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PI - AMCAS LOR Question

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Chimneysweep

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Hi all,

I have a question about how LOR's work for MD/PhD applicants.

My PI is writing me a letter for the general AMCAS application. Will there be subsequent opportunities for a more specialized "physician/scientist" letter for the schools that I applied MD/PhD, or should this letter emphasize the physician/scientist aspect of my application?

I'm concerned that if he emphasizes the MD/PhD aspect, it will alienate the safety schools that I applied to as MD-only.

Thanks for your help.
 

justgo

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My understanding is that you can get around this issue by having the recommendor write two letters and differentially designating them to schools. If you designate a letter to a school it goes to the school with no differentiation between MD and MD/PhD program receipt. So if you want to send different letters, then just designate them to different schools.

If you are applying to Duke of the Louisiana schools, check the info on their websites, seems letters go ONCE to MD/PhD program (Duke...not looked into Louisiana).
 

medzk

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My understanding is that you can get around this issue by having the recommendor write two letters and differentially designating them to schools. If you designate a letter to a school it goes to the school with no differentiation between MD and MD/PhD program receipt. So if you want to send different letters, then just designate them to different schools.

If you are applying to Duke of the Louisiana schools, check the info on their websites, seems letters go ONCE to MD/PhD program (Duke...not looked into Louisiana).

I guess this works if you are applying MD-only and MD/PhD-only to different schools, but if you are applying to both MD/PhD and MD-only at the same school, then I don't think that would work.
 

nothingman

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I imagine you can do the two letter thing if your PI is ok with it, and put one "MD-oriented" letter from him or her in the pre-med committee packet (that will likely be ignored in favor of the research letters by the MD-PhD committees), and use the research letter for the supplementary MD-PhD application.

That said, I think a good PI that knows you well can emphasize your research aptitude, work ethic and your humanistic personal characteristics in a single great letter without directly saying MD-PhD (maybe, "a career/training in research and academic medicine"). Keep in mind, MD-only committees will not neglect great research if the person doing it is a strong candidate on other fronts, so I don't think this letter is a throwaway from that point of view. If you can work this out with your PI, I would recommend the single letter strategy (or a single letter with very minor variations for the two purposes). You can put it in your pre-med packet for MD committees to see, and send to MD-PhD committees as needed.

Edit: I would check program websites for specifics of whether supplementary letters are sent to MD-PhD programs or if they just look for your mentors' letters in the pre-med committee packet. It used to be almost exclusively the former, but now I am not so sure. If it's more the latter, even more reason to have one great letter for both purposes.
 
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