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Letters of Recommendation

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by MedPuck, May 6, 2001.

  1. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made 7+ Year Member

    232
    2
    Apr 10, 2001
    :rolleyes:
    I am applying to both MD and DO programs this summer although DO is my first choice (I just want to increase my chances of becoming a physician). I notice that each school has different recommendation requirements and most want only 3 recs. I have contacted 5 people to write me recs and I was hoping that they could send one copy to each school to which I am applying. My question is do the DO schools really get mad if they receive 2 extra recommendations than they require? Can this hurt me? I have heard that some applicants even have more than 5 sent, so if any of you are in the same boat as I am, let me know how you plan to handle this. I am applying to 22 schools in total, and live so far from 3 of my recommenders that it will be virtually impossible to sort out the schools that they should send recs to and others that they shouldn't. I was hoping that they could forward a copy to all of the schools. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance. :confused:
     
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  3. DaNugget79

    DaNugget79 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    131
    0
    Mar 18, 2001
    Woodbridge, Va
    Don't apply to DO schools and make it your first choice just to increase your chances. That's not a good enough reason. In fact, no offense, but I think it's pretty stupid. If you're lucky enough to get an interview at a DO school, they'll see right through you, as they have many other people. Maybe I'm over-reacting and misunderstood what you said, and if so, I apologize. But I've read too many of those comments and this one just put me over the top.

    And no, most schools don't get upset if you send them more recs.

    Nugget
     
  4. LisaP

    LisaP Member 7+ Year Member

    88
    0
    Apr 21, 2001
    Girard, PA USA
    I provided each of my recs with a stamped envelope addressed to the medical school. I thought it would be convenient for them to write the letter and not have to worry where to send it. It they want to use their letterhead envelopes, give them address labels to stick on the envelope. I wanted to be sure that my recs. got the letters out in a timely manner, therefore I did everything to make it convenient for them. I only used the required number of letters. The committees look at enough paperwork.
     
  5. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made 7+ Year Member

    232
    2
    Apr 10, 2001
    danugget,
    I am offended that you took my message to mean something other than it did. I know that DO schools aren't any easier than MD programs to get into so I am applying to both to better my chances. My 1st goal is to be a doctor, so I could care less about the two initials after my name. My preference would be an acceptance to a DO program because it is a more complete approach to treating illness, one that fits my philosophy and the way I live my life. Don't assume anything about my approach to applying. I just had a question about recommendations and felt I should have provided minimal background information about my goals. Chill out.

    Anyways, replies to my initial inquiry are appreciated.
     
  6. DaNugget79

    DaNugget79 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    131
    0
    Mar 18, 2001
    Woodbridge, Va
    Medpuck,
    I apologize. You're right, I was wrong - about you. But hopefully others out there will learn. I just read it way to often. Again, no excuses, my apologies.

    Nugget
     
  7. j8463dp

    j8463dp Member 7+ Year Member

    69
    0
    Apr 10, 2001
    NSUCOM 2005
    I really like the message being passed around here. This is great, considering I'll be attending NSUCOM this fall.

    I'm thinking along the same lines as you all.
    At DO interviews they really scrutinize you about being a well-rounded person who cares about people. DO's rock!!!
     
  8. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made 7+ Year Member

    232
    2
    Apr 10, 2001
    Danugget, no hurt feelings. There are many posts that get me edgy as I question the motives of those who I feel are interested in medicine for the wrong reasons (ie: financial or prestige-driven), or those who do treat DO as a back-up without being aware of the differences between the MD & DO programs. I know I may be a different case, applying to MD programs simultaneously to increase the likelihood of an acceptance at all. One's initial impression of this could very well lead them to assume that I fall under the category: DO-backup applicants, so I can relate to where you were coming from. Anyways I wish you the best and I'll surely be running into you sometime in the future on this forum. Peace.

    Another question I have regarding the letters is: Do the recommenders have to type their letters on the MSUCOM recommendation forms they claim they send prospective applicants who receive secondaries? I already requested my recommendation letters and designated MSUCOM on my school list, and I only recently read that they send out forms for the recommendations. It is very difficult to get a hold of my recommenders because they are scattered throughout the country, so would a standard letter suffice in such a case? Thanks everyone. :D
     
  9. R. Dale Jackson

    R. Dale Jackson Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    269
    0
    Mar 2, 2000
    East Lansing, Michigan
    MedPuck:

    ...I did nearly the same thing. When I applied I was 95% sure that I wanted to go to a D.O. school. I wanted my interviews to fill in the last 5%. I applied to several M.D. schools in Texas and several D.O. schools. I was/am very interested in the MPH dual degree option offered by many schools and that narrowed down my choices quite a bit. Anyway, I am a non-trad and had about 9 years of civilian and military life I wanted to cover. I actually had 2 M.D.'s, 2 D.O.'s, 2 P.A.'s, 2Ph.D's and a Hospital Chaplain write me letters. They were all people I worked with or shadowed...except for the Ph.D's, they were my physics and organic professors. Fortunately for me, my undergraduate pre-med office acted as a focal point for the letters. They collected them, attached a cover letter, and mailed copies to the schools I applied to. No one complained I had too many letters (see below regarding MSUCOM).

