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Recommendation questions!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by NonTradMed, May 4, 2004.

  1. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Hey,

    I have some questions regarding recommendations....it's kind of long, so bear with me!

    Up until junior year, I was premed. I took all the premed classes etc but got sick of it, went to grad school for computer science b/c I enjoyed my CS classes and thought I would like to do research, realized I sucked at it, left and went to work. A year in the work world, I realized I really want to go to med school.

    For recommendations, ideally, I want to have two people from my work, and two professors. But I'm unsure who to ask.

    I have already asked my academic advisor who was also my prof, and a coworker who was designated my mentor, now comes the hard part....

    1. I worked for a professor of Radiology at the hospital attached to my undergrad's medical school from freshmen year until junior year. I know the guy will give me a good recommendation if I ask, but it's been 4-5 years since I last worked for him. Should I ask him for a recommendation anyway? I'm afraid his recommendation might not be taken seriously since it's "outdated".

    2. I was told my research advisor would be ideal for a recommendation. But I don't think she'd write me a 'great' one (although no fault of her own). I sucked at research, hence my reason for not continuing with a PhD. Although we got along well, I am pretty sure she would not look highly upon my academic skills. Should I not even bother to ask her?

    3. I am also thinking about asking one of my history professors for a recommendation, but I'm afraid they will only give me a vague recommendation---it was one class and it was years ago. I am sure most would agree to write me a favorable recommendation, but is it worth it to ask them? Hazy recollections makes for poor recommendations after all.

    4. I noticed that some schools require "X number of science faculties". While my undergrad premed committee has agreed to combine my recommendations and write a composite recommendation and most schools will accept that....should I try to dig up some science prof who might or might not remember me and add their questionable recommendation for those med schools that have set numbers of science prof requirements? How do people balance out fulfilling med school recommendation requirements with trying to get the recommendations? And for nontraditionals like me, how to you balance out people who remembers you (coworkers) with what the med school wants (professors)?

    Thanks all! :D
     
  2. Optimist

    Optimist Senior Member
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    If your school's committee will write you a letter, and they don't care about the number of science profs, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. In fact, some med schools don't even require the individual letters if your premed committee wrote an all-encompassing one, although my undergrad institution sent them all anyway.

    However, if you worked for your Radiology prof for 3 full years, all of which were during undergrad, I think that would be your best bet, and I wouldn't consider that "outdated" at all. The fact that you spent that much time working in a medical environment, AND got a good rec is going to mean a lot. Best of luck.
     
  3. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Thanks for the advice....yes, I am tilting toward my radiology professor. Does anyone have any suggestions/comments for my other options? :oops:
     
  4. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Bump.

    Any more takers? :(
     
  5. ut_stephen

    ut_stephen Senior Member
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    I would go with the Radiology prof. Any recommendations that are not "glowing" are generally suspiciously viewed by med schools, because everyone gets glowing recs.
    I'm sort of in the same position as you...I am going to get a rec from my research supervisor and two other science profs. One of the profs is this old German guy who is stereotypically conservative with words...I'm kind of worried about this.
     
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  6. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Hm.....I will of course, ask everyone if they'd feel comfortable about writing me a 'good' recommendation......but as long as the adcoms dont' consider a recommender with whom I've worked with three years ago to be 'outdated', I think I might just ask my radiology professor.

    Anyone else? :oops:
     
  7. midlifecrisis

    midlifecrisis Member
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    Ya know, I think its worth asking the research prof about it. I sucked doing research for a prof, but he clearly thought MD was a good direction for me and wrote a really good rec. Sometimes folks who see you do poorly at one thing have an opinion about what they would like to see you do.
     
  8. nikoo

    nikoo Member
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    I think you can tell what kind of reccomendation you will get from professors, PI's, etc. when you actually talk to them. Just talk to people about what you want included, what kind of things you want discussed and most are happy to oblige --> that is where all these "glowing" reccomendations come from...people are all too happy to write reccomendations when told what to write.
     
  9. rgporter

    rgporter Senior Member
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    Ditto, except I worked in a lab for four years and dabbled in CS as a second BS. When I decided to apply to school, I put together a packet for all of the professors I hoped would write letters for me. Since it had been four years from the time I graduated I included a copy of my transcripts; but the most important thing was a personalized cover letter for each professor, my resume and a private meeting with the professor if they consented. I got very good letters from three professors; two professors never responded. So if you try this pick your professors well and pick about twice as many as you need.
    Yes you need science professors, pick nice ones and make sure you meet with them in person. I had the most luck with Chem professors. A lot of Bio professors seem to have a huge chip on their shoulder when it comes to premeds.
    Best of luck, from a fellow non-trad.
     
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