Nov 22, 2009
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As my title states, my PI is leaving me before I'm applying to Med School for the Class of 2016 -_-. Do you think it'd be alright for me to get a recommendation letter from them during the fall of my junior year? And is it even possible to save recommendation letters if I'm planning on applying during the summer of my junior year?
 
Jun 1, 2009
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Yes, by all means get a letter from your PI during junior fall! I got a few of my letters during junior fall, IIRC. In the way my school's premed system works, my letters were sent to my advisor and she kept them in my file until I applied.
 
Nov 22, 2009
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Few? Isn't the max of LOR like 2? And I'm guessing students generally ask for them during junior spring semester?
 

RogueUnicorn

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does your school have a committee process? i used them as a letter repository in the past
 
Jun 1, 2009
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Few? Isn't the max of LOR like 2? And I'm guessing students generally ask for them during junior spring semester?
No, often the minimum is three. I think most of my schools required 2 science letters and 1 non-science letter. Another one of my schools required letters from every PI I had worked for (so add on another 2 for me). I ended up with six letters.

EDIT: I would ask for the letters as soon as you are done taking the class (with regards to letters from professors). That way they remember you and have more to say about you than if they were relying on their old grading records to talk generically about you.
 
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LizzyM

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I would ask for the letters as soon as you are done taking the class (with regards to letters from professors). That way they remember you and have more to say about you than if they were relying on their old grading records to talk generically about you.
In general, this is a good idea. In some instances, where you have a close relationship with a faculty member and they will serve as a mentor or advisor (officially or unofficially), you might want to wait so that the letter reflects the longer length of the relationship and is more contemporary in its assessment of you. I see this at schools where students regularly stop by for a chat with a faculty member or where faculty tend to take meals or otherwise socialize with students.
 

apumic

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In general, this is a good idea. In some instances, where you have a close relationship with a faculty member and they will serve as a mentor or advisor (officially or unofficially), you might want to wait so that the letter reflects the longer length of the relationship and is more contemporary in its assessment of you. I see this at schools where students regularly stop by for a chat with a faculty member or where faculty tend to take meals or otherwise socialize with students.

This is great advice.

OP, if your advisor will be leaving and you're unlikely to remain in communication w/ him/her, it would be best to get the LOR now (or sometime before s/he leaves). OTOH, if close to the advisor already and likely to remain in contact via email, phone, etc., then it may make sense to wait. You could also ask for a letter now and then ask for an update to it later if the relationship yields more research, collaboration, mentoring, etc.
 
Nov 22, 2009
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So for classes I am taking right now, should I ask the prof for a LOR if I don't think I'll ever see them again (non-science courses)? Is it really alright to have LOR that are 2 years old?
 

LizzyM

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So for classes I am taking right now, should I ask the prof for a LOR if I don't think I'll ever see them again (non-science courses)? Is it really alright to have LOR that are 2 years old?
Yes.
Yes.
 

apumic

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So for classes I am taking right now, should I ask the prof for a LOR if I don't think I'll ever see them again (non-science courses)? Is it really alright to have LOR that are 2 years old?
Oftentimes those LORs just end up as part of a committee letter anyway so it's not that big of a deal. Truthfully, though, if you're only a frosh or soph, you'll probably end up building closer (better) relationships w/ later profs (incl in non-science areas) jr yr anyway. Nevertheless, get the LOR now but don't be afraid to seek and use someone else's later instead.