Opinions on super nontrad getting 2 LOR's from science faculty

Oct 8, 2013
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Hi all,

Here's a little background info about me. I finished all pre-health courses by 2003, then finished pharmacy school in 2009. Took MCAT in 2014, got 30 (10/8/12 cuz English is my second language). Could've been much higher but I was working 56+ hours a week as a pharmacist while studying MCAT for 3 months.

Most DO schools require TWO science faculty letters, but because of the long time elapsed and faculty turnovers, I was only able to get one, getting a second one is practically impossible. I emailed a few schools to see if I could use much more recent employer and DO letters from mere months ago in lieu of the second required science faculty letter, but they were all very rigid and would not make exceptions. (Most MD schools however, allow employer letters to substitute for science faculty letters)

The dilemma is, I have been out of school for so long, even if I were able to get science faculty letters, it'd be like at least 12 years ago when I was a simple and stupid college student, and no way could those letters reflect who I am today as a person, healthcare professional, and med school applicant. This rigid science faculty letter requirement for nontrads who are more than a decade removed from college is just unreasonable, unrealistic, and not right imho. In the end it's those DO schools that lose out.

So how should I go about this? All opinions are appreciated, but I especially want to know adcom's take on that, i.e. Goro, gyngyn, etc.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Gandyy

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Aug 8, 2014
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What about asking your pharmacy school professors? They are still science professors that gave you a grade and that was in 2009 which isnt ridiculously far away to be honest.
 
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wxman393

Are you Army? Most of the schools I applied to allowed me to submit letters from my commander/supervisor/raters. I'm surprised you got pushback from the DO schools. I was about ten years removed from undergrad as well.
 
Feb 13, 2015
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Many schools require 2 science faculty but not all. There is still a decent number that only requires 1 science faculty (both Midwesterns, SOMA, Western Pomona and Lebanon, PNWU) there may be more but those are the only ones that I am aware of. It might be time consuming but I would try to contact every school you are interested in a find out if they will be flexible. I would be surprised if many wouldn't work with you due to your situation. Also, I would also try to meet with some of your previous professors if possible. If you can meet with them so they can get to know you. What is your time frame? Are you trying to apply this cycle? If not you have plenty of time to take a class or two, kill it, and get a LOR from those professors.
 
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Cardboard101

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Jun 5, 2015
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Hi all,

Here's a little background info about me. I finished all pre-health courses by 2003, then finished pharmacy school in 2009. Took MCAT in 2014, got 30 (10/8/12 cuz English is my second language). Could've been much higher but I was working 56+ hours a week as a pharmacist while studying MCAT for 3 months.

Most DO schools require TWO science faculty letters, but because of the long time elapsed and faculty turnovers, I was only able to get one, getting a second one is practically impossible. I emailed a few schools to see if I could use much more recent employer and DO letters from mere months ago in lieu of the second required science faculty letter, but they were all very rigid and would not make exceptions. (Most MD schools however, allow employer letters to substitute for science faculty letters)

The dilemma is, I have been out of school for so long, even if I were able to get science faculty letters, it'd be like at least 12 years ago when I was a simple and stupid college student, and no way could those letters reflect who I am today as a person, healthcare professional, and med school applicant. This rigid science faculty letter requirement for nontrads who are more than a decade removed from college is just unreasonable, unrealistic, and not right imho. In the end it's those DO schools that lose out.

So how should I go about this? All opinions are appreciated, but I especially want to know adcom's take on that, i.e. Goro, gyngyn, etc.

Thanks in advance!
Take another class at college, ask for a recommendation letter?

Alternatively, there's quite a few DO schools that only want one sci faculty letter/committee letter. According to my list:
Western U
ATSU
Midwestern
CUSOM
KCUMBCOM
LUCOM (requies 3, one DO, one faculty, one "anything")
MSUCOM (One DO or faculty)
PNWU
VCOM
WVSOM

all only require one science letter. MSUCOM doesn't require any. The above definitely will accept just one science faculty letter. Its up to you to contact the rest and ask if they'll substitute. Explain your situation, they may allow non undergraduate faculty letters. There's quite a few that will accept graduate letters of recommendation as well as people you've done research with provided they're on the faculty of a university. A letter from one of your PSchool professors can count. Ex: NYIT: "You may request letters from graduate faculty if they are available or colleagues with whom you work or perform research if they are on faculty at a college or university."
 
