Dr.Acula

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How far do you think a big name goes when dealing with LORs? Here's my dilemna, i could get a letter of rec. from a doc well known (I'm talking AMA president level), but i don't know her all that well, but could still get one from her. Should I?
 
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Dr.Acula said:
How far do you think a big name goes when dealing with LORs? Here's my dilemna, i could get a letter of rec. from a doc well known (I'm talking AMA president level), but i don't know her all that well, but could still get one from her. Should I?
I got a LOR from the former president of the AMA just before he was replaced, and I was kind of in the same boat. I knew his son and had had dinner with him a few times--we'd even played cards at his house, but I don't think it did all that much for me. Nobody really did more than make passing mention of it at interviews. I don't think it could possibly hurt, though, so you might as well have it.
 

str8flexed

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Go for it and get one from her. That's why you can submit 4-6 (depending on your school), so you can have some that are "Big names" that don't say **** about you, and then some really personal ones from every-day professors.
 
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LizzyM

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The first paragraph of one of these letters describes how the writer knows the applicant. If you've worked for the "big name" for a year or more, had Dr. Bigname in a seminar or other small class, etc then the first paragraph is going to be strong. A big name that knows you socially (because you're a freind of his kid, have been a guest in his home, etc) is pretty worthless as a LOR.
 

braluk

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i got mine from someone well known at cardiac surgery in the Mayo Clinic, and i can definitely say that it is strong only if you worked with them. Social relations carry nearly no weight. And make sure that the recommendation will be strong. Just because you worked with Dr. X in a very limited setting, doesn't automatically make it a strong one. Im sure a really strong LOR from a biology or science prof that is really vying for you to get into med school with many listed reasons why is just as valid, if not more valid, then someone you worked with peripherally, but with a powerful name. I'd be more suspiciosu of an applicant using a big name LOR then someone using their own profs. After all, are you trying to hijack our admissions decisions simply because you are using a big name? Or does the recommendation part of the recommendatoin actually come out as being rather strong?
 
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Dr.Acula

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sorry double post.
 
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Dr.Acula

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What if I shadowed her a couple times too? I haven't done it yet, but was planning on aproaching her about it soon. (thanks for the replies)
 

LizzyM

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Dr.Acula said:
What if I shadowed her a couple times too? I haven't done it yet, but was planning on aproaching her about it soon. (thanks for the replies)
Again, letters from people whom you have shadowed a couple of times are not very strong either. What can they say? You are clean, prompt, polite, unobtrusive, etc but they don't know much about your academic performance in the classroom or your thinking process in the lab. You haven't been on the payroll, working day after day, getting a paycheck from the LOR writer. That is the sort of thing that makes for a strong letter.
 
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Dr.Acula

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Thanks, lizzy et. al.
You guys mind looking at this too? I posted in the official thread but am not getting an real feedback even after bumps.


My chances?

3.8 BCMP
On a 4 yr scholarship
no MCAT yet (hoping for 30 of course)

Research:
1 semester of research on microvasculature (possible pub soon)

Volunteering:
~100 hours of volunteering at 2 hospitals over a summer
2-3 days of shadowing a couple of different physicians
~25 or random volunteering over 3 years like habitat for humanity, elder-aid, Katrina relief, etc. (each only a few hours though)
Also, i've been doing wildlife rehabilitation for 8 years (is this worth puting on an app??)

Clubs:
1 year active member of pre-med society
1 semester academic bowl club

LORs:
okay, not great

I am only applying in Texas and not interested in going to a top-tier school, just wanna get in.
 

modelslashactor

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are you applying this year or next year? if next year, why not buddy up with the uber name doc with frequent shadowing or what not? if this year, then you are kind of running out of time to shadow her arent you?

letter or not your app is pretty strong with a decent mcat, and the wildlife stuff is real cool and should be on your app. do you have leadership in any of that stuff? you may want to 'gun' for some of that asap
 

braluk

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to the OP, yea LizzyM is probably the best resource you will find around here on the boards, as she is an adcom member, and probaly have encountered a buttload of applications. My saying is, whatever LizzyM says, goes ;)
 

Veshy

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Agreed, the wildlife rehabilitation work is unique and should definitely be listed as an activity. It also shows a long term commitment which always helps. As modelslashactor asked, if you had a leadership role it this activity, it would stand out further.
 
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