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Rec letter from PhD advisor

echod

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    For MD/PhD students, is a letter from the PhD advisor recommended for all rad onc programs? Are there any programs that would not want a letter from my PhD advisor? I think I am concerned about sending a basic science research letter to a community program that doesn't do research. Thanks a lot!
     

    Sheldor

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      For MD/PhD students, is a letter from the PhD advisor recommended for all rad onc programs? Are there any programs that would not want a letter from my PhD advisor? I think I am concerned about sending a basic science research letter to a community program that doesn't do research. Thanks a lot!

      Since no one else has answered, I'll give it a shot.

      General consensus on these forums is that if you are a MD/PhD candidate you need to have a letter from your PhD advisor. If you don't have one, I'm given to understand that it is viewed as a red flag.

      That said, based on my experience I would encourage you not to worry. I am not a MD/PhD applicant, but I did have one letter from my research mentor who was a PhD, and it did not seem to hinder my getting interviews at more clinically focused locations. In fact, even at places that give 1 month for research and don't prioritize, they still wanted to talk about research.

      My 2 cents: Include the letter. It won't hurt you, and can only help!
       
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      medgator

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        Not an MD/PhD guy, but just intuitively, I'd think it would raise a big red flag to not include a letter from the guy/gal that essentially mentored you for at least half of med school (if not all of it when you were doing the MD part), regardless of the program's slant towards clinical training vs research
         

        evilbooyaa

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          Since we're on the topic of rec letters (and the original question seems to have been answered), what is generally the number of rec letters one should hold 'on tap' for ERAS?

          I have heard 3-4 radiation oncology letters (preferably by big names and/or very strong ones) + an internal medicine attending/chairman letter?

          Main reason I'm asking is because I had a family medicine chairman volunteer to write me a recommendation letter. Would that be usable during the application process?
           

          Sheldor

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            Since we're on the topic of rec letters (and the original question seems to have been answered), what is generally the number of rec letters one should hold 'on tap' for ERAS?

            I have heard 3-4 radiation oncology letters (preferably by big names and/or very strong ones) + an internal medicine attending/chairman letter?

            Main reason I'm asking is because I had a family medicine chairman volunteer to write me a recommendation letter. Would that be usable during the application process?

            I'd consider using the family medicine chairman's letter for your TY applications. I think that a nice well rounded letter packet works best for them. You could include your two best Rad Onc letters, the IM letter and the FM letter for TY's.

            I personally wouldn't recommend using the FM letter for rad onc programs, i'd fill those up like you mentioned 3-4 rad onc/research letters plus IM for those that require it (Penn, etc.)
             

            echod

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              Since no one else has answered, I'll give it a shot.

              General consensus on these forums is that if you are a MD/PhD candidate you need to have a letter from your PhD advisor. If you don't have one, I'm given to understand that it is viewed as a red flag.

              That said, based on my experience I would encourage you not to worry. I am not a MD/PhD applicant, but I did have one letter from my research mentor who was a PhD, and it did not seem to hinder my getting interviews at more clinically focused locations. In fact, even at places that give 1 month for research and don't prioritize, they still wanted to talk about research.

              My 2 cents: Include the letter. It won't hurt you, and can only help!

              Would you send the PhD advisor letter to transitional year or prelim programs? Probably not a good idea right?
               

              Sheldor

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                Would you send the PhD advisor letter to transitional year or prelim programs? Probably not a good idea right?

                Well, I wouldn't say its not a good idea in the way that it would hurt you directly. It would only hurt you in so much as that TY's and Prelims won't care about your research, and so while they may find that letter interesting it won't add to your application.

                For TY's, I did 3 rad onc letters (clinically based) and my IM letter. Got more than enough interviews and no one really mentioned my letters in all my interviews except for one interviewer than said something like, "Well clearly Dr. XXXX thought highly of you."

                The TL;DR:

                Rad Onc - Three clinical rad onc letters + One research letter (PhD or MD you did research with)

                TY - Any mixture of clinical letters you'd like, for the least work do the same three clinical rad onc letters above plus IM. If you've accumulated more from FM, Surg, etc, just put the 4 that you think are the "best."

                Hope that helps!
                 
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