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Apr 10, 2020
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I've been trying to gather LORs from my science professors, but have had difficulty reaching them. For professors whose classes I've taken, I have emailed them twice (a couple of weeks in between emails) but have not gotten any responses (not a rejection, but I think I got the hint?). Virtual learning has been awful and my grades are not on par with what I believed they could have been, so I have been hesitant to ask my current professors for LORs since I'm not really excelling in their courses. I don't have the mental and emotional capacity to attend virtual office hours but I have actively participated in the class.

I know that a science LOR is crucial for medical school applications, should I try to contact my current professors? What should I do if they're nonresponsive or reject my request as well?
 
Jan 21, 2021
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I've been trying to gather LORs from my science professors, but have had difficulty reaching them. For professors whose classes I've taken, I have emailed them twice (a couple of weeks in between emails) but have not gotten any responses (not a rejection, but I think I got the hint?). Virtual learning has been awful and my grades are not on par with what I believed they could have been, so I have been hesitant to ask my current professors for LORs since I'm not really excelling in their courses. I don't have the mental and emotional capacity to attend virtual office hours but I have actively participated in the class.

I know that a science LOR is crucial for medical school applications, should I try to contact my current professors? What should I do if they're nonresponsive or reject my request as well?
It's not a hint until they formally say no. Professors have their e-mails blown up during the pandemic since everything is online and they most likely don't have formal office hours where students can just walk in and speak with them. If you know they have office hours try to connect with them via zoom or if they teach in-person, try to come in at the end of their lecture and ask them. Tell them to look out for you e-mail -- give them a time/date you'll send them information I guess.

The worst that can happen is they give you a formal no. It's tough and busy with most classes being online format and having hundreds of students blowing up your e-mail since they can't readily reach you in-person.

I reached out to this one professor for research and had to e-mail about 5 times over the course of 4 months until they took me in. I have no idea if they never seen my e-mail but they're a very nice person and seem to be all over the place and super busy. I was that determined to be in their lab because I love what they work on so don't laugh at me lol.
 
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Apr 10, 2020
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It's not a hint until they formally say no. Professors have their e-mails blown up during the pandemic since everything is online and they most likely don't have formal office hours where students can just walk in and speak with them. If you know they have office hours try to connect with them via zoom or if they teach in-person, try to come in at the end of their lecture and ask them. Tell them to look out for you e-mail -- give them a time/date you'll send them information I guess.

The worst that can happen is they give you a formal no. It's tough and busy with most classes being online format and having hundreds of students blowing up your e-mail since they can't readily reach you in-person.

I reached out to this one professor for research and had to e-mail about 5 times over the course of 4 months until they took me in. I have no idea if they never seen my e-mail but they're a very nice person and seem to be all over the place and super busy. I was that determined to be in their lab because I love what they work on so don't laugh at me lol.
Thanks, that's really reassuring, but I'm just worried about getting a negative LOR if they didn't want to write one, especially since they're busy.
 
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candbgirl

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Thanks, that's really reassuring, but I'm just worried about getting a negative LOR if they didn't want to write one, especially since they're busy.
If they don’t want to write one they won’t write one. They’ll tell you they are too busy or just can’t. It’s awful to think a professor would write a negative LOR because they didn’t want to write one. I would think It’s just easier for them to say no.
 
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Jan 21, 2021
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Thanks, that's really reassuring, but I'm just worried about getting a negative LOR if they didn't want to write one, especially since they're busy.
A negative LoR is a red flag. You want a generic one at least that doesn't say "Hey, there's a reason to reject this applicant". Like candbgirl said, it's easier for a professor to just tell you no than waste their time writing a negative LoR. That's just petty and highly unprofessional. Explicitly state if they can write you a positive LoR when you ask. Good luck and work on this early otherwise they'll be flooded by application time.
 
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KnightDoc

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If they don’t want to write one they won’t write one. They’ll tell you they are too busy or just can’t. It’s awful to think a professor would write a negative LOR because they didn’t want to write one. I would think It’s just easier for them to say no.
THIS^^^^^^^. Why on earth would you think they would take the time to write a bad one out of spite if they are too busy to write one in the first place? In the real world, this just doesn't happen.

Professors know precisely why you are asking, it really is part of their job to help you achieve your goals, and most of them are very happy to help. The rare a-hole, or someone who is genuinely swamped, will politely decline (or impolitely ignore you), and will not go out of their way like a psychopath to actively take the time to screw you over. Put this out of your mind.
 
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Goro

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I've been trying to gather LORs from my science professors, but have had difficulty reaching them. For professors whose classes I've taken, I have emailed them twice (a couple of weeks in between emails) but have not gotten any responses (not a rejection, but I think I got the hint?). Virtual learning has been awful and my grades are not on par with what I believed they could have been, so I have been hesitant to ask my current professors for LORs since I'm not really excelling in their courses. I don't have the mental and emotional capacity to attend virtual office hours but I have actively participated in the class.

I know that a science LOR is crucial for medical school applications, should I try to contact my current professors? What should I do if they're nonresponsive or reject my request as well?
You wait out COVID and get better professors and LORs from them.

Sadly, you're not the only one whose career plans have been upended by the pandemic. Med schools aren't going anywhere. Delaying your app means you retire a year later. A bad LOR, or multiple "meh" LORs mean you don't get to be a doctor, period.
 
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Aug 16, 2019
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You wait out COVID and get better professors and LORs from them.

Sadly, you're not the only one whose career plans have been upended by the pandemic. Med schools aren't going anywhere. Delaying your app means you retire a year later. A bad LOR, or multiple "meh" LORs mean you don't get to be a doctor, period.
Out of curiosity how bad are less than exciting LORs given that the rest of app is very strong?
 
Dec 29, 2019
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Just know that a lot of students are in similar positions. At least you didn't take a gap year to flesh out LoRs and clinical experiences only to be hit by the pandemic, I know plenty of people who essentially ignited a year doing that at none of their own fault.
 
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Aug 16, 2019
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Given how competitive it is to get onto med school, what do you think?
I think that getting into med school involves multi-factor selection process where numbers play the most crucial role. So I believe there is a room for some hope. I am not talking about bad LORs, just not the “best student I ever had” level.
 

Goro

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I think that getting into med school involves multi-factor selection process where numbers play the most crucial role. So I believe there is a room for some hope. I am not talking about bad LORs, just not the “best student I ever had” level.
You are correct, but with thousands of applicants for only a handful of seats, any reason needed to cull the herd will be used.
 

wiseOldPT

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I'm a prof of a class with 120 enrollment (undergrad juniors/seniors, the majority going to med school, PA, PT, etc). The good news right now is it really doesn't take much to stand out. And with the names displayed in Zoom, it is easier for a prof to associate a name with a face right now. Come to synchronous class, be one of the few with your camera on, participate in class, and stop by office hours once or twice. of course, also do well in class. I know the names of the top 5 or so students in the class and could write a stronger LOR for a student in class than normal right now. They just stand out so much more.
 
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Aug 16, 2019
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You are correct, but with thousands of applicants for only a handful of seats, any reason needed to cull the herd will be used.
Okay, now I got one more source of energy to my pre med neurosis (well one more one less given how much I already have probably won’t make a difference :D.
 
Jan 21, 2021
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Just know that a lot of students are in similar positions. At least you didn't take a gap year to flesh out LoRs and clinical experiences only to be hit by the pandemic, I know plenty of people who essentially ignited a year doing that at none of their own fault.
:( happened to me. Looking at 2 gap years now, but will make attempts to apply in-state only and wish for the best with a lateish app.
 
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