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need advice/explanation regarding letters of rec

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Lavndrrose, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member
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    I'm new to the application process and would like some information regarding letters of recommendations. Do we send in letters before or after secondaries come in? Does amcas distribute these letters to the schools in which we apply, or do we? how did you guys handle all your letters of recs (i.e, did you review the letters beforehand to assure it was accurate?)

    If we reapply, can, or should we use the same letters?

    Any advice or explanation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
     
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  3. Doctora Foxy

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Do we send in letters before or after secondaries come in? </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I sent mine in as soon as I decided where I was going to apply. It happened to be the day after I submitted my amcas primary. Your undergrad's premed board will look at your rec.s and then combine it to form their own. Most schools require this, and you need a good explanation if you choose not to use your premed board.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Does amcas distribute these letters to the schools in which we apply, or do we? how did you guys handle all your letters of recs (i.e, did you review the letters beforehand to assure it was accurate?)
    </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">My school's premed board distributed them. I gave them a list of my schools, and they sent them off. It is in your best interest to waive your rights and never to read your rec.s. I had my letter writers send them dirctly to my premed board's office and have never seen them. But of course, I called to make sure they arrived on time (wh/ should be as early as possible.) If you are applying for 2003 matriculation, you should have already asked, although it is not too late...go ask now :) . One of my profs forgot and had to write it last minute.

    Also, give your letter writers some info about you, like a resume or list of activities and descriptions. Your personal statement would also be helpful. They should be able to write why you would be a good doctor in addition to the other wonderful things they have to say about you.

    Hope this helps. Post anymore questions you have. And welcome to SDN!!!! <img src="http://www.3dpcgame.com/cwm/s/otn/blobs/multi.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.3dpcgame.com/cwm/s/otn/blobs/multi.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.3dpcgame.com/cwm/s/otn/blobs/multi.gif" alt="" />
     
  4. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    The letters of rec are a required part of your secondaries. You do not send them in before you receive the secondaries. Some schools warn that unsolicited letters of rec will not be held onto (i.e., thrown away). AMCAS has nothing to do with your letters of rec.
    You need to contact your premed advisor, because many colleges have premed committees that write committee letters, which is basically a letter of rec that summarizes all of the letters of rec that you would otherwise send in. This saves time of the med school admissions committees. Some med schools require committee letters if your school has a committee.
    Either way you will have to get some profs to write letters of rec for you, either to send to the schools directly or to give to the committee so they can write the committee letter. Some med schools require that you sign a waiver saying you waive your right to see the letters of rec, but it depends on the schools you apply to. Some give you the option of waiving that right or not. Some ignore the question altogether. For the committee letters your school may require that you waive the right to see them, if your school has such a committee. It seems to me that you should not demand from the prof that they let you see the letter beforehand. This indicates a lack of confidence in your own abilities and a lack of respect for their opinion of you. If you need to ask to see the letter beforehand, that is the wrong person to write a letter of rec for you.
    If you send in individual letters, you generally will have to give all your profs addressed and stamped envelopes. This sounds obvious, but some people forget this, and doing so is most discourteous.
    As far as assuring accuracy, make sure that the letter writers know you very well. If you do research, definitely use that prof. And make an effort to get to know one or two profs outside of class if possible. If they know you as a person, they'll write a better, less generic letter. You should be able to judge for yourself whether or not a professor thinks highly of you. If they don't, don't use them! I did research with two different profs, both of which recommended me for other jobs or nominated me for honors societies. I knew they'd write good letters, so I used them.
     
  5. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    Yeah, I forgot one thing.

    Write up a resume or CV or some type of info sheet to give to the letter writers. Even if they know you very well, it helps to have something on paper to remind them of your accomplishments.
     
  6. Doctora Foxy

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    I forgot to say that you should check with each individual school before sending your recs. I sent all of mine before I got secondaries and it was fine. I think it's better for them to already have them when they recieve your secondary so they can start reviewing your file immediately. However, some schools specifically ask you not to send your recs beforehand. All of the schools I applied to give secondaries, so I wasn't worried about wasting my recs on them.

    Basically, it all depends on what the school wants.
     
  7. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    I timed my recommendations so that they would arrive at the schools around the time they got my primaries. You don't have to wait until you get your secondaries, this could actually put you behind in applying. But be careful because supposedly it is true that if schools haven't got any info on you (primary or secondary info) that thye can shred your letters. Hope that helps.
     
  8. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    The take-home lesson is that it really matters which school you are talking about. Some will hold onto any letters they get, in the hope of eventually matching them to a secondary. One school actually sent me a postcard saying "Any letters of recommendations received before a secondary application is sent to you will be discarded."
     
  9. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member
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    Thanks so much for the advice. Let's say I have 10 secondaries to send? Would it mean that the professors and physicians would have to write and send ten separate letters? They're really busy individuals (especially the physicians) and I would hate to take up their time.

    I've already graduated and do not know if my undergrad had a premed advisory committee. Besides, it would be too late, right? I would have to distribute these letters myself? Do schools prefer that these letters be distributed by a premed committee?

    How many letters of rec did you guys have? Thanks!
     
  10. Doctora Foxy

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    In your situation, since you have already graduated, you have several options.

    a) you can go back to your undergrad, have your premed interview, have your recs sent there (1 from each recommendor) and then the premed board will write a composite letter and distribute it to the schools for you, along wioth copies of the original letters. Also, btw, if you are a Cali resident, unless you have really good stats, you may want to apply to more schools. Please do a search for this type of situation and you'll see that Cali residents often apply to 20-30 schools, but of course it's up to you.

    back to the topic:

    b) If you live far from your undergrad and the board won't write you a letter, you can have your individual recommendors write your letters. You can give them the postage and envelopes etc, but have them seal them and give them to you...with your waived signiture form on the inside. Have them print out 10 copies, or 1 for each secondary---make sure YOU provide the shipping materials. Anyway, you can hold on to them and send them off as needed. This would help you ensure that everything has been taken care of, and you won't need to worry about if the letters were sent.

    If you are unable to get a premed board letter, you will have to explain why not on your secondary applications.

    hope this isn't too confusing!

    p.s. In response to your last question, I had 6 letters: 2 from science profs, 1 from each non-science major, and 2 from internships
     
  11. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member
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    Thanks Doctor Foxy!!!
     
  12. Doctora Foxy

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    your welcome!

    take a look at <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=008375;p=3" target="_blank">this thread</a> to see what some CA applicants had to say about the number of schools if you're interested
     
  13. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member
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    I believe that most schools have letter-of-recommendation services as well. You can have your LORs send their recommendation to your school service. Then you can just contact your school service when the letters need to be sent. That way you only have to ask your recommedors (sp?)to write one letter each.
     

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