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LOR's

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mistress S, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S
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    Hi, I was just wondering if people usually send thank you notes or cards to people who write their recommendation letters, or if it is considered enough to just send an e-mail. I'm asking because one of the doctors I did research with finally sent in my LOR and I have already e-mailed her twice to thank her, so I'm not sure if I should also send a card or if that would be overkill. Also, my school has a pre-med committee that asks for six (!) letters from profs at the university, plus as many outside letters as you want, so I am looking at asking ~9 people total to write letters for me. That's a lot of thank you cards- some whack ****, yo. ;)
    I will probably send them anyway, I just wondered what the proper etiquette is when it comes to LOR's. I hate asking for them, by the way, even from people that I know will probably be happy to write them for me. The whole process just makes me uncomfortable.
    On a side note, I just faced the worst temptation today. At my school's pre-med office, they keep the LOR's they've received for students in an unlocked file, and the secretary is constantly out of the office, leaving it open and unattended. Today, I was waiting there for >15 minutes to schedule an advising appointment, and just eyeing that file the whole time. It's not that I think any of the letters people have written for me aren't good- although unless they give you a copy you can't really be sure- but I am so curious to see what people have had to say about me. It kind of sucks that you can't even see such an important part of your application- you could have some lukewarm letter in it that could seriously affect your application and not even know about it. Anyway, I managed to resist the evil lure, for now at least.:clap: Satan, get thee behind me.
     
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  3. Street Philosopher

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    wow that's a lot of letters. i sent handwritten thank you cards for my writers. hopefully that made up for my weekly pestering. ;) the whole asking thing is the worst part of the process for me so far, but it actually turned out not to be a big deal. also, in most cases, writers will be writing a full page, so the least you can do is write something short and personal for them in return.
     
  4. STi555

    STi555 Senior Member
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    I'd say go for handwritten letters. I also like the thank you card because it serves as a reminder in case the professor hasn't written the letter yet.

    I know what you mean about wanting to see the letters. I think they are going to say good things, but I really would like to see the letters just because I want to know what they think of me and because I want to factor in the letter into how strong I think my application is.
     
  5. Street Philosopher

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    i'm super curious what they wrote also. none of my writers even thought about showing me. i guess they take this stuff kinda seriously, which is fine with me. i also don't think them not showing you is any indication of the quality of letters. not that this was mentioned, but i'm sure a lot of people had similar thoughts at one point or another...
     
  6. ucdbiochem

    ucdbiochem Senior Member
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    i would just go ahead and take a quick look at the LORs. i don't see anything wrong with it. if you know there are some bad ones, then you can always go get some better ones. if not, you're simply turning in a rejection letter, not LOR.
    good luck.
     
  7. Street Philosopher

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    ummmm if you get caught reading them after signing the waiver, you might be bringing on a world of trouble. definitely NOT worth it.
     
  8. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member
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    Quite a lack of ethics there, eh? You did waive your write to see them. If you don't have faith in your letter writers, you aren't picking the right people.
     
  9. Tweetie_bird

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    this brings up an important point--

    As I was asking the secretary to check if all my lettrers have arrived, she was thumbing through each LOR. It turns out that there were 3 super long LORs, each being atleast 2 whole pages and then some more (all of them I had seen because the profs decided to share it with me) and the ones that were barely over a page long were NOT seen by me. I don't know if there is a correlation, but it's interesting nonetheless.
     
  10. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S
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    So the consensus seems to be: 1.) send a thank you card and 2.) don't look at the letters; this pretty much confirms what I've been thinking, so thanks to everyone for the feedback. I'd love to say it was my firm ethical grounding that kept me from looking in my file, but in all honesty it was as much fear of getting caught as any faint stirrings of conscience that controlled my twitching fingers.;)
    While on the subject of LOR's, I would like to hear what people think about something else. I work at a clinic staffed mainly by nurse practitioners, and have decided to ask one of them for a LOR. I could ask our medical director (an MD who is also the head of the OB/GYN department at my state school) to write one for me instead, but even though I have worked at this clinic for ~4 1/2 years I barely know the man as he rarely visits our clinic, and because of this am not even sure he would write one for me. The NP I am planning to ask, on the other hand, has worked with me since I was just a HS volunteer there (over 7 years ago), knows me very well (she is a personal friend as well as a coworker), and I'm pretty sure will write me an excellent letter. So it seems to me that she is the best person to ask, but I'm wondering if anyone knows how med schools view letters from NP's- are they seen more or less the same as a letter from an MD, or are their opinions not as highly esteemed? It seems like it shouldn't be a huge distinction to make, but I know there is a heirarchy in medicine that persists and which might make her opinion less valued. I mean, obviously there's a difference, but I don't know how adcoms perceive this. If anyone else has an idea and wants to share, I'd be happy to hear it.
    Anyway, thanks for the responses so far!
     
  11. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Definitely send the LOR from the NP. It will be like a letter from a non-medical boss you've had, only better because it's medical. It will be much more personalized than one from a doc you barely know. It will be an "extra" letter anyway, just supplementing the ones they require from professors.
     
  12. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    You want to pick the people who know you the best to write the letters. People who you really don't want to write your LOR's are your minister, a teaching assisant, your family members, people who have name recognition but don't really know you on a day to day basis, a doctor who really doesn't know you very well but you think an MD's word will carry more weight, etc.........

    CHOOSE VERY CAREFULLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you know of a great person, but you know for a fact they can't write well... don't chose them either.

    If you got an A in a professor's class but never spoke up in class, never visited with them after class hours, never set yourself above the crowd.... don't use them. What can they say? "Hey,this person got an A." So do a lot of people, that kind of recommendation won't help.

    And for all of you who are just getting started here is some advice... START VOLUNTEERING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please don't wait till next february if you are applying next June. It really doesn't look like you were committed to your EC's if you do it for a short time just to get it down on paper.

    The free clinic where I have volunteered for 4 years always had an increased number of people who would show up in mid february, be there on and off for 3 months and disappear forever. The clinic director knew why they were there and when asked to write their LOR's, she wasn't flattering in those letters and would sometime refuse to write them.
     

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