ferral

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Dec 18, 2006
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Hi all, so I know its early to be stressing about this, but it's much more fun that stressing about my upcoming biochemistry exam :laugh:

Ok, so I'm hoping to get some advice on this situation...

In the upcoming application cycle I will have one letter from a general practice/shelter vet who is amazing and one letter from a professor/academic advisor whom I know very well and have worked closely with.

I'd like to have my third letter also written by a vet and I am lucky enough to work for a general practice veterinarian who has clearly told me that she thinks very highly of me and has offered to write me a letter of recommendation for vet school. :thumbup: However, english is this veterinarian's second language and although she is an amazing vet, I've seen her letter writing before and... well, I can imagine what an adcom committe might think if they didn't know english was this person's second language etc. :oops: Asking her to work with someone to proofread/edit is not an option. (I don't think this would go over well) :(

I am also applying to other hospitals/doing other volunteer work during the summer and could potentially ask another vet to write me a letter, but they probably wouldn't know me nearly as well by the time LORS are due.

I can also ask a previous supervisor of a research project I worked on to write me a letter, or have another professor write my third letter. But then I would have only 1 letter from a vet.

So, my question is:
Is it better to
A) have a letter with lots of gramatical errors but written by a vet who thinks very highly of me
OR
B) to have a letter that is written by a vet who doesn't know me very well but who can write an effective, clear letter
OR
C) to have only one letter written by a vet and the other two written by a prof and a research supervisor (not vet or phD... this was in industry)

:confused:

Phew... sorry it's so complicated.
I would appreciate any opinions or ideas.

THANKS!!!
 

VAgirl

UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
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I vote option C, hands down. It's really important that the recommender know you well so they can write specific, glowing things. It's also really important that the letter sound wonderful, so I think it's smart of you to realize that, as much as this vet likes you, if her letter doesn't come off well, it might not make the best impression.

FWIW, I don't think having only vet rec will hurt you. There are some places that require 2 vet recs (Ohio State comes to mind), but most only require one. Best of luck to you!
 

mdnghtdnc

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Mar 14, 2008
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I only had one letter from a vet. I could have had another but... the doctor didn't work with me all that much. I knew he would have written a good recomendation but I chose to go with my academic advisor instead. The third letter was from my honors director.

The research I have done on LORs has prooven to be true. The adcoms are only interested in how well the person knows you and your skills. They could care less about who writes it, they are interested in the content. In order for them to know what is being said in the letter, they need to be able to read it clearly. Therefore I would go with option C.
 

winkle1983

OSU Class of 2012!!!
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Two of my letters were written by doctors who do not speak english very well. They've both been here for years, but english is their second language. They are both brilliant, the top in their field at what they do. I am fairly sure both of them had someone proofread the letter before it was sent to catch most english mistakes. Also, it was quite obvious by their names that english was probably not their first language (one spoke chinese and the other spanish). And I was told I had amazing LOR's...so don't let a little thing like language stop you. You could be missing out on an amazing letter.
 
OP
ferral

ferral

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thanks for the feedback! I'm definately thinking that perhaps a 3rd non-vet letter may be the best option.

So, one of the things I was wondering about is:
If I have one letter from a vet i only worked with for 100 hours or so + 2 letters from non-vets, will adcoms wonder why i didn't have a letter from the vet that I worked the longest and the most hours with?

Thanks!!!:D
 

Steelmagghia

TAMU CVM Class of 2012
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Just to let you know, I only had one LOR from a vet, and I made it in this cycle.
 

banditalfi

Cornell 2012
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both of my vets were english as a second language people... one of them you couldn't tell, the other you REALLY could tell. if you are worried i would just shoot a blurb in the explanation statement saying that dr. so-and-so is from wherever and you think she's great, but just wanted to give them a heads up that english is her second language.

edit: i would also call up a few schools and get their opinion on this issue. if the vet thinks so highly of you it is silly to pass up the offer, but i would just survey some of the schools you are looking at and explain the situation. my gut tells me they'll laugh and not care.
 
OP
ferral

ferral

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both of my vets were english as a second language people... one of them you couldn't tell, the other you REALLY could tell. if you are worried i would just shoot a blurb in the explanation statement saying that dr. so-and-so is from wherever and you think she's great, but just wanted to give them a heads up that english is her second language.

edit: i would also call up a few schools and get their opinion on this issue. if the vet thinks so highly of you it is silly to pass up the offer, but i would just survey some of the schools you are looking at and explain the situation. my gut tells me they'll laugh and not care.

Thanks! good suggestion. I'll try calling a few schools. :)

b.t.w. did you end up doing the explanation statement about your letters in your apps?
 

VetMed555

VMRCVM Class of 2012
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Dec 19, 2007
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I think, I'd recommend keeping your vet as a 4th "just in case" recommendation letter. Volunteer to mail it, and ask for a copy. That way, you can see whether you're ok with mailing it to VMCAS/schools or not. That only works if you're able to read it first, and if she agrees to let you mail it.

