Letters of Recommendation

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hit it, H
10+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2008
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I was reading a thread in the What are my chances forum, where an applicant expressed concern as to whether their LORs would limit their acceptance to some school. The TS also had a 4.0GPA and a 37 on the MCAT. My question is would a subpar letter of recommendation ever negate a high gpa and mcat score?

I was talking to my pre-health adviser, who is also on the admissions committee for my uni for medical school, and he said that it's almost impossible to get a hurtful letter of recommendation, since even if its from a completely random professor, they'll use your resume or CV and expound on your gpa, class selections, mcat scores, clinical experience, research and ECs to create a filler letter. Rather, he said that he views LORs as sort of tie-breakers, to distinguish candidates who have similar traits since a LOR really has no connection to medical school success. It can reveal your motivation and drive, but so does the hours you've spent volunteering and the grades that you receive, to a far more conclusive end.

What my advisor says makes sense to me, but I'm curious as to what your opinions are on this and what your advisers say about LORs?


Full Member
10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
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Sure, a bad or lukewarm LOR could certainly hurt your chances.
One that says the standard stuff (i.e. rehashes your resume, etc.) isn't going to hurt but may not help a ton either, unless it's from one of the faculty at that particular med school where you are applying, or someone they know.
A glowing LOR certainly can help your chances, but really only if you meet the academic standards (i.e. GPA and MCAT) for that school.