tigress

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So I figured I may as well start asking for LORs, since I don't know how busy people will be in the next few months. So anyway, I realized I don't have that many people to ask. My pre-med advisor from college wants 2-3 science faculty, 2-3 non-science faculty, and some from outside the institution. So I have some science faculty (including the pre-med advisor :p ), and one non-science, and one from outside the institution. How do people find non-science faculty LORs if they were science majors? I took a ton of humanities classes and distinguished myself in them, but I've been out of college since May and I'm sure those profs don't remember me all that well. Also, my volunteer work has been more informal, so no supervisors or anything to get LORs from. And I'm in grad school now, but I can't really ask for LORs for med school because that will be rather obvious that I might leave grad school! Also since I haven't been so happy in grad school I've sort of been a mediocre student...

Any advice? What have other people done?

[I'm sure there are previous threads on this topic; but I'm sure the discussion will help plenty of people and it's getting to be that time of year again...]
 

FaytlND

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I had 5 letters: 2 from science faculty, 1 from non science, 1 from a PI I did research for, and one from a doc I shadowed. I would say that was a pretty good combo. Realistically though, the vast majority will only require three, and if 2 are science and 1 is non science that would meet the reqs at just about anywhere.

As for what to do about the humanities, I would just write them emails. You would be suprised how many people may remember you. Even if they don't many will write one anyway if you did well in your class, they just may want you to write them a bio sketch, give them a resume, come in for a talk, etc so they get an idea of what to write. Actually its a good idea to provide a copy of your PS, transcript, etc to any reccomender. This way they can get an idea of the strong points you want to highlight on your app, so they can reinforce those in their letter.
 

crys20

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I think most people took a class, went to office hours a handful of times and emailed the prof a year or more later and they wrote them a letter. 90% of letters are all gonna sound the same anyway I think and a handful of rare ones will be from people who had a hardcore relationship with the letter writer. I stressed about it so much until I saw how willing profs were to write letters even if you didn't know them THAT well.

As for nonscience...This quarter I took a small, phD taught english class for the SOLE purpose of getting a letter from the guy no matter who the heck he was. I'll let you know in another month how that goes :D
 

vikaskoth

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its in a prof's job description to write recs, they know people are gonna ask, and that they should oblige if they know the student or they did well in their class. most proally have a standard form that they customize as much as they can per student.
 

Blue Scrub

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what you can do is perhaps write a kind of personal statement, or something along those lines that you can show these profs that you say may not know you so well and vice versa....you can say, "I was in your class back in (year), great class, I did well in your class, I received (hopefully an A). I am applying to med school and was wondering if you would be so kind as to write me a rec. Show them that PS, your other stats (grades, ECs, etc). Im sure if you did well in their class they wouldn't mind writing you a rec at all
 

DianaLynne

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Yep, these are good posts. And you certainly can't start gathering your letters too soon. My mistake in this process was getting people to commit to writing to them and then I waited too long to provide them the addresses of where they were gonna go. I was trying to wait to get a list of all the schools that I was going to get a secondary from. Well, some schools out there are so slow with their pre-secondary rejections I missed the opportunity to be complete really early. Instead, my apps completed at the same time as the August MCATers so I lost the advantage of my April MCAT.

Bottom line: start getting those letters! Identify which profs you think will be the best for your app and get them whatever they need to send their letters in a timely fashion. Good luck!
 
OP
tigress

tigress

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Thanks everybody. I emailed 5 people and 3 have gotten back to say they will write. I gave them the address and everything for the pre-health office at my undergrad. I'm still debating about whether to ask a few people. One professor I had for a really excellent undergrad philosophy course liked me a lot, but that was like 2 years ago, so I'm wondering whether I should even bother. I'm still looking for advice on what to do about grad school people. I feel uncomfortable asking them for letters unless I lie and say I'm only applying for entrance into MD/PhD here, which I'm not sure about. Also, like I said, I have been a somewhat mediocre student due to being unhappy. But on the other hand, I feel like if I don't have letters from this year, schools will wonder why the heck not...
 

getunconcsious

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LOR's are horribly annoying, and I still don't understand why people use them as a means of reviewing applications. I mean, anyone can get *someone* to write positive things about them. It's dumb because it just turns into a 'who knows someone with a big name' game, irregardless of the person's qualifications.
 

Biscuit799

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Not only are LOR's annoying, but professors can't seem to get them in on time, and then the pre med office loses them! It's like they don't even care that your life is riding on these stupid letters!
 

crys20

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Guys I have to see what ya'll think of this. My first year of college basically sucked, but my GPA is now a 3.5, huge upward trend. It really wasn't b/c I didn't try or partied or anything, I just didn't know how the hell to study and I was stressed and, well, it was an adjustment. I had a great relationship with one of my gen chem profs who I'm meeting with tommorrow to discuss getting a letter. I got a C+ though in his class. The theme of the transcript he will be seeing and my PS is about perserverence, picking up and keeping going because I knew I could make medicine a reality and I knew I could excel. I'm hoping he can highlight that in his letter...Also I went to his office ALOT, I mean he knew I really worked hard. Do you guys think this is a big mistake; getting a letter from a prof whose class you got a C+ in?
 

Blue Scrub

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wow thats interesting....on one hand you didnt do so well in his class, but on the otherhand, you and him know each other well, and he knows you are a hard worker......i'd say go for it.....he may not be able to vouch for how you did in his class, but perhaps he can vouch for your character and work ethic, especially if he sees your grades in other classes? im sure you did very well in other classes to get your GPA up to the 3.5......this is a tough one though, i guess go for it!
 

Kazema

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If you can get a really strong LOR from a professor of a class you didn't do that well in, I think that can be a good sign - if that professor liked you so much how much must the profs of classes you got A's in liked you? Of course this is irrelevant if he just writes you a decent LOR...make sure you actually ask if he's willing to write you a STRONG letter, not just if he's willing to write a letter. Some profs will say yes and just write you some generic LOR that anyone will be able to see is just a generic one.

And to the original post about humanities LOR's, if you've saved any essays you've written for a class you got an A in, you can offer to send those to the profs when you ask for your letter. If you wrote a particularly good essay, that might trigger their memory about you.