*~*~*~*Official Letters of Recommendation Questions Thread 2018-2019*~*~*~*

leetskeetskeet

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Apologies if this question has been asked before, but long story short I used to work in a very large lab in undergrad and my PI barely knows me at all. Would a letter from an old grad student that I worked under (who now has her Ph. D., but at the time did not) be appropriate to use? Thanks SDN
 

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How do I go about letterheads from a physician who works at a couple different EDs? Should I do a letterhead for the hospital I work with him at?
 
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Apologies if this question has been asked before, but long story short I used to work in a very large lab in undergrad and my PI barely knows me at all. Would a letter from an old grad student that I worked under (who now has her Ph. D., but at the time did not) be appropriate to use?
Yes, though if it's a possibility to have the PI cosign the letter, you might explore that option.
 

DayOldBagels

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I'm a non-trad and I did a post-bacc at an institution that is writing me a committee letter. This committee letter is a compilation of 9 individual letters from post-bacc professors, volunteer supervisors, MD I shadowed, a research supervisor, and my previous boss, along with input from my pre-med advisor.

It was suggested to me that I send the committee letter plus a few of the strongest individual letters (according to my advisor some aren't very well written), but I'm worried that will be confusing to adcoms. From a scan of this thread the prevailing wisdom seems to be to send the committee letter only, I'm just looking for some confirmation based on my individual situation.

Should I send the committee letter by itself or send the committee letter and some individual letters?

Thank you!
 

gonnif

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I'm a non-trad and I did a post-bacc at an institution that is writing me a committee letter. This committee letter is a compilation of 9 individual letters from post-bacc professors, volunteer supervisors, MD I shadowed, a research supervisor, and my previous boss, along with input from my pre-med advisor.

It was suggested to me that I send the committee letter plus a few of the strongest individual letters (according to my advisor some aren't very well written), but I'm worried that will be confusing to adcoms. From a scan of this thread the prevailing wisdom seems to be to send the committee letter only, I'm just looking for some confirmation based on my individual situation.

Should I send the committee letter by itself or send the committee letter and some individual letters?

Thank you!

I presume the committee letter does not have the complete letters attached? With 9 letters already reviewed, evaluated, and written up in committee, how will repeated info be of a great help to an adcom other than to confuse?
 

DayOldBagels

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I presume the committee letter does not have the complete letters attached? With 9 letters already reviewed, evaluated, and written up in committee, how will repeated info be of a great help to an adcom other than to confuse?

Correct, the 9 letters are not attached with the committee letter. The advice given to me was that sometimes adcoms may want more information about something referenced in the committee letter and having individual letters allows them to look into that. But I agree that it's overly confusing to send both.

Thank you for your input!
 
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Replicated here so it's easier to find by future Searchers:
Hey guys, long story short my committee letter author changed and i need to mark the current commitee letter request in AMCAS as "no longer being sent" but i already assigned that letter to all the med schools im applying to. My question is, do i have to contact the schools separately IN ADDITION to marking as "no longer being sent"?
You do not have to email schools. They will be notified
 

realitysickness

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Hi there,

I will be receiving a joint letter from my place of employment signed off by 2 (recent and previous) managers, 2 colleagues (MPH & RN), and the director of the program.

I wanted to confirm that when generating the Letter Request Form, I should only enter the contact info of the person who is uploading the letter via the AMCAS letter service, right?
 
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So one of my letter holders is going to mail my letter today. AMCAS said it can take up to 15 days to process, does anyone know of that is how long it usually takes?

How long did it end up taking? My last writer's letter was delivered on the 11th (two weeks ago today) and hasn't been processed yet. I called AMCAS yesterday and they reiterated "15 business days." Of course, I'm still super anxious.
 

gonnif

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Correct, the 9 letters are not attached with the committee letter. The advice given to me was that sometimes
Hi there,

I will be receiving a joint letter from my place of employment signed off by 2 (recent and previous) managers, 2 colleagues (MPH & RN), and the director of the program.

I wanted to confirm that when generating the Letter Request Form, I should only enter the contact info of the person who is uploading the letter via the AMCAS letter service, right?
It really doesnt matter, the highest ranking person on letter can be listed even if they arent the email or contact
 
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If we are getting a committee letter, do we need our AMCAS ID on all the letters?

