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LOR from Father-in Law?

T12

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    Ok, before this gets blown out of the water, I should put some qualifications on it:

    1)I'm not married yet, just engaged.

    2) By the time I apply, he will have been my F-I-L for about a year.

    3) He was my primary inspiration for originally choosing this career path. A world-renowned physician I'm sure some of you have heard or read about referred to him as "the quintessential doctor" in private. (That physician's son told me that, I've only met the famous physician once.)

    4) He graduated at the top of his class from the best school in my state. Extremely well respected at that school.

    5) No one knows me or my motivations better than he does.

    6) Having his recommendation would mean so much more to me personally than from anyone else, because he knows me so well.

    7) This wouldn't be the only letter, obviously. Most likely a professor and another physician.

    What do you think? Would his ties to me through family invalidate his opinion?
     
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    loganhayes

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      Do you volunteer at his office? If possible, he can talk about you as a professional acquaintance, how great you are etc etc. But he might want to leave out the "future in-law" stuff. Basically, leave out the details about being a relative/friend/or anything personal. If he can give you this kind of LOR, his letter will be great. Otherwise, it will have little bearing, if any, for your med school application. In other words, if med schools ask for 3 LORs, his letter cannot be counted. You still have to provide 3 other LORs even though you can include his.
       

      T12

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        No, that doctor referred to him as that...I met that guy once...

        I've known the man I'm talking about since I was 16.


        And I've shadowed him a little, with the opportunity to do more or even possibly work for him, though I really want to make my own way in that regard.
         

        [pj]

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          3) He was my primary inspiration for originally choosing this career path. A world-renowned physician I'm sure some of you have heard or read about referred to him as "the quintessential doctor" in private. (That physician's son told me that, I've only met the famous physician once.)

          No, that doctor referred to him as that...I met that guy once...

          I've known the man I'm talking about since I was 16.


          And I've shadowed him a little, with the opportunity to do more or even possibly work for him, though I really want to make my own way in that regard.

          I don't quite understand. Is statement 3 referring to your F-I-L or someone else? It's pretty ambiguous.

          Otherwise, I'd say that it's probably inappropriate.
           

          HumidBeing

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            [pj];6597883 said:
            I don't quite understand. Is statement 3 referring to your F-I-L or someone else? It's pretty ambiguous.

            Otherwise, I'd say that it's probably inappropriate.

            I believe the OP is trying to say that he once met a renowned physician who described his/her future FIL as "the quintessential doctor."

            The potential LOR would be written by the FIL, not the Dr. who spoke of him.

            It WAS confusing.

            Since there would be a familial relationship when the LOR's were submitted to the schools, it would be inappropriate to use one from him. The OP could speak of him freely in his PS, though.
             

            bishr

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              There is obviously a conflict of interest here. I don't see any problem with him writing your letter as long as you have him or your adviser declare CLEARLY somewhere OBVIOUS that there is a conflict of interest, followed by persuasive reasoning why, despite the conflict, the school should be interested in hearing what he has to say. In general, if you use that letter, your starting off with one strike against you.
               

              LizzyM

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                You are getting good advice here but I will chime in. Don't use a letter from your father-in-law. Every LOR opens with how the writer knows the applicant. Getting a letter from a someone who knows the applicant because they are neighbors or because the applicant is his kid's roommate/friend/lover is always a turn off. I can remember ROTFLMAO when I read a letter from an orthopedic surgeon who wrote "George is an upstanding young man and I hope that someday he will be my son-in-law." There is just so much conflict of interest in a letter from someone in that position that we just can't take it seriously and it raises doubts about the judgment of the applicant (in having chosen to send such a letter).
                 

                flip26

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                  Here is the way to test the appropriateness - have your future FIL explicitly state the relationship via marriage within the letter.

                  Otherwise, you were not implying that you would somehow have him leave this out of the letter, right?

                  Surely you must know that this is a bad idea.

                  Finally, med schools aren't interested in letters like these (ones from physicians you shadowed, or physicians you have a personal relationship with, and certainly not glowing letters from relatives, especially if you are hiding the relationship)...this is why almost all med schools define the kinds of letters they want from you - typically 2 science profs, maybe 1 humanities prof, an employer or research supervisor, etc.
                   

                  OofWillis

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                    Is he willing to write you a letter? You might want to talk to him first and see if he thinks there is a conflict of interest there. If he's willing, I'd definitely accept it and count yourself as very fortunate to have such a connection. I also don't think you have to mention your future relationship to him either. He many deem it necessary to include it in his recommendation, but that's up to him. In the end, many applicants have connections that help them get into medical school that they don't have to report. If he knows you well and will write a good letter, why not take advantage?
                     

