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LOR Requirements

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sandg, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. sandg

    sandg Senior Member
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    What type of LORs do most schools require? Can we compile a list here based on peoples' experience because most school websites that I've seen do not specify.
    Specifically, how many are required from BCPM/minimal requirement courses?
    Thanks all.
     
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  3. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    You should never send more than 6 total so you need to plan how to break this down. Most schools want 2-3 from professors, some want one from a non-science prof, although I have yet to run across a school that wants this. The rest come from your volunteer experiences and bosses at your jobs. You need to make sure that the person writing it can actually write. Some profs are horrible writers and you may not want their "help".

    Any way no more than 6. Keep that in mind.
     
  4. edfig99

    Physician Faculty 15+ Year Member

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    It really is variable by school. Most med schools that participate in AMCAS will want a Pre-Med Committee letter if your school has a pre-med committee.

    Otherwise, most schools will not really want more than 2 or 3 letters, though if you send in more they won't necessarily turn them away...they may not read them, but they won't throw them out (remember, someone has to read all of these so fewer but higher quality letters is much more important than many low quality letters).

    Generally they want 1 or 2 to come from science profs, and the rest from someone who can really comment on your abilities such as an employer or lab supervisor or advisor or someone like that. I would shy away from getting recs from core courses (even if you got an A) because my experience has been that those letters are generally useless unless it is a very small honors class and the prof knows you very well.

    Your question to your recommenders is "can you write me a strong letter" and if not, then move on and find someone else.

    good luck.
    ed
     
  5. patzan

    patzan Waiting for March 20th
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    The University of Utah is the worst for LORs. But applying there did allow me to cover my bases at all other schools. They require:
    3 from professors (1 must be from non-science)
    1 from a research experience
    1 from a volunteer experience
    1 from a clinical experience

    It is a pain, but I needed some combination of the above for all of my apps.
     
  6. I think I obtained 5 letters. 2 from literature professors who knew me really well...then one each from a bio, bioengineering and physics prof.

    Then, depending on the school, I mixed and matched. Usually I used 2 science and 1 non-science letter.
     
  7. bobbo

    bobbo Member
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    I had four letters in my file and they worked fine for me: one from a bio prof, one from a biopsychology prof (I managed to convince all the schools I applied to that this was a hard science), one from a public health professor and one from a PhD whose lab I worked in for a summer.

    I sent the 3 academic letters with all my secondaries and followed up with the PhD's letter later on (either right before or right after interviews...i don't remember)

    Where the letters come from is not nearly as important as their quality. No prof will write you a bad letter of rec, but many will write a very generic one which doesn't do you any good. Make sure the prof knows you enough to add a personal touch to it.
     
  8. sandg

    sandg Senior Member
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone--quite helpful.
    One more thing: when you say "science" is this BCPM specifically or will letters from engineering profs count?
     
  9. bobbo

    bobbo Member
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    I'd have at least one from a traditional science, but I think you'd probably be okay with an engineering prof for your other. But you should probably check with a few schools that you're planning on applying to in order to make sure.
     
  10. kiki the alto

    kiki the alto Daughter of the 80's
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    So, what is the deal with committee letters? I have two science profs and one nonscience on my committee. Do I need to get more from outside profs or will that satisfy pretty much any school? I certainly hope so...
     
  11. edfig99

    Physician Faculty 15+ Year Member

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    committee letters are fine, but they are somewhat impersonal. you want your LOR to add some depth to your application, so though you are required to send in a committee letter, I would never recommend someone JUST send in the committee letter. there's gotta be a couple of people who you've rubbed the right way (hopefully not in the way that will end up in the media) that can help add some depth to your application.
     
  12. edfig99

    Physician Faculty 15+ Year Member

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    engineering may count since most engineering courses are MUCH harder than the classic BCPM courses. If you've taken an upper division science course (in the BCP disciplines) and it's an intimate class that your prof knew you and you did well then that may be someone to get a letter with. I would discourage people from getting letters from BCPM courses like regular O Chem or Bio 101 or Chem 101 since those classes usually have 200+ people (at least they do at the big schools) and profs don't know you well enough. I've read hundreds of "letters of recommendations" from these types of profs that basically say:

    So and SO was in my organic chemistry class.
    He attended all sessions and did well on exams scoring 98 out of 100 points and earning an A in the course. This placed him in the top 5% of all students here. I highly recommend him for medical school.

    Sincerely,
    blah

    is that a useful lor? i think not. students who got these letters were much better off NOT getting BCPM letters since this one did not add to their application.
     
  13. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out
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    Most schools I applied to wanted 2 professors of science and a committee letter. If you didn't get a committee letter, they usually wanted you to explain why you couldn't get one. I would say that usually 2 science professors, 1 non-science, and a premed committee letter would fill the reqs. You can usually find the requirements of the individuals schools on their websites.

    Links to med schools: http://www.aamc.org/members/listings/msalphaae.htm

    ~AS1~
     

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