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LORs: Screwed? You Decide.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by durfen, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    So I have a problem:
    I'm applying to all cali schools and about 8 out-of-state schools, backups like Utah, and top like WashU and Harvard. The problem is some require, and others recommend, that I have 2-3 LORs from profs. who have taught me. I have 4 research LORs from profs. (both PhD and MD) who I've worked with more or less for 4 years with pubs. I have also one clinical from shadowing and one from humanities. Any science lecturer LOR that I manage to scrape is at worst going to be mediocre and at best going to look like the letter writer doesn't know me (which he will not). So far I've sent emails out to TAs that (should) know me...see if I can get TA LORs cosigned by the prof, but that hasn't met with any success so far. I might be able to get a good rec from a pass/fail bio lab class where, guess what I was doing? That's right, an independent project, no academics there.

    Question:
    (drum roll)
    How done in am I? I know I should call the individual schools, but I was looking for a more general idea as to how much this might hurt my application i.e How much do they weigh the lack of science lecturer LORs when they have the MCAT/GPA and they are replaced by really good recs from other profs?

    Ugh, sorry for the long rambling post.
     
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  3. Sekiray

    Sekiray Member
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    dude im pretty sure they count research LORs the same as class LORS for UCs if my memory serves me right
     
  4. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Called UCSF an hour ago...and no. Given your post though, I might call again and totally confirm.

    Damn that post could have been a lot shorter. I sound like a whiny-baby. Oh well.
     
  5. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    Utah definitely does NOT accept research letters in lieu (spelling?) of a letter from a professor that "taught you in a classroom setting and assigned you a grade for credit.."

    Not only that, but they require 3 professor letters: 2 science, 1 non-science.

    They also require a community service, clinical experience, and research in addition for a total of 6 letters.

    In my opinion, that's a pretty stringent LOR requirement from a mediocre school. (I'm allowed to call it mediocre because it is actually my top choice. I'm a resident, have done 2 summers worth of research up there, and love the school environment/teaching philosophy...)
     
  6. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Well they don't require one of each, just three 'supervisor' letters, of which I have plenty. I need 2 more lecturer ones though. How will not having any science lecturer ones affect the app at schools that do not have the requirement (like Stanford which just requires that they 'know you well')?

    I really like Utah as well, and it is my top OOS 2nd-tier choice
     
  7. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Shameless bump.
    Any other opinions?
     
  8. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    This question's come up a lot, and from what I've gathered it depends on the individual school. Apparently Northwestern lists the "LOR from a professor who gave you a grade" requirement but someone called them and they said they'll accept a research letter as long as its of comparable quality. Other schools, such as NYMC, require you to enter a grade (it can be a research LOR but you must have gotten credit for a grade).
     
  9. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Thanks, I can freak a little less now. As my AMCAS submission twin, you should know.
     
  10. Mleung39

    Mleung39 Mleung39
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    There are some schools that give you the option of which letters to send in depending on whether or not you're traditional or non and even some that give you a space that lets you say why you're not turning in the required letters. You can argue that the researchers know you better, etc. or something other "good" reason.
    I know someone that did that and they got in. They were out of school for a few years though so that might have been the reason.
     
  11. Coming from a Utah resident:

    This has already been said, but I'm seconding the facts here. You need 6 specific letters for the University of Utah.

    1-3) three letters from professors that taught you in a classroom setting and assigned you a grade. At least one of these must be a science professor.
    4) someone who supervised you in a patient care setting
    5) someone who supervised you in a volunteer setting
    6) someone who supervised you in a research setting

    If you don't get all 6 letters, they won't even look at you. Not only that, but your letters supposedly have to clearly state what letter it is (i.e. your research letter must specifically state that the writer supervised you in research). They don't want committee letters either. If you ask me, this is absolutely ridiculous. I mean, what if every medical school in the country went around making up all kinds of crazy requirements like this? Applying would be an even bigger mess than it is at the present time. To add to the nutiness at the UofU, check out the link below and look at the "criteria" secton.

    However, I aimed for this goal, got the letters, and I'm very glad because it forces you to make your application very well-rounded. I'm not going to go to the UofU, but aiming for it will help me get in elsewhere. I guess that's the bright side.

    If you don't believe me, follow this link:
    http://uuhsc.utah.edu/som/admissions/brochure.html
    and read carefully under the "letters of recommendation" section.

