past summer jobs


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2003
So I worked a research job the summer after my freshman year, and it turned out that my PI and I didn't really get along too well. The lab had REAL ****ty equipment(dating back to the 70s), and since he was only in the lab ~5 minutes a day, he never realised how bad it was. (last I heard, the grad student whose project i was working on was about to drop out of the program b/c she couldnt get any good data) So whenever I'd give him my experiment data, which never looked right, he'd think I was incompetent and wouldn't believe me when I told him the equipment was crap. Overall, a really bad experience. I asked him if he'd write a rec for my summer job apps last summer, and he actually said no....if that gives you any idea of our relationship....

The problem is, he's a chemistry prof. at my state school, where I'd most like to attend. I'll be pretty competitive there, but I'm worried that the adcom's will say "oh, he worked for Dr. XX in the chem department" and then give this guy a call and he'll say pretty bad things about me. what are the odds that the adcom's will actually phone/email him if I don't use him as a LOR in my application?


Fingerpickin' Good
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2002
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I would still go ahead and list your research experience....Its still an experience, and it obviously had some affect on you (even if it was kind of negative). I worked in an organic synthesis lab for ~1.5 years, and I wasn't afraid to tell adcom's that I grew sick of organic and life in that lab (put in much better terms of course) by the end. I did have a letter of rec from my PI there, and he showed it to me later, and it ended up being nothing special. Its better to NOT have a letter of rec than have a s***y one from someone who doesn't know you/like you.

As far as adcom's going out of their way and calling your PI, well, I'm not sure if they'd do that or not. They definately have the means to communicate with one another, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will.
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7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2004
Med schools usually do not care as long as you submit the required number of recommendation letter. I didn't submit a letter from someone I worked with for a year (under advisement from my pre-med advisors who can view the letters) and I still got accepted at med schools.

On another note, schools know that you may not always have the best relationship with your supervisor and thus may not choose to get a rec letter from him/her. Just explain in a positive way if they ask at the interview (They likely won't ask unless they are jerks).
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