However, one of the Dr.s I worked with (my other "just in case") gave me his recommendation letter in an unsealed envelope. It was terrible! He didn't write anything about me, just took a letter he wrote for a girl who applied to a vet. TECH school and copied it with mistakes such as "I've known VetMed555 for 8 months..."--at that time he knew me for nearly 2.5 years. In the middle of the letter, instead of my name, he used HER name. I don't think he did it on purpose, but I'd much rather appreciate if he just told me: "I don't have time to write you a letter." He was also very nice when I asked him to be my evaluator, and I was counting on him. Thankfully, I had a lot of people, who could write me outstanding letters. Needless to say, that letter was never mailed.:p

Moral of the story: Be careful about recommendation letters! Just make sure people you ask not only know you well, but also are capable of writing a GOOD letter.
 

lenadeb

UF CVM Vet Student
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Apr 9, 2007
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thanks for the feedback! I'm definately thinking that perhaps a 3rd non-vet letter may be the best option.

So, one of the things I was wondering about is:
If I have one letter from a vet i only worked with for 100 hours or so + 2 letters from non-vets, will adcoms wonder why i didn't have a letter from the vet that I worked the longest and the most hours with?
Maybe.

The best LOR's come from those already in the profession you seek to enter - practicing vets and academics. I was told 2 vets and 1 academic is best, if you can.

Why not write the initial letter then turn it over to them for editing and polish/additions? They may appreciate the help. Ask and you may get what you want/need. Don't ask and I guarantee you won't get it.
 

nyanko

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The best LOR's come from those already in the profession you seek to enter - practicing vets and academics. I was told 2 vets and 1 academic is best, if you can.
Is that the same if you wish to go into academia? I didn't get in this year and my rec letters were (1) professor I had for both Genetics I (undergrad course) and Advanced Genetics (graduate level course), (2) undergraduate thesis adviser/mentor, (3) practicing veterinarian who I worked with for 3 years who's a close personal friend as well. My goals are in research/academia (in Genetics, specifically) rather than private practice, so is it a concern that I don't have 2 from veterinarians, you think?

I haven't done my file review yet and this is definitely something I'll be asking there, so thanks for bringing it up. I'm trying to compile questions to ask to maximize what I get out of it.
 

pupsforseeing

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Dec 26, 2007
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At one of my interviews, my LORs were discussed specifically and my interviewers commented that they liked the range of perspectives in my letters (research advisor, SA vet that I had worked closely with for several years, and Ochem prof that I had and then TA'd for). If I had had a 2nd vet write one, it would have been one I had only worked with over the summer, so it was definitely more beneficial for me to get the others from professors who knew me well. I got the impression at that interview that they really liked the variety of people attesting to similar attributes, strengths, etc.
 

cscip

OSU CVM c/o 2012
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I know some schools say that they require 2 LORs from vets, but honestly they say they require a lot of things... but if you just call and ask them, they can tell you what is less/more important. Sometimes you can even file a written petition if it's a school you really want to go to.

For example, Ohio State requires 2 LORs from vets and highly recommends that they both come from different practices, but they told me that that is less important than getting glowing letters from vets who know you really well (and probably, in your case, letters that are grammatically correct and reasonably eloquent). I have only worked at 1 practice, but I've worked there forever and am really close to our 2 vets. Another example I went through with Ohio State is that you're supposed to finish a certain number of prereqs before your last semester, but I hadn't fulfilled this requirement. They let me send in a written petition and accepted my application. Ohio State is the only school I got into and my application didn't meet a lot of their "requirements."

What I'm getting at is, a lot of times it's just worth calling them and asking how important certain requirements are. Chances are that if you're breaking the rules for a good reason, they will be totally fine with it.
 

lenmaca

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Anyone have an opinion on getting something for the people you ask to write eLORs for you? Maybe like a gift card or nice thank you card at least?? (This being after they submit the recommendation, of course. I wouldn't want them to think I was trying to bribe them!! :D)
 

BobDog

Penn Vet c/o 2012
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I woudn't do the write your own letter and have them sign it thing. Your letter is likely to sound eerily similar to your personal statement and your description of duties from your experience section. Plus, you never know what amazing things they may say about you that you couldn't possibly think of yourself.
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Bill59

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Anyone have an opinion on getting something for the people you ask to write eLORs for you? Maybe like a gift card or nice thank you card at least??
A thank you card, with a short, hand-written note is always appreciated.
 

VAgirl

UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
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Anyone have an opinion on getting something for the people you ask to write eLORs for you? Maybe like a gift card or nice thank you card at least?? (This being after they submit the recommendation, of course. I wouldn't want them to think I was trying to bribe them!! :D)

I sent my folks cookies from some bakery (can't remember the name anymore, but a big online franchise that people rave about) along with a thank you note after my application was submitted. They were a former boss, a mentor, and a PI I did research for, and I felt quite close with all of them. I thought that, given how much time and effort they put into it for me, I really wanted to express fully my gratitude. They seemed to really love it, so I'm super glad I did it.

I think a thank you note at least is, of course, appropriate.
 

lenmaca

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I sent my folks cookies from some bakery (can't remember the name anymore, but a big online franchise that people rave about) along with a thank you note after my application was submitted.

I think this is a great idea. Thank you!