Aug 16, 2016
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4
Hello everyone,

I am a nontrad that will be applying next year. My question is regarding the science LORs that I need to get in the process. I finished a degree in microbiology in 2014. I went on to get another degree in clinical lab science and to become certified, graduating this year. Generally, everyone suggests using prerequisite courses for the science LORs. I would much rather use my professors from CLS as they know me 1000 times better, and can speak of my most recent work ethic.

The professors I was choosing between taught clinical microbiology/parasitology/mycology, hematology, and immunohematology/immunology. I could also use one that taught clinical chemistry. What do you guys think? I have heard pretty consistently that people successfully recatagorize their CLS classes as BCPM, but does it seem risky? The rule of thumb I have seen is to get the best letters you can, and I know these individuals would give me such letters. Thank you in advance.

Zguy
 

DrMidlife

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1. a prereq letter helps everybody because those professors tend to understand the med school app process and have maybe been cranking out LORs since before you were born. try to get one.
2. letters from science profs who actually know you are arguably better because they're not boring cookie cutter. get some of those.
3. AMCAS rules make it very clear what's BCPM and what's not.

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
Zguy
Aug 16, 2016
18
4
1. a prereq letter helps everybody because those professors tend to understand the med school app process and have maybe been cranking out LORs since before you were born. try to get one.
2. letters from science profs who actually know you are arguably better because they're not boring cookie cutter. get some of those.
3. AMCAS rules make it very clear what's BCPM and what's not.

Best of luck to you.
Unfortunately, this does not really answer my question. Your first point seems like it might be suggesting that I get in contact with science professors from 5 years ago, and your second point supports me using my CLS professors. In my experience, AMCAS rules are not so cut and dry, and people generally reclassify their classes rather freely (assuming the classes are heavily science based).
 

DrMidlife

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Unfortunately, this does not really answer my question. Your first point seems like it might be suggesting that I get in contact with science professors from 5 years ago
Yes:
1. a prereq letter helps everybody because those professors tend to understand the med school app process and have maybe been cranking out LORs since before you were born. try to get one.
Note emphasis on "try". Here in nontrad it's common to use LORs from professors we haven't seen in 10+ years, with whom we had memorable interactions.
, and your second point supports me using my CLS professors.
Yes:
2. letters from science profs who actually know you are arguably better because they're not boring cookie cutter. get some of those.
You need 3-4 LORs, including one non-science.
In my experience, AMCAS rules are not so cut and dry, and people generally reclassify their classes rather freely (assuming the classes are heavily science based).
Does your experience include reading the official AMCAS coursework classification instructions, which are actually quite helpful in understanding what to do and why? It's on pages 39-40 of the AMCAS instructions. On AAMC.org. Under AMCAS.
 
OP
Zguy
Aug 16, 2016
18
4
Yes:

Note emphasis on "try". Here in nontrad it's common to use LORs from professors we haven't seen in 10+ years, with whom we had memorable interactions.

Yes:

You need 3-4 LORs, including one non-science.

Does your experience include reading the official AMCAS coursework classification instructions, which are actually quite helpful in understanding what to do and why? It's on pages 39-40 of the AMCAS instructions. On AAMC.org. Under AMCAS.
I have looked at the reclassification instructions. Judging from them, reclassification should pass, since the courses all fall under BCPM categories. The only difference is that the word "clinical" is added. If so, I should be able to get good science LORs from these professors. If I were to get science LORs from back-in-the-day professors, there was only one that I had a meaningful relationship with. He was a microbiology professor and I was his TA for a time.

I just don't know. It still feels like a catch 22 to me. If I get letters from science professors from years ago, the letters will be very generic. If I get letters from these probable but not confirmed recent science professors, the letters will be very good. I guess it might just be one of those things where I have to go with my gut. Perhaps I will have some advice of my own to share here at that point, eh?
 

dwgrubbs1s

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Oct 1, 2015
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If the recent science proffessors write you a letter, then get it. If that doesn't work, then go to the professors from years ago and get a generic letter. From everything I understand, LOR (unless they are all-star letters) are typically generic and is cliché despite efforts to not be. Not saying they aren't important, but saying that even if it is a generic letter, it is not a huge deal. Impress them more with MCAT scores, gpa, EC's.
 
OP
Zguy
Aug 16, 2016
18
4
If the recent science proffessors write you a letter, then get it. If that doesn't work, then go to the professors from years ago and get a generic letter. From everything I understand, LOR (unless they are all-star letters) are typically generic and is cliché despite efforts to not be. Not saying they aren't important, but saying that even if it is a generic letter, it is not a huge deal. Impress them more with MCAT scores, gpa, EC's.
Fair enough. The reason I would rather use the CLS professors is that it is a professional program, and you spend a ton of time with the same professors throughout. My only concern was whether or not they would rather see a letter from a physics or organic Chem professor, rather than a hematology or clinical microbiology professor (since those are standard prereqs).

Also, the courses would have to be reclassified in AMCAS to BCPM due to the department. I have no doubt they will be. Still, it is concerning for it to not be completely certain is all.

Thanks for the input.

Zguy
 
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