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Letters of Recommendation for RadOnc

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keforce

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I am a M3 interested in RadOnc. Aside from the obvious LOR from one or more RadOnc faculties, what other specialty LOR are considered important. I've read in posts that M4 Medicine LOR are important in letting the admissions committee know an applicant's interpersonal/patient skills. Would you please list the numbers of LOR and which specialties they are from. Thank you.

I have gazed through the numerous posts on this forum and apologize if this post has been listed before.
 

Dwight7298

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I am a M3 interested in RadOnc. Aside from the obvious LOR from one or more RadOnc faculties, what other specialty LOR are considered important. I've read in posts that M4 Medicine LOR are important in letting the admissions committee know an applicant's interpersonal/patient skills. Would you please list the numbers of LOR and which specialties they are from. Thank you.

I have gazed through the numerous posts on this forum and apologize if this post has been listed before.

Not sure about everyone else, but my letters lined up as follows:
1) 1 from RadOnc PD at home institution
2) 1 from RadOnc at away rotation
3) 1 from medicine attending during sub-i
4) 1 from research mentor (who was in RadOnc Dept).

Hope that helps. I don't think I received any specific instructions as to whether to grab a letter from my medicine attending, but, you're right, it seemed like he could also speak to interpersonal/patient skills.

I also don't think 4 are necessary. I think 3 is entirely sufficient.
 

mikedc813

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I don't know why getting a letter from Medicine during your 4th year would tell programs any more about your clinical skills than a 3rd year Medicine letter. In the end, the money lies in high quality rad onc letters of rec.
 

keforce

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I don't know why getting a letter from Medicine during your 4th year would tell programs any more about your clinical skills than a 3rd year Medicine letter. In the end, the money lies in high quality rad onc letters of rec.

So, would you ignore getting a LOR from another specialty at all?
 

RadOncRudy

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The only reason I got/used a medicine letter was for the purpose of applying to prelim & TY programs. I did not submit this letter for rad onc programs, for those I used letters from 3 rad oncs & 1 from my research PI. Hope this helps!
 

IRISH22

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I went with the idea that diversity in letter writers is good, as it provides different perspectives. (I also happened to know that the big names at my institution write relatively weak character assessments and tend to be formulaic in their approach to these, so I wanted to balance them out with people who would say more about me). I got more than I would need, and would recommend this. I had my dean read them confidentially and tell me which were the best, and I used those.

1. Rad onc Chair
2. Rad onc former chair
3. peds heme/onc
4. med heme/onc
5. med from 3rd yr rotation
 

yeasterbunny

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The only reason I got/used a medicine letter was for the purpose of applying to prelim & TY programs. I did not submit this letter for rad onc programs, for those I used letters from 3 rad oncs & 1 from my research PI. Hope this helps!

This is what I did too. My radonc programs all got 4 radonc letters.
1. Home chair
2. Home PD
3. Home research mentor
4. Away PD
 

Cancerdancer

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I used:

1) Home program chair
2) Another "big-name" from my home program who I did a clinical project with
3) Chair from my away rotation
4) Sub-I letter from medicine, strong.

Sent all 4.

One note regarding away rotations--I did my away at a place where one of our faculty did residency. Felt this was very helpful, in that this faculty recommended his training locale as an away, and when I was receptive to it he called the chair there and told them I was coming. Therefore I already had a "seal of approval" when I got to that away, and I felt they were much more receptive to allowing me to engage with them on a small project that ended up getting published, and this led to a much better letter than I might have otherwise gotten. Would definitely recommend this strategy if possible.
 

ARB1981

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i have question regarding letters. i currently have

1. home rad onc PD/research mentor
2. home rad onc "big name"/former chair
3. away rad onc "big name"
4. medicine letter or home rad onc chair

i was planning on sending the 4 rad onc letter's, but i was recently told by another attending at an away that they expect one non rad onc attending...so now i was leaning towards using the medicine letter

my question is, will it look bad if i don't have a letter from my home chair?
 