Also, I won't have my committee letter for another 3 weeks or so, can I just submit and say "I have no letters to add", or should I say there is a letter incoming? I see that on AMCAS you can add after submission so I'm leaning towards "I have no letters to add"
 
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gonnif

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If we are getting a committee letter, do we need our AMCAS ID on all the letters?

Also, I won't have my committee letter for another 3 weeks or so, can I just submit and say "I have no letters to add", or should I say there is a letter incoming? I see that on AMCAS you can add after submission so I'm leaning towards "I have no letters to add"
1) no
2) I would let them know a committee letter is coming
 
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My premed committee used to write a composite letter of rec but now they switched to just submitting letter packets. Does it still count as a premed committee letter since it is coming from the premed office? I'm trying to figure out if schools will accept it or if I should follow each school's individual letter requirements (like 2 science, 1 nonscience).
 

gonnif

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My premed committee used to write a composite letter of rec but now they switched to just submitting letter packets. Does it still count as a premed committee letter since it is coming from the premed office? I'm trying to figure out if schools will accept it or if I should follow each school's individual letter requirements (like 2 science, 1 nonscience).
Most schools will consider it like a committee letter. However, some will not so having 2 science and 1 non science would be prudent
 
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Thank you!

I was concerned about Temple's requirement "LKSOM will consider letters of recommendation from a premedical committee, a packet from a school letter compilation service, or three (3) individual letters. If submitting a compilation packet or individual letters, we prefer two (2) letters from professors with whom you completed course work from the AMCAS course classification of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

-We welcome letters from research experiences, but prefer them in addition to the requested science letters from professors with whom you completed coursework.
-One (1) additional letter is required from a non-science professor, work experience, or service activity.
-A premedical committee letter does not need a specific number of science/non-science letters."

I'm a nontrad, out of school for a few years. I have letters from my manager, my volunteering supervisor, my undergrad PI and then one science professor.

In this case, would it be acceptable to say that I don't have two science letters since I've been out of school for a few years?
 

gonnif

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Thank you!

I was concerned about Temple's requirement "LKSOM will consider letters of recommendation from a premedical committee, a packet from a school letter compilation service, or three (3) individual letters. If submitting a compilation packet or individual letters, we prefer two (2) letters from professors with whom you completed course work from the AMCAS course classification of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

-We welcome letters from research experiences, but prefer them in addition to the requested science letters from professors with whom you completed coursework.
-One (1) additional letter is required from a non-science professor, work experience, or service activity.
-A premedical committee letter does not need a specific number of science/non-science letters."

I'm a nontrad, out of school for a few years. I have letters from my manager, my volunteering supervisor, my undergrad PI and then one science professor.

In this case, would it be acceptable to say that I don't have two science letters since I've been out of school for a few years?
Yes
 

BlueComet

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@gonnif
Please help!
One of my letter writers only sent their letter to my DO app and not my MD app. I thought they sent it in already but it just was not received so I assigned this letter to schools already. Today I called AMCAS and they said they were caught up on letters so it seems my prof forgot to send this one in. Now my secondaries are in limbo since most schools wait for all letters. I see theres an option on my AMCAS to notify schools when a letter wont be sent. I emailed my professor but she may be on vacation at this time. If I mark this letter as no longer being sent, will all the schools that had this letter assigned get a notification? Also am I able to send in this letter later on? Should I mark this as no longer sent to have my applications go forward and then later send it in once received? I read your warning about assigning letters not received yet but only after I had already assigned it! Any help you could provide would be very appreciated.
 

gonnif

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@gonnif
Please help!
One of my letter writers only sent their letter to my DO app and not my MD app. I thought they sent it in already but it just was not received so I assigned this letter to schools already. Today I called AMCAS and they said they were caught up on letters so it seems my prof forgot to send this one in. Now my secondaries are in limbo since most schools wait for all letters. I see theres an option on my AMCAS to notify schools when a letter wont be sent. I emailed my professor but she may be on vacation at this time. If I mark this letter as no longer being sent, will all the schools that had this letter assigned get a notification? Also am I able to send in this letter later on? Should I mark this as no longer sent to have my applications go forward and then later send it in once received? I read your warning about assigning letters not received yet but only after I had already assigned it! Any help you could provide would be very appreciated.
1) if you mark a letter no longer being sent, if the professor loads it letter, it will automatically be sent no matter what
2) how important is this letter? Is it a required letter?
3) can you get another writer now?
 

