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Only a "good" letter for research

Lean

New Member
Feb 5, 2013
2
0
0
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey guys!

So I was planning to apply this upcoming June but problems with my research have been making me rethink that. Long story short my PI agreed to write me a "good" research letter but not a strong one. I was in the lab for almost 2 years but I wouldn't say it was the most productive time. I didn't have a graduate student mentor so I spent more time troubleshooting basic experiments than conducting much research. I think working in a lab for so long and receiving a mediocre letter is a red flag so I dont plan to use the letter.

My question is if I plan to do research during my year off at the NIH would that be sufficient to cover my weak research? I plan to apply in June so I wouldn't be able to include the letter from that experience. Do you guys think I should take two years off so I can complete the research first and then get a letter? Should I not even wait until the Summer and find a lab on campus now? This is stressing me out because I want to go to a top 25 school and I feel like this was such a preventable blemish.

Stats:
3.8 GPA
37 MCAT
Strong Clinical Experience
Heavy involvement working with minority communities and tutoring
Handful of awards and scholarships
URM Student
Other unique ECs

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

TheShaker

Full Member
Jan 31, 2012
2,672
822
91
Hey guys!

So I was planning to apply this upcoming June but problems with my research have been making me rethink that. Long story short my PI agreed to write me a "good" research letter but not a strong one. I was in the lab for almost 2 years but I wouldn't say it was the most productive time. I didn't have a graduate student mentor so I spent more time troubleshooting basic experiments than conducting much research. I think working in a lab for so long and receiving a mediocre letter is a red flag so I dont plan to use the letter.

My question is if I plan to do research during my year off at the NIH would that be sufficient to cover my weak research? I plan to apply in June so I wouldn't be able to include the letter from that experience. Do you guys think I should take two years off so I can complete the research first and then get a letter? Should I not even wait until the Summer and find a lab on campus now? This is stressing me out because I want to go to a top 25 school and I feel like this was such a preventable blemish.

Stats:
3.8 GPA
37 MCAT
Strong Clinical Experience
Heavy involvement working with minority communities and tutoring
Handful of awards and scholarships
URM Student
Other unique ECs

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

"Troubleshooting basic experiments"

To be honest, this is most of what research is depending on the project you're on. Eventually you'll just learn that it's a part of it and it's pretty much the whole battle. Once you have an experiment optimized, then you just churn out results. Are you talking about the NIH IRTA program? I'm applying myself and I would like to do the 2 year stint more than the one year one.

Anyways, you're a 3.8/37 URM, you would need the letter to state that you regularly kill lab mice for fun to make a dent on your chances. Don't worry about it.
 

cwrig14

Full Member
5+ Year Member
May 11, 2011
295
4
101
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey guys!

So I was planning to apply this upcoming June but problems with my research have been making me rethink that. Long story short my PI agreed to write me a "good" research letter but not a strong one. I was in the lab for almost 2 years but I wouldn't say it was the most productive time. I didn't have a graduate student mentor so I spent more time troubleshooting basic experiments than conducting much research. I think working in a lab for so long and receiving a mediocre letter is a red flag so I dont plan to use the letter.

My question is if I plan to do research during my year off at the NIH would that be sufficient to cover my weak research? I plan to apply in June so I wouldn't be able to include the letter from that experience. Do you guys think I should take two years off so I can complete the research first and then get a letter? Should I not even wait until the Summer and find a lab on campus now? This is stressing me out because I want to go to a top 25 school and I feel like this was such a preventable blemish.

Stats:
3.8 GPA
37 MCAT
Strong Clinical Experience
Heavy involvement working with minority communities and tutoring
Handful of awards and scholarships
URM Student
Other unique ECs

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

If you have a sufficient amount of strong letters from other profs/employers/etc, I would try to avoid using the "good" letter. If you don't have enough without it, then use it.
That being said, I would get the letter either way and store it in interfolio just in case you may need it. I did this for a "good" letter and never ended up needing it, but you never know.
 

Lean

New Member
Feb 5, 2013
2
0
0
  1. Pre-Medical
"Troubleshooting basic experiments"

To be honest, this is most of what research is depending on the project you're on. Eventually you'll just learn that it's a part of it and it's pretty much the whole battle. Once you have an experiment optimized, then you just churn out results. Are you talking about the NIH IRTA program? I'm applying myself and I would like to do the 2 year stint more than the one year one.

Anyways, you're a 3.8/37 URM, you would need the letter to state that you regularly kill lab mice for fun to make a dent on your chances. Don't worry about it.
Yeah I am talking about the IRTA program. I don't want to take 2 years off but if I need to for that last letter I think I might. My other letters would be strong but I am worried about including my research experiences on my app with no letter. Thanks for the help so far guys.
 
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