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Meaningful experience.....BUT NO LETTER

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Doc Henry, May 4, 2007.

  1. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    I have 2-3 experiences that I want to put on my AMCAS but that I really can't get letters for. What do you think I should do?

    (1) Worked at hospital for a year. Great experience and exposure to medicine but I worked nights and weekends so I NEVER saw any supervisors.

    (2) Mentored grade school kids in a science program for two days. It was really great but also really short and no contact with the person in charge

    (3) Similar thing with People to People (another mentor type thing)...I'm trying to get a letter now, but all the people who really knew me were co-workers. The supervisors were not on sight with us.

    Should I just address why there are no letters with these experiences? I know certain schools see an experience with no letter as a red flag...

    THANKS
     
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  3. gotmeds?

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    I'd be careful about calling any two-day experience especially meaningful.
     
  4. alwaysaangel

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    Talk to the supervisors anyway or a doctor you worked closely with or a nurse. If you actually did anything worthwhile there has to be SOMEBODY there who can write you a recommendation - find them.

    No offense, but this really isn't worth mentioning. I don't even know how you can be much of a mentor in 2 days. I wouldn't bother putting this on your AMCAS at all - the adcomms will think its worthless.
    Again, there has to be someone who was on site who could give you a recommendation or tell the supervisor how you did. Or parents have given feedback to the supervisors - something that would make them able to give you a letter.


    You should get letters. Its not a huge red flag unless it was a really MAJOR activity (I'm missing a few that I just can't get ahold of the supervisors anymore), but if you can get letters you should. If you have no letters from any of your ECs that will definitely look fishy.
     
  5. scgroat

    scgroat New Member
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    ??? Do You mean for AMCAS? The only letters I had were my recommendations. Maybe I'm missing something.
     
  6. alwaysaangel

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    He means recommendations. Some schools do see it as a red flag if you have an experience that you claim you did for 4 years and was a major factor in your decision to apply to medical school but you have no letter for it.
     
  7. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member
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    Yeah same here. I didn't get a letter from a 1 year research experience plus a summer of funded research. I was worried it might be a red flag, but it wasn't a big deal. I was never asked about it and it didn't seem to hurt me anywhere.
     
  8. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    I see what you guys are saying about the 2 day mentoring thing....I'll probably just drop it.

    As for the hospital...I'll work on it. My position was in Radiology so I didn't work with nurses really. I worked most closely with Rad Techs...would that be good enough? I know I could get an awesome letter from one of them (the techs) but I didn't know if that was good enough
     
  9. alwaysaangel

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    A tech is fine - it was who you worked with, its who knows you best.
     
  10. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    THANKS:D I am so relieved!
     
  11. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    So I don't need letters...just put their info in the contact fields on amcas?????
     
  12. alwaysaangel

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    Yup. Letters are needed for secondaries not the AMCAS primary.

    But start requesting letters and get them sent to either your school letter service or interfolio for easy submission of secondaries when the time comes.
     
  13. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    So should I plan on getting a letter from every contact I put on the AMCAS or just a few...like obviously the shadowing and stuff?
     
  14. alwaysaangel

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    Big stuff.

    You'll need 2 science profs, 1 non-science prof, and at least 1-2 other people from ECs (pick your biggest ECs)
     
  15. kypdurron5

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    I sympathize with you on this... My most meaningful experience of 2005-2006 was under the close supervision of a CNA; I only met the nurse supervisor once! I've had two physicians who don't know the first thing about me offer to write some letters...but other than that my lack of physician contacts really shows when it comes to LORs. I still have all the required letters (from academic sources), but it would be nice to have some LORs from activity supervisors.
     
  16. janedoe4

    janedoe4 Member
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    So, AMCAS gives you space for 15 "experiences;" no school wants to get 15 letters on your behalf. Every experience certainly doesn't require a letter. 1-2 letters from supervisors of 1-2 activities (research, etc.) that were important are all you need. If these were your most important activities, are you sure you can't find *someone* senior to you at *one* of them who knows you and what you did there? As others have suggested, a senior person who can get input from people who worked more closely with you is also an option (e.g. I volunteered in a clinic where most of my time was spent with the nurses, but got a letter from one of the docs who I did get to know a bit and who talked to the nurses about my work).

    Since the number of letters you can send is quite limited compared to the activities you might have, I'm not convinced it is a "red flag" to talk about an experience without a corresponding letter, unless you're hanging your entire application on that one experience. In fact, the clinic volunteering from which I got the LOR was never mentioned in my PS and the two ECs I did discuss in my PS didn't generate LORs (one was a purely student-run organization, in the other I was supervised by someone who I knew from past experience didn't write great letters). Probably wasn't ideal, but it didn't kill my application (7 interviews, 5 acceptances).
     
