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Recommendation Dilemma

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by magdalynaa, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. magdalynaa

    magdalynaa Junior Member

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    Hi everyone! This is my first post, but I've been lurking for awhile. I've actually been forced out of my lurking because of this dilemma. Some background: I'm almost 24. I graduated from Vassar in 2003 with a degree in political science. I completed all of the pre-med courses, took the MCAT (and bombed with a 23), and was rejected from the 3 schools to which I applied (all in Louisiana). I'm applying next year for admission in 2007 and will re-take the MCAT in April -- and study this time. :laugh: In that time, I've taken some post-bac science classes (2 anatomy classes and one microbiology course). I'm applying through my pre-med committee at Vassar, but I will be supplementing my older committee letter with a letter from my current employer, for whom I've been working for a year and a half.

    I'm currently working as a case manager/admin assistant/counselor/whatever-else-needs-to-be-done-girl in a group home for juvenile offenders. My employers are basically my second family, and we all have a very close and very comfortable relationship. Seriously, it's like working for my parents. :p None of my supervisors possess particularly good written communication skills, so I've written every letter, every recommendation, every request for anything that has left this facility in the past year and a half. Yesterday, my supervisor, Wanda, asked me to compose a letter of recommendation for another employee and let her sign it when I was finished. The conversation went like this:

    Wanda: "Here's a list of relevant dates and titles. I don't do letters of recommendation... you know that!"

    Me: "What! You'd better start! You have to write me a letter of recommendation for medical school!"

    Wanda: "Don't worry... you write excellent letters. Your letter of recommendation will be fantastic... since you're going to write it yourself."

    Ummm... she's serious. If I'm going to get a letter of recommendation for medical school, I'm going to be writing it myself. Don't get me wrong: I'm a master of bs, and I'm a very good writer. I think that with those two skills, I could manufacture a stunning letter for myself.

    My question is this: is this... ummm... ethical? Is there a limit to how many amazing character traits I can give myself, lol? Assuming I do this, I don't want to write an over-the-top bunch of junk, so what guidelines should I follow?

    I'd appreciate any advice. :)
     
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  3. Captain Fantastic

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Don't sweat it. When I applied to graduate school all but one of my letter writers had me write the letters for them. Just write the letter and be happy that you're getting at least one really awesome LOR.

    Here are some guidelines for writing LORs: http://career.coe.missouri.edu//samples/WritingGuidelines.pdf
     
  4. magdalynaa

    magdalynaa Junior Member

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    Whew, I'm relieved that this is more common than I thought!

    That link is sooo helpful. Thank you!
     
  5. magdalynaa

    magdalynaa Junior Member

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    I think you could put a positive spin on that. You could tell them that you think your application to Northwestern was really strengthened by their letters, and you would appreciate it if they could update their letters to be more current... that you think their recommendations were extremely valuable in your prior application and would be a tremendous asset to your med school application.
     
  6. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
    Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I definitely think this! I think my trouble lies more in my approach to them - I don't want them to feel like I am wasting their time. Since I decided not to go to Northwestern, maybe they might feel like I might not go to med school? (Although taking several years of my life to prepare for med school + MCAT should be convincing!)

    Maybe I'm just overanalyzing since the topic came up! :)
     
  7. almost_there

    almost_there Senior Member
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    Just tell them the truth -- it was a tough decision, but after exploring the medical field, you realized that you really wanted to go into clinical work/helping people/medicine instead of pure academic research. You appreciated their help in the other application, and was wondering if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for medical school?

    If they like you (and it seems like there is no reason they shouldn't), they should be happy to help you do what you really want to do.

    a_t
     

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