5+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2015
Hi all. I have several questions regarding letter of recommendation:
1. If my attending retired couple months ago and I wanted to ask for her letter of recommendation, is it okay to use personal letterhead?
2. when we are doing away elective, most of the time the attendings change every week or two. Do you guys think this 1-2 week of rotation would usually be enough for them to gauge our clinical skills and write good letter? Or just stick with our own institution attendings who have been working with us together for ~2 years?
3. for fellowship, some universities ask for 4 letters. do we need to use all 3 from subspecialty + 1 PD LoR?

Thank you in advance.


10+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2007
Status (Visible)
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
  2. Attending Physician
1-I cant imagine many would care but to be safe just have an admin in the department your professor used to work for send you a letterhead template then include it in your email to the professor with all of your other stuff. Whether he/she uses it is up to him/her.

2-Of course not but if you get a chance to work with someone well connected who would be willing to vouch for you take it because the fellowship game is strongly based off academic connections. If you already have that where you come from then don't bother. If you are an MS4 asking about residency then I have no idea.

3-Generally that is wise because PDs will want to know someone who actually practices in their field think you are a great person. Furthermore as above the letters are half about learning about you as a person and half about the person writing it in my experience. It is unlikely that someone outside their field will carry the same weight as a strong name within the field although the generic advice is to always go better letter rather than the name. That being said a gen med attending who knows you well or can vouch for a specific aspect of your application (eg research or global health or your outpatient demeanor etc) can be a good asset.
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