RO2010

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FYI UPenn and Harvard specifically ask for a letter from the department of medicine. Upenn says ideally the letter be from the chair of medicine.
 

coxswain

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Quick Question: Having a difficult time finding the #number of letters to send to the programs listed below. Do any of them want more than what seems to be the standard three LOR? When they ask for three LOR, is this the exact number I should send (i.e. they don't want more letters cluttering my application file)? Much appreciated!


Ohio State University
William Beaumont
Henry Ford
Wayne State
University of Colorado
MD Anderson
Wake Forest
UNC
Hopkins
Washington University
Georgetown
Fox Chase
Columbia
Suny Downstate
 

Scatter

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You should send only as many letters as you're asked. If you send more, people may wonder whether you're trying too hard to prove something ...

Three's good. Best of luck.
 

UndecidedM3

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With ERAS submission right around the corner, I was hoping to get some input in regards to letters of recommendation. I currently have 4 letters, but on some program websites they state they only want three. For these programs, which of the following would you recommend sending if the program only allows 3 and I already have two others I will for sure send.

1. Research mentor from home medical school: this person knows me the best of all people, but is an associate professor in a different field of oncology.
2. Big big name from an away: I worked with this person for a week. Nearly everyone in the field will recognize the name.

Thoughts?
 

metview

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Hmmm...that is tough. I would lead towards sending the letter from the research mentor especially if he/she knows you the best out of all your letter writers. I would 100% send it if you have a great relationship with him/her (ie. worked on projects/publications). Was there any indication how strong of the letter it is?

Also, I never heard rad onc programs only wanting 3. I applied last year and sent 4 letters to everyone. I didn't bother to look on the websites to see how many they needed. I assumed they all had a max of 4.
 
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UndecidedM3

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I know the research mentor very well, but there was no indication of how strong the letter was. Many of the programs say "We require three letters of recommendation." Maybe I should just send four to each program? Did this seem to have an impact on your application cycle last year?
 

evilbooyaa

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3 is generally the minimum. I remember very few programs where they explicitly said to not send a 4th one. I sent 4 pretty much everywhere I applied. It's been a few years.
 

Pointless

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I am a M3 interested in RadOnc. Aside from the obvious LOR from one or more RadOnc faculties, what other specialty LOR are considered important. I've read in posts that M4 Medicine LOR are important in letting the admissions committee know an applicant's interpersonal/patient skills. Would you please list the numbers of LOR and which specialties they are from. Thank you.

I have gazed through the numerous posts on this forum and apologize if this post has been listed before.

Realize that programs get inundated with hundreds of applications that they are tasked with sorting through while navigating busy clinics and whatever else it is that the great academics do. In general, letters of recommendation are form letters that usually don't get read in any great detail.

It is generally a good idea to get a letter from either the PD or chair of wherever you rotated, especially the high end places, because it confirms that you performed reasonably well during those rotations. I think applicants place way too much emphasis (or programs place way too little emphasis) on letters of rec.

Like it or not, your board scores and number of items that you can stack under the research tab trump everything else when trying to score an interview. After that, it's board scores and personality for the rank list.
 
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RO2019

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100% agreed with Pointless. When you're on the other side reviewing apps as a resident or faculty, you'll see that what you see for each applicant are pages and pages of STUFF. You have to pick and choose what to care about. I look briefly at letters, just to get a general gestalt of where someone rotated, and if there was anything unique. Most letters are very cookie-cutter. When you look at enough letters you'll even see that the same people from the same programs write the same letters for everyone. You can even tell which 'HUGE NAMES' just have the applicants write the letters themselves. There are a few people that stick out in my mind that write unique letters, and I always looked forward to reading those.

You obviously have to get them because you can't submit your application without them, but they're pretty small-time in the grand scheme of things. Don't sweat it. Sounds like you have four letters, submit them all! Good luck!
 
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nguyencuong9102

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I don't know why getting a letter from Medicine during your 4th year would tell programs any more about your clinical skills than a 3rd year Medicine letter.
 
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