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Letters of Recommendation - fail

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by tsethar, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. tsethar

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    I did an internship 2 years ago for a very large and well-known animal sanctuary (I don't want to say which, because I still like their work even though I'm upest right now). I worked 40 hrs a week, for three months, doing hard manual labor, in gross winter weather over christmas holiday, assisting on all animal healthcare duties. It was an unpaid volunteer position, and I turned down a well-paying job to do the internship because I wanted to help the animal sanctuary (for the same reasons I'm going to vet school).

    While I was there I sat down with the intern coordinator and told them I was going to apply to vet school and would I be able to get a LOR from this group. They said yes of course they would keep my information on file and my performance was great.

    Now I'm applying this year, and I've called them twice (left voice mails) and emailed the intern coordinator and the main location email, all over the course of two months, and over a month later they still have not responded.

    I was counting on them! Now I have to find someone else. :mad:

    You'd think it would be in a sanctuary's best interest to help someone get into vet school who aligns with their core values and clearly states in all communique that they plan to do shelter medicine including for at-cost care for animals at said organization. But no!
     
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  3. Minnerbelle

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Perhaps you should pose as a person with an animal in need of help. When they call you back, say "gotcha!"

    It being smack in the middle of baby season and all, I'm sure whoever it is that is supposed to call you back is probably feeling really overwhelmed right now. I bet he/she's got that aching feeling that he/she needs to get back to you, but just hasn't had the chance to do it. Chances are, they'll pull through (A few of my LOR writers were like that). They know it's important, but the animal in front of them comes first, and when animal after animal comes through, you get bumped to tomorrow, and then the day after, and then the day after. It's prob a good idea to get backups tho...
     
  4. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
    Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Is it geographically near you? If so, why not stop in for a face to face?
     
  5. tsethar

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    It's not geographically near me at all, I can't visit. I did visit once last year when I was traveling cross-country, and they remembered me.

    And they don't have any baby animals. They rescue adult animals and all their residents are sterilized.

    My last email I said if they could not would they pretty please let me know so I could consider other options (I said so very politely, I hope) and they didn't even respond to that. The intern coordinator reads her email every day, she's an office staffer. Two months is long enough for them to get back to me. I figure they just don't want to, for whatever reason, and I'm moving on to plan B.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but asking for LORs is by far the most stressful part of this process for me, because it's completely out of my hands.
     
  6. Minnerbelle

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    oh, my bad. for some reason, read that as wildlife sanctuary...

    yeah, it might be good to move on to plan B, but I wouldn't delete them from your LOR designation just yet though. the vet for one of my LORs didn't submit til the day of. she had a glowing letter (too generous if anything), and i'd volunteered at this place for years. for a while I thought it was a lost cause.
     
  7. Bisbee

    5+ Year Member

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    I agree that getting LORs is the worst part. You can work your hardest and do your very best, and yet your fate is still in the hands of someone else. It's really like not having control over your own life, which is frustrating. In my own case, I put in a great deal of my veterinary and animal experience years ago which has made it difficult to reconnect with people for letters. After a while I just had to move on and make new connections with new people for the letters. It has certainly set me back in applying, but after I came to terms with my situation, it was the only real option. Nonetheless, I still will list my previous experiences on my application because they are a part of my history and a part of who I am as an applicant (whether or not I have letters from my past supervisors). So, don't let these past supervisors control you; best of luck!
     
  8. jtom

    5+ Year Member

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    I would keep being persistant and calling them every week but also assume you cannot use them for a letter and finding another source for a letter.
     
  9. nyanko

    nyanko total trash mammal
    Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

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    I'd argue that you are certainly in control of what people you pick to write your LORs though, and how you have interacted with them in the past is what they are writing about, so you're also to some extent in control of their perception of you. Recommendation letters are important for most everything; from school to jobs. And a lot of times, your evaluators will pick up on things that you totally didn't think about writing about that will strengthen or corroborate what you say about your own abilities.

    To the OP: there are still 2 good months left before the letters are due. I think it'd be wise as Minnerbelle and jtom said to move on with your other options to make sure you have enough letters to submit, but keep them in the system just in case they come through. It's surprising how "I'll get back to this person in a couple of days" can turn into a month or more when you're busy. I would also assume that they may also be writing letters for other people this cycle as well, if it's a really large sanctuary, so maybe they actually have a system for handling this in place and you're on the list or whatever.
     
  10. nohika

    nohika lurker status
    Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    I know a lot of work emails tend to get lost as spam - I've lost quite a few from my boss. Is it possible that happened? As for the voice mails...well, I agree with the others - busybusybusy. Maybe something happened and they're all crazybusy.

    It's so easy for someone to push something off for one day and end up pushing it off for weeks - I think I have a couple things that I still haven't gotten to, about three weeks late. Oops.

    I know it sucks, and I know it's really rough on you - but I agree, call them weekly, email, etc. It's possible that the emails or calls simply got lost or not responded to or not forwarded to the right people. :) Good luck.
     
  11. that redhead

    Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Another way to look at this is that for some reason they cannot or do not want to write you a letter. Is it in your best interest to keep pressing them for one if it won't be an awesome letter? No. So find someone who is superduperohboy! excited to write you a letter and help you achieve your goals.
     
  12. CurrySpice

    2+ Year Member

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    Okay, I'm going to be the odd one out here... but bugging them every week is only going to result in a rushed, irritated LOR. If she doesn't have time to respond to your e-mail, then it's likely that she doesn't have time to write you a good letter. Do you have other options? I would pursue those. You want someone who really wants to support your application, not someone who is just fulfilling yet another obligation.

    I may have missed this... but why are you leaving voicemails? Is there any way you could call when you know the intern coordinator is in the office and insist on speaking directly to her/him?
     
  13. Bigcatlover

    Bigcatlover Iowa State class of 2015!

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    All I can say is that I originally planned on having 5 LORs. I had some issues with Iowa state having a month early due date for applications, so one LOR didn't get it in on time and wouldn't respond to my emails trying to explain the situation. Another almost didn't, luckily my friend still worked for him and told him I really needed it done by that date and I wasn't just making up an early due date. Really a problem when VMCAS keeps sending them emails saying it isn't due until a month later. My most important LOR passed away before writing one for me, so that was awful on many levels. I'm just lucky I asked 2 extra people to start out with
     

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