dropshotdragon

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May 27, 2009
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I'm a med student at a school in the northeast. I have had my CAS and all accompanying materials ready for about the last 3 weeks. The only thing I have missing is 1 rec letter from an ophthalmologist. I initially gave him 4 weeks to fill it out before reminding him about it; that was 2 weeks ago. Over the last 2 weeks, I have contacted his secretary and she said she has not heard anything from him, I have emailed him directly twice with no response. I know he is in town and seeing patients, so that can't be it.

This is a notoriously scatterbrained guy who I know is really nice and likes me a lot; this being said, I don't want to screw my chances of matching at my school or him writing me a crappy letter by me nagging him. The thing is, the whole reason I filled out my stuff early is to get a head start on the process by submitting by mid July (timestamped by SF Match early-->early interviews-->more flexibility with scheduling interviews).

Although I know this is not truly a rolling admissions process, the questions I have so that I can expedite the process are:
1)How do I approach it now that I have already contacted him 3 times so that he writes my letter soon, but at the same time I'm not stepping on his toes?
2)Does it really help when you submit early to get earlier interviews?
3)Do earlier interview offers matter at all?

Thanks for your help everyone. This is a great forum.
 

alleyesonme

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2007
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I'm a med student at a school in the northeast. I have had my CAS and all accompanying materials ready for about the last 3 weeks. The only thing I have missing is 1 rec letter from an ophthalmologist. I initially gave him 4 weeks to fill it out before reminding him about it; that was 2 weeks ago. Over the last 2 weeks, I have contacted his secretary and she said she has not heard anything from him, I have emailed him directly twice with no response. I know he is in town and seeing patients, so that can't be it.

This is a notoriously scatterbrained guy who I know is really nice and likes me a lot; this being said, I don't want to screw my chances of matching at my school or him writing me a crappy letter by me nagging him. The thing is, the whole reason I filled out my stuff early is to get a head start on the process by submitting by mid July (timestamped by SF Match early-->early interviews-->more flexibility with scheduling interviews).

Although I know this is not truly a rolling admissions process, the questions I have so that I can expedite the process are:
1)How do I approach it now that I have already contacted him 3 times so that he writes my letter soon, but at the same time I'm not stepping on his toes?
2)Does it really help when you submit early to get earlier interviews?
3)Do earlier interview offers matter at all?

Thanks for your help everyone. This is a great forum.
1) Meet with him in person! Emails and secretary reminders never get anything done. Have his secretary schedule a 5-10 minute meeting with him. Be polite, and just let him know that you have completed your application and would like to send it out on such and such date. Set up a specific date that you can come back and pick it up. You may also use the time to run your list of programs by him and get his opinions or suggestions.

2) I had my application in about 1-1.5 weeks before the target date and it was more than enough. I think that having your application in early is ideal, but not imperative. Make sure to have it in by the target date. It depends on the program, some places review apps as they get them, others don't look at them until later.

3) An interview is an interview, take what you get. Try not to read into the whole process, as it will drive you crazy. Analyzing things will just make it worse.

Have fun, be yourself, and you will find the right program for you! It will be over before you know it.
 

deyer

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Aug 10, 2008
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I think meeting with him is a good idea. You might want to propose the meeting as a chance to go over the list of programs and such. Then during the meeting you can make it clear that your application is done and you just need to go over the list of places to apply to get his input. I would make it clear that the letter is the last piece, but you can do that without making it sound like you need it now and try to rush him. Conclude with: ok then just let me know when the letter is done and I can get this sent off, Im anxious to have it wrapped up.

I too was about 10 days before the suggested deadline, which I believe was in early september? I wouldn't get too worked up about being 2 months early. I think 10 days was plenty, you just want to be sure they get it ahead of the glut of apps that come in that day so that it gets sent out before the slowdown. Even 10 days early, I think it was weeks before I got an interview, and that was about as early as anyone did. I think most programs just wait until they have most/many of the apps before they start reviewing them. They have to go online and download them, so they might wait until there are a number of them available.

I dont know if early offers mean much. I think programs usually give out a round of interviews, figure out the rough number of accepts/declines and then send out a second batch. That is what it seemed like last year. That second offering may be days or weeks later. What IS important is that you try to get an idea of how your hopeful interviews will be scheduled. Once you get the invite it may be a matter of hours before a particularly desirable date is totally booked. So you don't want to waste time figuring out which date is best for you. I had a calendar with possible dates, best fit, and worked through it to be sure I wouldn't pick the wrong date and have to try to cancel or change later in the game to accommodate another program. That could cost you some good interviews.
 

twintiger32

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Sep 20, 2005
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I was in the same situation when I applied, and didn't want to "step on anyone's toes" and ended up having to scramble for a letter because my original letter write kept forgetting.

Don't feel bad, just go talk to him/her in person.

Submitting it early has it's benefits, so take any opportunity you can!