No research rec letter for a competitive, service focused app?

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Jul 16, 2017
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Hi everyone,

I am applying next year and will have a very community service/public health focused application (lots of clinical exp, outreach, health education, a service fellowship similar to TFA/Americorps/Peace Corps) I have a 3.8+ GPA and if my MCAT comes out strong I want to apply to T10-T20 schools.

I have 1 year of basic science research experience from early in undergrad when I was exploring my interests, but I realized it was not for me and that I wanted to go deeper into my public health/clinical work.

My relationship with my supervisor was confusing in that I could never tell if he was happy with my work or if I was doing a good job. I definitely messed up procedures quite a few times and looking back I was pretty clueless about how academic research worked overall.

At the end, he said that he would write me a strong letter if I ever needed it and I had planned on asking for it right away but then never followed up and at the time I wasn’t sure if I trusted that it would be a good letter. I think not asking was immature/short sighted and that I was being too judgmental about the whole situation myself.

- Should I reach back out and ask for one even if it’s been a few years now?
If it matters - the P.I is a professor at one of the T10 schools I am dreaming of and my supervisor is a researcher there.
- Would lack of a lab research letter be a red flag for T10 schools if this isn’t the focus of my app and I have no intention of pursuing basic research again in the future?

Thank you so much!

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Jul 9, 2019
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I think if the PI said he would write you a strong letter you should take him at his word. Most of the time people aren't out to get you.

I dont think it will be a red flag but I dont think it will help to not have the letter. Harvard for example wants letters from all research supervisors period.
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