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LOR from prof you don't know when you are class rank #1?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by twohearted, May 8, 2007.

  1. twohearted

    twohearted The whistle go . . . 2+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Kind of noobish, but I just wanted a show of hands. Who would ask a prof for a LOR if they only talked to him once but you have the #1 grade in the class (bio final semester grades)? The guy kind of knows me but I am not sure if he knows me by name.
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  3. pjl2505

    pjl2505 2+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2006
    find somebody who knows you. odds are he'll write "this person did well in my class, I don't know him/her personally," which med. schools probably will just disregard. they know you did well in this class, so what good does a rec. saying the same thing do?
  4. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    I'll answer with another question: Do you want someone who doesn't know your name to write you a letter of recommendation for medical school?

    Dear Adcom:

    Joe, I think that's his name, is a smart student, the smartest in my class, in fact. But he never took the time to introduce himself. I hope he shows more interest in his patients.


    Dr. Smith
  5. twohearted

    twohearted The whistle go . . . 2+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Ouch. That's a good point.
  6. WoodyInvincible

    WoodyInvincible 5+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    On the flip side how does it look in your application when you get a LOR from a teacher whose class you got a B in but met with several times?
  7. mr burrito

    mr burrito SOCMOB 2+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2006
    they read thousands and thousands of LORs, i don't think that they cross-reference each with grades or anything else. bottom line is to get the letters that are personal and represent you in the best light. this is also why research experiences are so valuable, as you get credit for some research and you hopefully get a killer LOR.
  8. thoffen

    thoffen Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    Why don't you sit down with your professor and let him interview you prior to writing the LOR, regardless of how well he knows you. You might be surprised how much some professors pay attention to their students. Most really care. Give a little personal feedback to him on his job, and he'll give you a little feedback on yours.
  9. crimsonkid85

    crimsonkid85 7+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    absolutely get a LOR from this professor. you don't have to ask for it now, do you? you're the #1 scorer in his class. trust me, even if you don't know him, he knows you! go talk to him. are you interested in biology? that helps even more!

    i'll give you two examples to back up my statement. a very good friend of mine scored top in a biology class of 210 premeds. she never went to a single office hour. when she set up an appointment to talk to the prof the following semester, he had already asked OTHER professors about her, and was super friendly to her, and became an invaluable advisor to her for the rest of her days in college. she will be going to ucsf this fall.

    don't like those 'my friend' stories? fine. I'll give you a personal story. I scored in the top 5 in a 150 people premed chem class. I didn't go talk to the professor much myself during the semester, but after we got our grades (at the persuasion of aforementioned friend), I went to go talk to him. I ended up working in his lab for two years, and he ended up writing the strongest letter of recommendation for me. Almost at every school I interviewed, at least one of my interviewers commented about the strength of his letter. (I was a little bewildered. He's a big name prof, and after I started working in his lab, I never saw him again, lol.)

    the point is, it is a GREAT accomplishment to score 1st out of a class of premeds. take that, and use it as a great way to get to know professors! in general, they love smart, up and coming young people, and you'll get to have a wonderful supporter during not only your college years, but throughout your medical school application process and beyond! :D

  10. twick121

    twick121 5+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    it is good to know your prof some. but i go to a huge school and this isn't always easy. so I talked to every science professor who's class I got an A in and asked them to write me a letter.

    you can tell by there response how good it will be. One prof made me write an essay as to why he should write me a letter of rec because he tries to (at most) write letters for only 5 people a year. So, with that kind of response, you know if he picks you, it'll be good. another's response was "if you got an A in my class, you are doing something right." But then i met with him twice before the letter.

    the moral is talk to them, and guage his response.
  11. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Some profs, particularly those with huge classes, will write a letter with nothing but the grade book and the syllabus. The first paragraph says you took xyz. The second paragraph tells about the course, what's covered, how many students take the course, how many years (decades :p ) the professor has been teaching. The third paragraph tells how well you did on the quizes and finals (top 5 of 500, highest mid-term exam grade of 220 student). The professor might throw in something about how hard you worked even after you had been mathematically assured an A (you didn't need the extra credit but you did extra assignments anyway). The professor might also mention that he saw you at office hours or he didn't but you didn't seem to be the type who needed office hours. Finally, the professor states that you are a fine student or in the top x% of the students he's taught here and at --- here he names another top school where he used to teach, or that he is disappointed that you have chosen medicine rather than a PhD in his subject area.

    These are the typical letters which we call "no red flags". Frankly, the red flags are 1) rare and 2) taken very seriously. Most LORs neither help nor hurt.
  12. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    Sorry, I guess that was a little harsh and unhelpful. I apologize.

    What I meant is don't ask him to write you a letter unless you can sit down and talk to him for a little bit. If you ask and he automatically says "Sure, get it to you next week," ask him to meet during his office hours.

    You probably don't want a professor to just write a letter based on your grades. If he can talk about your love for, say, science, in addition to an awesome grade, you'll have a great letter. I think that is also the general consensus here.

    Again, I apologize for jumping on your post like Steve Irwin. Congrats on doing so well in your class. I never accomplished that feat. Good luck with the application process!:thumbup:
  13. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    I got a LOR from a prof I barely knew from a class that I was ranked #1 in. She was really excited that I was asking her to do it since I did so well and she asked my TA (who I had much more contact with) to give her the rundown on me and my performance. I haven't seen the letter, but I assume she did a good job because I've been accepted to a medical school that I had her letter sent to.

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