 2- I usually give a brief background as to how we met (from the Referees perspective of course). Follow with a brief description of your personal accolades and educational background. Keep this part short, no need to re-write your CV.

Paragraph 3- Hit as many of the key points from the AMCAS LOR guide as possible. Keep it specific to your program of choice (MD, MD/PhD, etc). If applying to MD/PhD, you'll need to lay on the research accomplishments pretty thick. Use as many superlatives as possible while still keeping it professional.

Paragraph 4-Briefly discuss your personal attributes which make you a great candidate (warm, down to earth, unconditionally generous, etc.) One of the best lines I read was "..he will be the kind of physician I would be comfortable seeing myself."

End with a really strong statement of endorsement. Something like, "Please feel free to contact me directly if there is any hesitation in accepting libertyyne to your program."

Include a full signature with title, position, department, phone #, etc. Don't forget to make sure the final contains a signature and official letter head.

The key here is quality over quantity. Good luck!
 
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libertyyne

libertyyne

2+ Year Member
Mar 5, 2015
9,609
16,953
Status
Medical Student
I've experienced this on several occasions. I'll have to disagree with genericscreenname. Referees who ask that you write your own LOR are just plain lazy. I've had Department Chairs and Section Chiefs write great LORs without any help from me. I've also had Assistant Professors (with presumably much more "free time") who have consistently asked me to write my own.

My best advice in this situation is to follow this general template:
Paragraph 1 - "Dear Admission Committee Members: It is with great pleasure that I write a letter in support of libertyyne's application to your medical school program. I am a..." Go into detail about the Referees title, position (especially if they are endowed), grant funding situation/lab size (if applicable). Don't skimp on this first paragraph. ADCOMs really want to know how important this person is.

Paragraph 2- I usually give a brief background as to how we met (from the Referees perspective of course). Follow with a brief description of your personal accolades and educational background. Keep this part short, no need to re-write your CV.

Paragraph 3- Hit as many of the key points from the AMCAS LOR guide as possible. Keep it specific to your program of choice (MD, MD/PhD, etc). If applying to MD/PhD, you'll need to lay on the research accomplishments pretty thick. Use as many superlatives as possible while still keeping it professional.

Paragraph 4-Briefly discuss your personal attributes which make you a great candidate (warm, down to earth, unconditionally generous, etc.) One of the best lines I read was "..he will be the kind of physician I would be comfortable seeing myself."

End with a full signature including title, position, department, phone #, etc.
Thank you, I assumed this was the case. People are busy, writing LORs is such a low priority for most professors.