    Hope this helps someone!
     
  12. utah07

    utah07 Junior Member
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    They do require three "supervisor" letter but there MUST be one from each of those areas (community service, patient exposure or physician shadowing, and research) along with the three from professors which you have taken a class from (2 science and 1 non-science). But if you have more besides those six that is completely fine but you have to be able to meet those minimum requirements. The Utah SOM has one of the most stringent LOR guidelines of almost any school. I am also an undergraduate at the University of Utah applying this summer and have heard the assistant dean of admissions talk about this specific topic several times. If you don't have those letters, they will not grant you an interview. Also, unless you are from Utah or have strong ties to Utah, it's going to be extremely tough to get in(except for people from ID because they have eight to ten spots allocated to ID residents).
     
  13. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    I'm applying MD/PhD there. That makes a difference on the residence front, I think, but don't know the situation on the recommendation front.

    Dammit. Thanks for the advice guys, why I love these forums.
    That said, apart from schools that have requirements, do schools that don't specifically require lecturer recs look a lot down upon not having one?
     
  14. utah07

    utah07 Junior Member
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    Oh that might be different Im not quite sure how the MD/PhD LORs work but I think it might be the same including the eight criteria that they evaluate on although they put more emphasis on the research aspect. My PI is on the admissions committee for the MD/PhD program and I hear they really grill the applicants in their interview (well the people on the PhD part of the committee).
     
  15. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    :scared:
    For a school ranked 50th in US News they sure are stringent. But yeah, MSTP interviews will be hard in general, but they won't ask why you want to be a PhD, they'll ask why you used that particular method for that particular...etc.etc. Basically a PhD defense of your non-PhD research.

    EDIT: And go to sleep. I am.
     

  16. You know, take it for what it's worth, but if I were you I'd just get any ol' science prof that you took a class from to write you a letter. If it's not that great, oh well. You filled the requirement and I think that the schools should understand that sometimes the professors just don't get to know the students. Some may disagree with me about this.

    BTW, I do believe that you're right about how being a Utahn or having ties to Utah doesn't apply to MD/PHD applicants, but I can't see it on their site right now...
     
  17. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Yeah, but if there isn't a requirement at a school, I sure as hell don't want to waste a research letter of rec. For example, I called Harvard, their rec requirement on the website isn't stringent. Guy said they would rather have one from a prof who knows you well.
    God I can only send one to Utah? Damn.
     
  18. I wish! I'm doing a very boring graveyard shift at work. You think I cruise SDN all night for fun!?!?

    Lucky dog, I wish I could hit the hay sometime before daylight...
     
  19. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Haha, well I only slept 4 hours last night. Tonight another 4. At least you get to sleep during the day.
     
  20. utah07

    utah07 Junior Member
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    I think the questions that they ask differ because you meet with each person separately for the PhD. I know that one of the interviewers asked an applicant why they wanted to do a PhD when many MDs nowadawys can do most of the same things in regards to research and when they said something about the free tuition, the interviewer when ballistic. So I wouldnt mention that. Good thing im not md/phd cuz I think that would be a major factor for most people.
     
  21. nekrogg

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    uh do they really? i must have missed it on the secondary.
     
  22. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    My bad...it's the number of credit hours and the course number. Still, it requires that you have taken a class with the prof, or at least received credit for research.
     
  23. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I either wish I had your GPA/MCAT, or I'm glad I don't have your optimism....
     
  24. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Haha, my optimism's been beaten out of me. Time to look for more backups I think, but then again, the schools I've applied to are schools I'd go to. My GPA/MCAT are 3.5/39. ECs pretty much described in the first post.

    Today's job: Draft general email to all science professors I got a B+/A with.
     
  25. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    Just get a committee letter!
     
  26. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    :(
    What committee? :(
     
  27. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    Just checked NYMC's secondary instructions which say:

    You do not need to send any letters except for a committee letter from your school. ;)

    Other schools such as PSU and GW only have this requirement too... i'm sure there are many others, but I haven't completed many secondaries yet. :rolleyes:
     
  28. burntfries

    burntfries Senior Member
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    he probably means that his school, like many schools, doesn't have a pre-med committee. not all of us are that lucky, so it's not a universal answer to all LOR problems :p
     

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