BlueComet

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1) if you mark a letter no longer being sent, if the professor loads it letter, it will automatically be sent no matter what
2) how important is this letter? Is it a required letter?
3) can you get another writer now?

2) Currently, I have 2 Science and 1 PI letter without that letter, which is another science letter and would be a fairly good letter. I think my professor is on vacation so I am not sure if it would be the best idea to wait. For schools that wanted 3 letters max, I was planning on using 2 Science and 1 PI letter, I was planning on using this professors because she said it would be a strong letter, but I can switch it out for my other science letter. These are the schools I am worried about the most cause it seems they wont look at my app until all 3 are in. For most of the schools I am applying too, this would not be a required letter.

3) I dont think I can get another letter, I think she will eventually send it when she gets back but I dont know if its worth holding up my application. She already sent the letter to my DO app, but not my MD sadly, so she has it written. I visited this professor and she told me it was going to be very good.
 
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Hi, just had a couple questions:
1. Is it correct that a letter from a Psychology professor would be considered a non-Science recommendation letter?
2. The professor I had for Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 agreed to write me a letter, but he says he works "in the industry" now (I'm assuming something to do with engineering rather than teaching), so I'm unsure whether it's still okay for him to write me the letter? And if it is okay, how would that affect the "on official letterhead" requirement for recommendation letters? Would it just be the letterhead for wherever he works now?
 
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Hi, just had a couple questions:
1. Is it correct that a letter from a Psychology professor would be considered a non-Science recommendation letter?
2. The professor I had for Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 agreed to write me a letter, but he says he works "in the industry" now (I'm assuming something to do with engineering rather than teaching), so I'm unsure whether it's still okay for him to write me the letter? And if it is okay, how would that affect the "on official letterhead" requirement for recommendation letters? Would it just be the letterhead for wherever he works now?
1) Yes.

2) Yes, it's still OK for him to write you a letter. He will state the context in which he knew you and the venue where he taught you. He will use the letterhead for his current job.
 

gonnif

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2) Currently, I have 2 Science and 1 PI letter without that letter, which is another science letter and would be a fairly good letter. I think my professor is on vacation so I am not sure if it would be the best idea to wait. For schools that wanted 3 letters max, I was planning on using 2 Science and 1 PI letter, I was planning on using this professors because she said it would be a strong letter, but I can switch it out for my other science letter. These are the schools I am worried about the most cause it seems they wont look at my app until all 3 are in. For most of the schools I am applying too, this would not be a required letter.

3) I dont think I can get another letter, I think she will eventually send it when she gets back but I dont know if its worth holding up my application. She already sent the letter to my DO app, but not my MD sadly, so she has it written. I visited this professor and she told me it was going to be very good.

Its only August 1st so frankly waiting a few weeks for the letter wont impact you very much. Any idea when prof will be back
 

BlueComet

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Its only August 1st so frankly waiting a few weeks for the letter wont impact you very much. Any idea when prof will be back

Well i checked and she has a class starting Aug 27th so shell be back by then. She still has not emailed me back so I think its safe to say shes gone.
 

mariposas905

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@gonnif Do we need to have an AMCAS ID on our letters? I used Interfolio, and none of my letter writers have included my AMCAS ID on their submitted letters. Do I have to ask them to update it?
 

mariposas905

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Also, will this be fine for all or most medical schools? 2 science, 1 non-science, 2 research, 1 employment = 6 total letters? I do not have any from community service, another non-science, or physician shadowing letter. If I need those, I'm gonna need to scramble to get them! :unsure:
 

gonnif

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@gonnif Do we need to have an AMCAS ID on our letters? I used Interfolio, and none of my letter writers have included my AMCAS ID on their submitted letters. Do I have to ask them to update it?

No it will be fine. The letters will be associated with AMCAS ID when you move from Interfolio to AMCAS
 
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gonnif

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Also, will this be fine for all or most medical schools? 2 science, 1 non-science, 2 research, 1 employment = 6 total letters? I do not have any from community service, another non-science, or physician shadowing letter. If I need those, I'm gonna need to scramble to get them! :unsure:

Well, that depends. Some schools are getting very strict on 1) the number of letters and 2) the requirements for each. So you damn well better go to each school's website and read in depth what each specific school require's and adjust your letters accordingly
 
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subdermallight

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I’ve been telling my letter writers to upload by Sept. 1st, assuming that once uploaded electronically that amcas will send to schools fairly quickly and complete my application (secondairies would be in already by then). But my primary will likely verified before Sept. 1st. Can I assume this speedy transmission regardless or does having letters submitted after my primary has been verified mean there’s additional processing time before being sent out, like a week or two later for example?
 