  17. Kraazy

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    I don't need LORs from non-health related ECs, right?
     
  18. speedyE

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    You don't necessarily need LORs from any listed EC. Just because it is health related does not demand that you go get an LOR either. As people have said, letters are best from activities that you mention in your personal statement or were important in your development.

    But don't forget that every school requires you to get at least a few letters from professors. Check out the schools you are planning to apply to for specifics.
     
  19. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member
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    Don't worry about not having letters for things. I had zero letters from ECs...well, actually, I sent Duke one from a nurse where I volunteered since they made me have 4 letters instead of 3. I have never heard of anyone freaking out about not having letters to go along with ECs. I did a lot with Habitat for Humanity....does that mean I should have had the old guy running the place write me a letter....ha...no way Jose. Chill out, write down your ECs, submit your application, and don't listen to everything you hear on SDN.
     
  20. bubbachuck

    bubbachuck Fear denies faith
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    this isn't true. medical schools typically only ask for 2-4 letters AT MOST. for my experience, most want 3 or 4. from mdapps it looks like you have a lot of EC. take into account that at least 2 letters will be from your professors, that leaves 1-2 from EC.
     
  21. bluesTank

    bluesTank Zombie
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    Most schools don't want more then three letters anyways since it dilutes each one. They are getting millions of these things after all. In fact, my medical advising office here only lets you turn in three to them, 2 science profs and one other, and we've got one of the best advisors in Texas. So find the important ones, and don't go overboard.
     
  22. PunjabiCurry

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    you did something for two days and you want to put it on your AMCAS?:lol:
     
  23. PunjabiCurry

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    If you don't get a letter for this, it looks really bad. If you already have three other EC activity letters including a couple from other doctors, you probably would not need this one.
     
  24. riceman04

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    You have already attempted to give some fallacious information. And here you are again...please get your facts right before you spout them out with your fingers onto this forum
     
  25. alwaysaangel

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    He worded it funny but to a point he's right. If you did something for several years and don't have a letter to show for it - some schools find that particularly sketchy. UC Irvine comes to mind, but I'm sure there are others.

    From the adcomms perspective if you have activity A - 600 hrs over 3 years, activity B - 1000 hrs over 4 years, activity C - 20 hours over 6 months, and activity D - 25 hrs over 4 months. It looks awfully fishy if your non-academic letters come from activities C and D with nothing from A and B. Will it kill your app? Probably not. But just be smart about where you get your non-academic LORs, pick the things that you've spent the most time at. One, this will ensure the letters are as personal as possible, and two it ensures you have letters from what you are probably deeming as your most important activities.

    Its not a set in stone rule, but it is common sense.
     
  26. riceman04

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    Ok...I see what you mean...it really would look suspicious.

    Ok so I have a question for you as it relates to this topic. I volunteered for an extended period of time (more than a year) with a few organizations/hospitals. However, I am only volunteering for one currently (b/c I am no longer in Los Angeles) and have been for two years now. I do have a letter of recommendation from the current organization. Should I consider also getting letter from one of the others as well (from back in Los Angeles)?
    I also have to consider the fact that my premed committee only allows us to use 5 letters of recommendation, three of which should be from professors (you know the breakdown). The other two can be from non-academic arenas. Since I am currently doing research full time, I am getting a letter from my boss and then the last from Big Bro Big Sis (the org for which I am currently volunteering). Considering this, is it still necessary to get another letter from the volunteer orgs (from home) discussed above?

    Thanks angel!
     
  27. alwaysaangel

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    Well, I'm not an expert, but I would say getting your two current ones would be fine - its pretty obvious you relocated. Its not like a normal undergrad just ignoring some major ECs. And two years is significant. I wouldn't worry about it too much. I didn't get anything from a couple of my older major ECs because I had no way to get letters (supervisor was impossible to contact). It doesn't seem like it really matters as long as there are no blatant discrepancies.

    Like I said - just try to look at it from the adcom's perspective - in your case they'll know you relocated and it doesn't really look suspicious. Or I wouldn't think so.
     
  28. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member
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    you're missing the point of LOR's completely . . .

    They're not to verify that you did an activity, they're to give MORE information about you that is not ALREADY on your application. Often times people only have LORs from extracurricular activities because they got to know a particular doc/supervisor/whatever very well and that person can attest to their personality and character. Write down your 15 most significant activities/awards, and give the schools only the required letters they ask for unless you have a recommender who can say something that won't already be in the other letters.

    Good luck!
     

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