cobalt31

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yeaa so i apply to medical school in a year... and im starting to think about recommendations... so here's my question

my premed department says i need at least 2 recs from science profs and 1 rec from a non-science prof... is this a general rule for all medical schools or just a rule for my department before they write my committee letter? my concern stems from the fact that i've taken 4 non-BCMP courses total in college so far. the first 3 were in my freshman year (eng, 4-week public speaking course, and art history) and the one i took this past spring was an emt course for credit. im completing a double major in chem and bio and im not lined up to take any non-BCMP courses during my entire junior year.

my eng teacher was a grad student, my pub speaking prof loved me but that course was only 4 weeks long over a year ago, haven't talked to her since. art history prof is out of the country for the next year on sabbatical. emt course (hardly non-science but technically not BCMP) is taught by a faculty member (not prof). however, as a bonus, my emt instructor is also my current employer...

should i drop an interesting science class and take a stupid liberal arts class solely for the purpose of getting a rec? sounds ridiculous to me. any advice?

ps thanks for reading all this crap
 

ADeadLois

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cobalt31 said:
should i drop an interesting science class and take a stupid liberal arts class solely for the purpose of getting a rec? sounds ridiculous to me. any advice?
Stupid?...No

Ridiculous?...No

Necessary?...Yes
 

CTtarheel

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If you have a pre-med committe, you'll probably be required to use their letter at most medical schools or at least explain why you aren't. I was in the same situation trying to get a non-science letter, and luckily, it was only a problem at a few schools I wanted to apply to. Before taking a class you don't want, i'd try to contact the public speaking professor. Send her an email and ask if you can talk to her to discuss whether or not she can write you a rec letter. When you finally get to talk to her, set up a couple meetings where you talk about your extracurriculars, etc. and give her some info to write a rec letter. If she says no, i'd take the liberal arts class. Not sure the emt professor will count unless you got college credit for it.
 
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cobalt31

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CTtarheel said:
If you have a pre-med committe, you'll probably be required to use their letter at most medical schools or at least explain why you aren't. I was in the same situation trying to get a non-science letter, and luckily, it was only a problem at a few schools I wanted to apply to. Before taking a class you don't want, i'd try to contact the public speaking professor. Send her an email and ask if you can talk to her to discuss whether or not she can write you a rec letter. When you finally get to talk to her, set up a couple meetings where you talk about your extracurriculars, etc. and give her some info to write a rec letter. If she says no, i'd take the liberal arts class. Not sure the emt professor will count unless you got college credit for it.

i did get 4 college credits for the emt class -- its a course in the registrar and counts for my kinesiology requirement.

so you're saying the 2 science recs and 1 non-science recs are not general med school requirements, only what the committee is asking for?
 

Johnny_one_eye

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cobalt31 said:
yeaa so i apply to medical school in a year... and im starting to think about recommendations... so here's my question

my premed department says i need at least 2 recs from science profs and 1 rec from a non-science prof... is this a general rule for all medical schools or just a rule for my department before they write my committee letter? my concern stems from the fact that i've taken 4 non-BCMP courses total in college so far. the first 3 were in my freshman year (eng, 4-week public speaking course, and art history) and the one i took this past spring was an emt course for credit. im completing a double major in chem and bio and im not lined up to take any non-BCMP courses during my entire junior year.

my eng teacher was a grad student, my pub speaking prof loved me but that course was only 4 weeks long over a year ago, haven't talked to her since. art history prof is out of the country for the next year on sabbatical. emt course (hardly non-science but technically not BCMP) is taught by a faculty member (not prof). however, as a bonus, my emt instructor is also my current employer...

should i drop an interesting science class and take a stupid liberal arts class solely for the purpose of getting a rec? sounds ridiculous to me. any advice?

ps thanks for reading all this crap
There's got to be a liberal arts class that could also be interesting to you. Does your school offer something like Medical Ethics, History of Science, History of Medicine, something like that? Or some sort of philosophy? There has to be something that interests you outside of bio and chem. I like those classes too, but there has to be something you could take. It doesn't have to be an advanced class or anything.
 

Johnny_one_eye

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cobalt31 said:
i did get 4 college credits for the emt class -- its a course in the registrar and counts for my kinesiology requirement.

so you're saying the 2 science recs and 1 non-science recs are not general med school requirements, only what the committee is asking for?
Actually 2 science and 1 non-science is common for many schools
 

knio

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And don't forget that some schools actually require 1 year of humanities courses too (eg. english, philosophy, etc).
 

Risa

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My four letters were from:
*science prof at my school
*science prof at summer school
*science prof/head of my premed program at my school
*clinical mentor

I was accepted to a broad range of schools. I think the idea behind the non-science letter requirement is that you have some breadth to the picture of you that your letters paint. As far as med schools are concerned, I doubt almost any REQUIRE one req to be specifically from a liberal arts class. My advice would be to talk to the committee about this and see what their reasoning is and to what degree it's set in stone. This may give you some more flexibility.
 