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gonnif

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I’ve been telling my letter writers to upload by Sept. 1st, assuming that once uploaded electronically that amcas will send to schools fairly quickly and complete my application (secondairies would be in already by then). But my primary will likely verified before Sept. 1st. Can I assume this speedy transmission regardless or does having letters submitted after my primary has been verified mean there’s additional processing time before being sent out, like a week or two later for example?

Primary application verification/transmission and Letter upload/transmission are wholly unrelated and occur independently and without regard to the other
 
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One of my LOR writers said that she uploaded my LOR but realized she only put her address but not her email address on the letter. Should I ask her to re-upload one with her email address on it so that anyone who wants to reach out for more info/to ask questions can easily contact her?
 

daw05

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Thank you!

I was concerned about Temple's requirement "LKSOM will consider letters of recommendation from a premedical committee, a packet from a school letter compilation service, or three (3) individual letters. If submitting a compilation packet or individual letters, we prefer two (2) letters from professors with whom you completed course work from the AMCAS course classification of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

-We welcome letters from research experiences, but prefer them in addition to the requested science letters from professors with whom you completed coursework.
-One (1) additional letter is required from a non-science professor, work experience, or service activity.
-A premedical committee letter does not need a specific number of science/non-science letters."

I'm a nontrad, out of school for a few years. I have letters from my manager, my volunteering supervisor, my undergrad PI and then one science professor.

In this case, would it be acceptable to say that I don't have two science letters since I've been out of school for a few years?
Did you have to take an prereqs that you missed in undergrad, or retake any classes? That's what I did for my science letters as a fellow non-trad. They're both community college, but they meet the requirement for science, then I'm counting on my other letters from grad school and professional career to paint a good picture of my academic and work life/dedication/etc.
 
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Did you have to take an prereqs that you missed in undergrad, or retake any classes? That's what I did for my science letters as a fellow non-trad. They're both community college, but they meet the requirement for science, then I'm counting on my other letters from grad school and professional career to paint a good picture of my academic and work life/dedication/etc.

Yeah I ended up getting two science letters from postbacc classes! I was just worried because I hadn't made as strong of a connection with those profs since I was also working full time and doing other things while taking their classes. But both said they could write strong letters so fingers crossed.

Best of luck to you!
 
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daw05

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Yeah I ended up getting two science letters from postbacc classes! I was just worried because I hadn't made as strong of a connection with those profs since I was also working full time and doing other things while taking their classes. But both said they could write strong letters so fingers crossed.

Best of luck to you!
You as well!
 
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thedude777

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Can you assign recommenders on AMCAS after submitting secondaries/being marked complete? My PI recently told me that he has been dealing with some issues at home so he probably won't be able to write/submit my recommendation until the end of August/early September. I have enough recommendations to meet the requirements at all the schools I am applying to so his would just be supplemental. I think it would help but I don't know if it would help enough for me to wait to submit my secondaries for another 3-4 weeks (especially since I got my secondaries 1.5 weeks ago so the 2 week "deadline" is coming up soon). Would it be possible to submit my secondary and then add his recommendation when it comes in even though I would be complete since all the other required recommendations are in?
 

gonnif

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Can you assign recommenders on AMCAS after submitting secondaries/being marked complete? My PI recently told me that he has been dealing with some issues at home so he probably won't be able to write/submit my recommendation until the end of August/early September. I have enough recommendations to meet the requirements at all the schools I am applying to so his would just be supplemental. I think it would help but I don't know if it would help enough for me to wait to submit my secondaries for another 3-4 weeks (especially since I got my secondaries 1.5 weeks ago so the 2 week "deadline" is coming up soon). Would it be possible to submit my secondary and then add his recommendation when it comes in even though I would be complete since all the other required recommendations are in?
1) yes you can assign it after secondaries are marked complete.
2) but you are now asking that the schools remove you from the complete file, reopen your app, add the letter, and then close it again. And schools could then put you at bottom of the pile, losing your place in the queue.
3) Or it goes to the evaluator without the new letter
4) in the end, it becomes a process crapshoot
 
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thedude777

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Thanks! In that case, do you think it is worth waiting for his recommendation to submit or submitting the secondaries now and assigning all of the recommendations once his has come in? Or do you think it would be better to just not use his recommendation? I think his recommendation would be helpful but I'm not sure if it outweighs waiting for that long.
 