                    T12

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                      Thanks for the input all, and I apologize for the ambiguity of that bit in the original post, but you nailed what I was trying to get at.

                      I never intended to disguise my relationship to the man in an application, I would have been completely forthcoming with the situation. I suppose what I was hoping was to negate the apparent conflict of interest by addressing it directly and being completely open about the situation.

                      It would sort of be like saying "Yes, he is my father-in-law, but he is writing you because he can tell you better than anyone else in the world why I would make a good doctor"

                      I realize its a stretch and I probably won't use his letter anyway, but I would feel a little bit robbed of the opportunity to have a letter that truly reflects my intentions and motivations.

                      I guess I'm just hoping.
                       

                      cpants

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                        I think a better strategy would be to have him call some of his connections at the university and talk you up to them. If he's as respected as you say, it will probably get you an interview. After that you are on your own.
                         
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                        littlealex

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                          Just a quick note here, you mentioned you'd use your father inlaw's letter, a professor, and another physician as your letters of rec.

                          Do you realize you should have about 2 science professor letters, and 2 nonscience professor letters to satisfy most school's LOR requirements? Letters from physicians supplement your letters but don't replace the important ones.

                          Some context clues in your posts suggests that you don't have your sh!t together. Are you applying this cycle?
                           

                          LizzyM

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                            May I suggest that rather than a LOR which is too biased to be useful because it is written by a close relative by marriage, that you ask the good doctor to help you write your personal statement. If he knows so much about your motivation and suitability for medicine, he may be able to help you express that in an essay that sounds good to his generation of physicians (which is the audience you are writing for).
                             

                            T12

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                              Next cycle, not this one...

                              And as far as I know, 2 science professors and 1 non-science is sufficient in my state, but if not, I have good relationships with all my professors: small school.

                              I suppose I could ask him to call and "talk me up" but I always kind of viewed that as low. Figured a more direct and professional method would be preferred.

                              And thanks for the input, I've already asked him to review my PS (when it gets written, of course, only notes and ideas at this point)
                               

                              FrickenhugeMD

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                                How would the adcoms know that he is your future father-in-law?

                                2) By the time I apply, he will have been my F-I-L for about a year.

                                Easy answer. She would be marrying the guys son, so they would all have the same last name :p. That might be a dead giveaway that they are related
                                 

                                OofWillis

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                                  Easy answer. She would be marrying the guys son, so they would all have the same last name :p. That might be a dead giveaway that they are related

                                  Wow, I hope this is a joke. Where I'm from, the girl usually takes the guy's last name, not the other way around. There's no way the ADCOMs would know they were related unless the FIL or the applicant told them.
                                   

                                  T12

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                                    Yeah..so umm...just to clarify, I' a guy.

                                    And I would be open about the relationship as I plan to include his influence in my PS. Not looking to deceive...just wondering if it would be appropriate in any situation.
                                     

                                    Kateb4

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                                      Yeah..so umm...just to clarify, I' a guy.

                                      And I would be open about the relationship as I plan to include his influence in my PS. Not looking to deceive...just wondering if it would be appropriate in any situation.

                                      Inappropriate all the way. All of the secondaries that I got requesting a LOR specifically stated that the letter not be from someone related to you in any way. Even if he is just a FIL, it is in his interest for you to get into med school, and he is biased. I agree with the above that he can assist you in writing your PS or maybe he is friends with another doc that you could meet and get a letter from.

                                      If her were to write a letter for you, he would have to be honest about his relationship with you, and even if there was some disclaimer about how he knew you before the marriage, the recommendation would be completely discredited, and even frowned upon by some.

                                      Anyways, you can list him as someone that you have shadowed if you want to get his name on your application (presuming you did shadow him). Best of luck to you!
                                       
                                      Ok, before this gets blown out of the water, I should put some qualifications on it:

                                      1)I'm not married yet, just engaged.

                                      2) By the time I apply, he will have been my F-I-L for about a year.

                                      3) He was my primary inspiration for originally choosing this career path. A world-renowned physician I'm sure some of you have heard or read about referred to him as "the quintessential doctor" in private. (That physician's son told me that, I've only met the famous physician once.)

                                      4) He graduated at the top of his class from the best school in my state. Extremely well respected at that school.

                                      5) No one knows me or my motivations better than he does.

                                      6) Having his recommendation would mean so much more to me personally than from anyone else, because he knows me so well.

                                      7) This wouldn't be the only letter, obviously. Most likely a professor and another physician.

                                      What do you think? Would his ties to me through family invalidate his opinion?


                                      If you don't share a name and you're not married to his daughter yet, he's not family. I'm sure he's done this often enough before to know what to downplay and what to focus on.

                                      If you're forthcoming about the relationship, then no, that would be stupid and a waste of both of your times.
                                       
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