    ...Just in case you are wondering, the subject came up in several of my interviews about applying to both types of schools.... On the Texas application, you have to list all other schools you are applying to. In two of my M.D. interviews, I was actually the one who brought it up. I just wanted to see how they reacted. Neither one of my interviewers (one was a Harvard grad) had anything negative to say what-so-ever. They encouraged me to explore my options and choose which best fit me. They both pointed out that there was staff/residents in the hospital that were D.O.'s. If I remember correctly, I think it was brought up in three of my D.O. interviews. I basically told them that I thought it was smart to keep all options open.... No one had anything negative to say what-so-ever.... Personally, if any interviewer/admission committee would ever hold such a thing against a student, I would seriously question their professionalism. Going to medical school is a life-defining event; to not explore all of one's options would be irresponsible and ignoramus.

    Anyway, to answer your questions directly, I do not think anyone will hold extra letters against you. However, I can only speak regarding the schools I applied to. I would go ahead and have them all send out letters to all the schools you are applying to (except MSU-COM, and any others that have stringent rules)

    ...MSU-COM has a unique supplemental application. It asks you to complete a detailed listing of your work, volunteer, etc. activities, in addition to asking you to answer 5 essay questions. My supplemental typed on MS Word, single spaced with 10 "times new roman" font was 5 pages long. It is a monster and I saved it for last. As far as letters go, they ONLY accept 3 and one MUST be from a D.O. They MUST be completed on the form they send you. Moreover, it is pretty detailed--one of the D.O.'s who filled it out for me said she spent an hour on it and thought it was the most anal thing she ever saw. The persons who fill them out for you MUST know you very well so they can quantify their comments. MSU-COM, once you are deemed academically qualified, places the weight of the world on your supplemental and your letters. The last test is two 45-minute interviews. The interviews are extremely friendly and laid back. I interviewed in October and was the only one there that day. They interview often and try to keep the groups very small. I walked into the medical school and saw a sign next to the door to admissions that said "Welcome Dale Jackson, applicant for the 2005 Class." I saved about $500 by arriving on Saturday for a Monday morning interview. Three students who shared a house let me stay at their place. I met several students that weekend and I must say, "I have never met a more friendly group of people." The experience completely sold me on the school.


    Hope this helps :)
     
  10. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made 7+ Year Member

    232
    2
    Apr 10, 2001
    R. Dale Jackson,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I will certainly keep your experiences in mind when and if I am fortunate enough to receive an interview offer. It does sound like the MSUCOM secondary app. is a bit of a pain, considering I am applying to 21 other schools simultaneously. I will be an out-of-state applicant and I know they only accept <20 applicants into each class, but every chance is certainly worth it in this game. I will be prepared to answer the popular question about also applying MD if I get an interview at any DO school. Nice to hear that the MSUCOM community is hospitable and friendly. I live 5 minutes from CCOM and have met many students there and I get such a positive feeling from them, despite the rigors of their daily workload. Conversely, I work in research at a med school where the students are overwhemingly unfriendly and immature, and I am not the only one who thinks so at this particular institution. I am not making assumptions about the differences between the two med-school tracks, but I am certainly excited about the prospect of having such cooperative students as my classmates and colleagues someday in a DO program. Thanks again for your replies and best of luck to you. :cool:
     
  11. dieselkid

    dieselkid Member 10+ Year Member

    76
    0
    Feb 12, 2001
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Here's the answer to your original question. I applied to 18 osteopathic schools last year. Only a couple required ink-signature original letters of recommendation (PCOM & ??). What I did to keep things orderly was to have a file set up at the office of the registrar at my undergraduate school for letters of recommendation. They held letters until I requested that they be released to the schools I wanted them sent to. They made photocopies of the originals and most DO & MD schools consider this acceptable. Call around though. If you need ink-originals (PCOM)have the recommenders send multiple copies of the same letter to the file. Make sure the registar knows what is going on so they don't chuck the extras. Anyway, doing this will save you from a huge headache... and your recommenders only have to send materials out to one address. This is pretty much how everyone I talked to had done it in years past.

    P.S.- I skipped having people fill out the recommendation forms that most apps. come with. MSU-COM was the only school that was a stickler about their forms being used. Call the schools though...

    Good Luck
     
  12. supertherapiss

    supertherapiss Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    14
    0
    May 28, 2001
    chicago suburbs
    medpuck, i've been doing my homework about recs and i found that you should send in the number of recs as specific as the individual schools asks for. if they ask for 3 send in 3. if they ask for a rec from a d.o. physician send a rec from a d.o. but i'm still doing my homework so i could be wrong.
     

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