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1. Is it common for medical schools to REQUIRE at least one letter from a nonscience professor?

2. For medical schools that don't REQUIRE at least one nonscience professor, is it advantageous to get one such letter anyway so as to round out my application?

3. For students planning 2 gap years, what's the best way to preserve undergrad mentors' impression of me?

4. How do I get confidential letters now?

5. If I do get them now, doesn't it become a burden on them to update them a year hence?
 
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I told all my letter writers to put their letters on official letterhead and to sign the bottom but if one of them forgot to do that would schools tell me my app isn’t complete? Also to fix it they would just upload another letter correct?
 

gonnif

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1. Is it common for medical schools to REQUIRE at least one letter from a nonscience professor?

2. For medical schools that don't REQUIRE at least one nonscience professor, is it advantageous to get one such letter anyway so as to round out my application?

3. For students planning 2 gap years, what's the best way to preserve undergrad mentors' impression of me?

4. How do I get confidential letters now?

5. If I do get them now, doesn't it become a burden on them to update them a year hence?

1. yes
2. yes, I advise so
3. get letters now and store in interfolio
4. see #3
5. Maybe, but you should get them and ask for update later
 
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1. yes
2. yes, I advise so
3. get letters now and store in interfolio
4. see #3
5. Maybe, but you should get them and ask for update later

Thanks!

Once letters are stored in Interfolio, do I have to use them all if I choose to use any? Is it an all or nothing proposition?
 

jordij94

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Thanks!

Once letters are stored in Interfolio, do I have to use them all if I choose to use any? Is it an all or nothing proposition?

No they are stored in interfolio. From interfolio you select the letters to send to AMCAS individually so you don’t have to send them all of you don’t want to.
 
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I have 6 letters (2 sci, 1 nonsci, 1 MD, 1 from a work manager I supervised under, and 1 from a coordinator that I volunteered with URM for 4 years).

For schools that have a maximum of 5 LOR (ie the UCs) would it be better to trim off a prof LOR, the volunteer LOR or the work LOR? I wrote a lot about my experiences volunteering in secondaries but had limited contact with the coordinator that wrote my letter. Conversely my non-medical related work LOR is written by a manager I had a pretty close relationship with but I didn't write about the job in secondaries and only mentioned it as most meaningful in my primary because of leadership experience.. Any thoughts?
What is the MD letter about?
 
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gonnif

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I have 6 letters (2 sci, 1 nonsci, 1 MD, 1 from a work manager I supervised under, and 1 from a coordinator that I volunteered with URM for 4 years).

For schools that have a maximum of 5 LOR (ie the UCs) would it be better to trim off a prof LOR, the volunteer LOR or the work LOR? I wrote a lot about my experiences volunteering in secondaries but had limited contact with the coordinator that wrote my letter. Conversely my non-medical related work LOR is written by a manager I had a pretty close relationship with but I didn't write about the job in secondaries and only mentioned it as most meaningful in my primary because of leadership experience.. Any thoughts?
1) find out what each schools actual requirements are not simply the max
2) and there is no requirement that you have to send in the mac
3) traditionally, schools expect 2 science and 1 nonscience letter.
4) the primary purpose of letters is to show evidence of your academic ability.
5) Most MD letters are nearly all praise with little detail. Yesterday there was a thread from someone who was a scribe for 2 years yet the doctor's letter ready like a 2 day shadow.
 
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I've scribed/medical assisted a doctor for > 2000 clinical hours over the past 1.5 years. I wrote a draft of the letter for him so I already know it's likely stronger than the others and we also have a pretty close mentorship/relationship.
In that case, I'd take out the letter from the volunteer coordinator with whom you've had limited contact. It seems least likely to strongly advocate for you.
 
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Hi! First time poster here so bear with me. I submitted all of my LORs through the AMCAS letter service long ago. However, I started a new clinical position in the mean time and, last week, my boss offered to and subsequently wrote me a new LOR to add to my application. Seeing as I've already completed and submitted all secondaries, what is the best way to go about sending this letter to my schools? Should I still use the AMCAS letter service or upload it as an update to the schools that accept such a thing? Thanks for your expertise!
 
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