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Aug 26, 2015
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Susan's Extremely Useful Guide to a Rec Letter: Find a class you got an A in, search that professor's online profile, read his/her research, choose one paper and read it in extreme detail, think of a follow up experiment related to that paper, then email the professor with your idea. I have done this 4 times, and all 4 times the professor replied and was eager to let me do research. Then work on the project for that semester, and BAM! epic rec letter.
 

mathnerd88

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Susan's Extremely Useful Guide to a Rec Letter: Find a class you got an A in, search that professor's online profile, read his/her research, choose one paper and read it in extreme detail, think of a follow up experiment related to that paper, then email the professor with your idea. I have done this 4 times, and all 4 times the professor replied and was eager to let me do research. Then work on the project for that semester, and BAM! epic rec letter.
That works if you are still in school. He has been out of school. He could try this in summer but now it is getting late.
 
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goldy490

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You could enroll in a science course at the local community college and try to get an LOR out of it? Some of those schools offer evening or weekend classes, and usually are pretty cheap.
 

feeling-dizzy

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Aug 12, 2014
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As a "real" non-grad, you don't need LOR from professors, they could come from your employers instead
 
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Dohnut
Oct 8, 2013
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Pharmacist
What about asking your pharmacy school professors? They are still science professors that gave you a grade and that was in 2009 which isnt ridiculously far away to be honest.
Problem with that is that I graduated pharm school in 2009, but did not set my mind on medical school until 2013. And my pharm school got a new Dean and there's been one too many faculty turnovers.

But I really appreciate your input Gandhi741!
 
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Dohnut
Oct 8, 2013
289
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Pharmacist
As a "real" non-grad, you don't need LOR from professors, they could come from your employers instead

Yes that'd make absolute sense as no professors would be able to foresee that I'm applying to med school a few years down the pharmacist gig. And letters from science profs 10+ years ago cannot describe the person, healthcare professional, and med school applicant that I am today. I actually contacted PCOM and GA-PCOM, both of em were being very rigid on the science prof letters and employer letters won't count.

Feels like most med schools prefer fresh college grads with inappropriate, pointless or simply impossible letter requirement that's the same for college juniors for the non-trads who made up their mind on a career in medicine years later.
 
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Dohnut
Oct 8, 2013
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goldy490work: 16853643 said:
You could enroll in a science course at the local community college and try to get an LOR out of it? Some of those schools offer evening or weekend classes, and usually are pretty cheap.
Thanks for the workable idea! Except I have to work full time to support family so got no time or $$$ for that. Besides, I got kickass prereq grades all from the best school in Texas in the University of Texas at Austin as opposed to some no name community colleges or post-bac.
 

feeling-dizzy

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Aug 12, 2014
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Yes that'd make absolute sense as no professors would be able to foresee that I'm applying to med school a few years down the pharmacist gig. And letters from science profs 10+ years ago cannot describe the person, healthcare professional, and med school applicant that I am today. I actually contacted PCOM and GA-PCOM, both of em were being very rigid on the science prof letters and employer letters won't count.

Feels like most med schools prefer fresh college grads with inappropriate, pointless or simply impossible letter requirement that's the same for college juniors for the non-trads who made up their mind on a career in medicine years later.
Well, I called MD schools such as UC Irvine, and all said you can substitute for employer LOR. I mean if you really desperate for science LOR, you can email old professors. I would think they would be happy to write LOR for successful graduate such as a pharmacist.
 
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Dohnut
Oct 8, 2013
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Well, I called MD schools such as UC Irvine, and all said you can substitute for employer LOR. I mean if you really desperate for science LOR, you can email old professors. I would think they would be happy to write LOR for successful graduate such as a pharmacist.

I appreciate your input. Like I said in the original post, most MD schools are okay with employer letters in lieu of prof letters, but on contrary to common belief, all DO schools I have contacted have been real rigid about the prof letters and none would make exceptions like the MD schools would.

It's real hypocritical on the DO schools part. Or maybe I happened to contact the wrong DO school people, lol.
 

Monkitty

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Mar 2, 2015
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Contact LMU if you are interested in them. I'm in the same boat and when I contacted them they said since I was non-traditional I could substitute supervisors, etc.
 
T

trev5150

If you have names you might be able to track down faculty to wherever they landed post-exodus. Just because the letterhead is different shouldn't invalidate the recommendation.
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

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Mar 24, 2014
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If you decide to e-mail an old professor(s) who no longer teaches (or teaches elsewhere) can you write of your experience here?

Best regards :)