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cobalt31

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Risa said:
My advice would be to talk to the committee about this and see what their reasoning is and to what degree it's set in stone. This may give you some more flexibility.
good idea! i could get a rec from a club advisor or program director no problem. maybe that will work instead!
 

somemaybedoc

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At this point you seem to be about as well rounded as a square. I'd try to take some liberal arts classes if possible and find an area you like, it'll get you the rec and get you an appreciation for a nonscience field.
 

burntfries

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Risa said:
My four letters were from:
*science prof at my school
*science prof at summer school
*science prof/head of my premed program at my school
*clinical mentor

I was accepted to a broad range of schools. I think the idea behind the non-science letter requirement is that you have some breadth to the picture of you that your letters paint. As far as med schools are concerned, I doubt almost any REQUIRE one req to be specifically from a liberal arts class. My advice would be to talk to the committee about this and see what their reasoning is and to what degree it's set in stone. This may give you some more flexibility.
Risa, did any schools give you a lot of hassle about not having a non-science rec? because i don't have one either, yet a lot of schools i'm applying to are asking for one...some have been ok with me substituting a clinical letter for the missing non-science, but others won't seem to let me get around it. :(
 

SpeakLittleB

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most med schools seem to say that a composite letter from the premed committee satisfies all the science/non-science rec requirements, don't they? anyway, i'm not including a non-science since my school's committee doesn't have any rules. what could a non-science rec say? "she likes to help people and is cheerful and was interested in my class... just like every premed". these things could even be said better and more convincingly by a science prof whom you know well. lol.
 

spospo

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i can't really answer the question, but in my opinion, non-science prof recs are pretty important. those profs can write about various things that science profs may never see. they see that you can think along lines other than science, they see that you can back up your opinions with other peoples opinions (not just referring to facts all the time), they can see how you interact with people outside the sciences. in general, non-science profs just show the adcoms that you are more than just a science nerd who can only speak science talk. just my opinion though
 

ADeadLois

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spospo said:
i can't really answer the question, but in my opinion, non-science prof recs are pretty important. those profs can write about various things that science profs may never see. they see that you can think along lines other than science, they see that you can back up your opinions with other peoples opinions (not just referring to facts all the time), they can see how you interact with people outside the sciences. in general, non-science profs just show the adcoms that you are more than just a science nerd who can only speak science talk. just my opinion though
Agreed. It seems as though they are looking for specific things from the non-science letter. Otherwise, they would have said "any additional recommendation" instead of specifying "non-science professor"
 

confused48

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IMHO it is not too early to sneak a peak at an MSAR (pre-med office will have one) and see what some schools that you might be interested in have for requirements. Many schools and certainly many elite schools have significant humanities required beyond those alluded to above. A few require up the 18 credits I believe. It is far better to know these things going into your junior year and plan for them then to discover them when you are applying next year. It would be a shame to have your hopes of attending a "dream school" dashed because you ahd not researched the requirements. You aspire to enter a very humanistic profession--you will likely need to demonstrate some facility and experience in this area to schools. Besides, not all humanities courses are lame! Some will really stretch you to communicate in ways that will benefit you in the future. Just my 2 cents..
 

notdeadyet

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I would not be so worried about the fact that you can't get a non-science LOR as the fact that you've had so few science classes.

Take a few English or literature classes. One problem with most science classes is that you do very little critical reading. Someone who hasn't intensively read much in the way of literature or philosophy is probably going to have a very tough time with MCAT Verbal passages on that.

Look over the boards and you'll see lots of students starting desperate threads asking what they can read (four months before the MCAT) to help improve their verbal score.

Non-science majors are overly represented at most good med schools if you look at acceptance rates. I would be worried about my application if I showed no interests outside of science classes. This will be a red flag at many schools.
 

Risa

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burntfries said:
Risa, did any schools give you a lot of hassle about not having a non-science rec? because i don't have one either, yet a lot of schools i'm applying to are asking for one...some have been ok with me substituting a clinical letter for the missing non-science, but others won't seem to let me get around it. :(
No hassle whatsoever! Here's my mdapps profile; obviously, I can't speak for schools I didn't apply to but like I said before I do think my experience provides a good sampling...
 

Liquidshock

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I am in the same situation. My non-science letter writer just disappeared!!! :eek: :eek: :eek: I can't seem to get hold of him. I will try to meet him once the fall session starts, but dunno how it's gonna work out. I hate irresponsible ppl!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, back to the point. If you check med school websites, they tell you what kinda lor they are looking for. Some are looking for a non-science lor, some are not. I am applying to 20~30 schools, and out of these schools, only 2 or 3 require/prefer a non-science lor. So I guess we are not THAT screwed. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

burntfries

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Liquidshock said:
I am in the same situation. My non-science letter writer just disappeared!!! :eek: :eek: :eek: I can't seem to get hold of him. I will try to meet him once the fall session starts, but dunno how it's gonna work out. I hate irresponsible ppl!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, back to the point. If you check med school websites, they tell you what kinda lor they are looking for. Some are looking for a non-science lor, some are not. I am applying to 20~30 schools, and out of these schools, only 2 or 3 require/prefer a non-science lor. So I guess we are not THAT screwed. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
lucky you...out of the 23 schools that i'm applying to, 7 want a non-science lor! even worse, they're the schools i was hoping would be my safeties :(
 
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