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Question: Recommendations for a non-traditional....

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by NonTradMed, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    I have a question I'm hoping someone here can answer.

    I am a non-traditional med school applicant. I graduated in December of 2002 and have been working ever since in a fulltime, real world job :rolleyes:.

    I am applying to med school this fall and am looking around for recommendations. I remember back in college that our school's premed committee helped us prepare for med school which may include writing a recommendation for the med school application. I don't know if that is common in other schools---or if that is required.

    Is it true I should get into contact with my school's premed committee and ask for a recommendation and/or advice? Is their recommendation required?

    My plan is to ask my mentor at work write me a recommendation---is that a good thing? she's designated my official mentor at work, but it carries no hierarchal status.

    I also want to ask my old academic advisor from college (if he still remembers me! :eek: ) to write my recommendation.

    And now, I seem to be hearing that your undergrad premed committee might have to be the third recommendation if you "just" graduated......

    Anyway, I regret not paying closer attention to my friends while they were applying to med school.....so now, I come to you, SDNnes, to seek out your advice regarding this situation.

    Also, any advice on who to get recommendation from would be great, as well as in what combination (i.e two academic and one real world vs one real/one academic/one volunteer ect...).

    Thanks! :thumbup:
     
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  3. midlifecrisis

    midlifecrisis Member
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    The secondary applications I got specified the types of recs they want. Pre-med advisory committees were the norm, or 2-3 individual faculty. Some schools didn't want anything extra, others did. So your real world recs will be useful some of the time. But thinking about it early and getting it lined up is a great idea. Getting my recs out was the slowest part. I had great well intentioned faculty willing to help me, but they are busy folk. Some will want you to basically write it for them, or give them a basic resume sketch they can use to guide them when they write. That way they can speak to you as a person and not just your academics.
    Then, no matter what you do, some school you aply to will have some funky form they want filled out and you will have to go back and bother your old profs once again.
     
  4. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    If you're going to take any prereq's (Phys/Chem/Orgo/Bio), use the prehealth advising dept at the school where you will take these classes. If you're not going to take any prereq's, then go back to your alma mater and use their prehealth dept. Meet with an advisor and do absolutely everything that they recommend (within reason). Whichever school it is, use the premed committee also. Med schools expect this. Most of your recommendations should/must come from faculty, maybe one from volunteer/clinical experience. Med schools expect mostly academic rec letters. I'm a nontrad and did not use any work recommendations. Also, don't be afraid to tap old references. I'd been out of school ten years and still got 2 references from undergrad. Good luck...
     
  5. missbonnie

    missbonnie floating
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    It was my understanding that a premed committee letter is just a composite letter that sits on top of your actual recs. If your ugrad (or postbacc if you did that) has a committee that writes letters, med schools will want that.

    I applied 4 yrs after graduating college and collected 2 new letters - one from my boss at my former full time job and one from a supervisor/mentor of a program i participated in. All the other letters were during college - the usual science stuff.

    To get started - definitely talk to the pre med advisor from your ugrad (and/or postbacc) - a lot of stuff will need to go through their office, so best to get to know them now. Hopefully, yours will be knowledgeable and will be able to guide you along the process well.

    best of luck.

    b
     
  6. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Thanks for the advice, everyone!

    I am getting a bit worried now. Mainly b/c I don't think I have any profs besides my advisor who still remembers me.

    Another worry has cropped up while thinking about this....I am planning on applying to about 20 med schools (hey, I'm a realist :rolleyes: ) but I don't want to hassle people with 20 different forms to fill out. How do people with so many applications do their recommendations? Do they try to combine recommendations from several schools (if that's even possible..) or do they just use more than three people to write different applications? And what happens if I didn't get in and decided to reapply to 20 schools again? How do people ask their advisor/profs/co-workers to write their 20 recommendations again---or do you just look for different people?

    I know, I shouldn't be stressing so much.....but I can't help it......just finished MCAT and don't feel too hot about it. :(
     
  7. midlifecrisis

    midlifecrisis Member
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    OK..first smoke a fattie, or have a beer, or visit your spiritual advisor, whatever you need to do to relax. Most people walk out of MCAT feeling not so hot, its ok to get a lot wrong, they do that on purpose to see if they can rattle you. Beside, there's nothing you can do about it now.
    I was out of school 4 years and my profs still remembered me. Unless you were hiding under a table in smaller classes they'll remember you too. Don't worry about the number of schools to apply to, wait until you get your MCAT scores to figure that out.

    For the most part the letters of rec will be the same for all your aps, they'll just change the address on the envelope. Work on your essay, find the profs you need to get them thinking about your letter, and relax. This process is a whole lot of waiting...you may as well get used to it and find better things to do with your time than obsess.
     
  8. ball372

    ball372 Member
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    i would recommend you looking into services such as Interfolio, Inc. It is a service that keeps and sends your letters out. So the letter writer just has to send one copy to Interfolio (saying something general like "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear Admissions Committee Members,"

    Anyway, Interfolio has a yearly fee (not too expensive) and then it's (last I checked) $5 per school (no limit on 3 of letters they send to each school.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  9. sfbear

    sfbear Senior Member
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    Here's what I would say (I graduated a year before you and was in the same boat):

    1. sign up for interfolio.com - easy and cheap.
    2. contact a science professor whose class you did well in. tell them how much you enjoyed their class, that you are now applying to med school, and that you would like to meet to discuss a letter of rec. be prepared to bring your resume, personal statement, and an addressed, stamped envelope.
    3. get a letter of rec. (or two) from your work. as your most recent experience, this/these will carry more weight. most schools will accept this in lieu of one of the academic letters.
    4. if you have anyone who can testify to your clinical exposure/commitment (volunteering, etc.) talk to them.
    5. do it asap - letter writers are slow.

    good luck!
     
  10. pjm

    pjm Senior Member
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    SDN will make you crazy. take everything you read here with a grain of salt. :)

    here's a recent thread discussing the worth of an LOR from your boss after you've been working for awhile:
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=134406

    I did not get an LOR from my employer because I didn't work in a medical field, and I felt it wouldn't have much to say about why I wanted to go into medicine. I believe you should get at least one LOR from an MD, and several from professors. (I have never served on an adcom, of course, so what do I know?)

    Ask your alma mater premed office if they offer a letter service that you can use. Mine did, it worked out great. Interfolio is a fine alternative if the premed office won't help you.

    The LOR process can take a lot of time. I started asking for LORs in February before I applied; most of them were in by June, except one letter that arrived in July. My premed advisor then wrote a cover letter, so the whole package wasn't done until early September.
     
  11. MsEvolution

    MsEvolution Senior Member
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    Check with your school... my undergrad school allows us to open a recommendation letter file. Your recommenders direct their letters *there* and then you just have copies forwarded to the schools.

    Also, don't be afraid to go back to profs whose classes or advice made an impact on you. I sent out 7 emails to old profs last week hoping at least one of them would give me the one extra letter I need. So far, I have 4 that remember me and are willing to write one.

    You never know unless you ask... and remember, the worst that can happen is they'll say no. Be willing to bring back work you did in the class to refresh their memory of who you are. And remember to ask if they can write you a *favorable* letter of recommendation.

    Good luck!
     

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