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Recommendations Questions


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2008
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm a student who is reapplying to med school, and I'm worried that my letters of recommendation may have hurt me the first time I applied, simply because these are the only aspects of my application I don't have direct access to, and my other credentials were quite strong. (I waived my right so see the recommendations, so I don't know what they said).

I'm in a difficult spot because I've been out of school for several years and virtually none of the professors for the courses I took remember me (including, I fear, the professors who already wrote me recommendations the last time I applied). Also, I recently left my previous job, that I held since finishing college, on poor terms, so a recommendation from this employment supervisor is out of the question.

My questions are these:

1) Would it be useful to meet with some of the professors who wrote me recommendations last year in person (something I didn't do last year) and ask them to rewrite me recommendations, since they might have a more well-formed impression of me after having spoken with me in person?

2) Would it be very helpful to get a recommendation from a doctor who I have recently shadowed for two months?

3) Should I decline to sign the right-to-access waiver this time around, so I can screen any new recommendations I get before they are sent out?
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
May 30, 2007
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Definitely meet with your letter writers. I wouldn't doubt that they indeed wrote you lackluster letters without having ever laid eyes on you. Definitely get the recommendation from the physician. And do not decline to waive your write to see the letters. These are things I would do, you will ultimately do what you feel is right I'm sure.
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the donkey

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
  1. Pre-Medical
Definitely go meet with them. The more interaction you have with them, the more personal they can make the letter. You might even want to provide them with a resume and possibly even your personal statement so they can write you a more personalized letter.

And definitely waive your right to see the letters. Some professors/evaluators may not care in the least if you see what they wrote, but i think assuring them that the letter is confidential will make them more comfortable in writing your letter. Saying that you want to read the lor may send a message to the evaluator that you don't trust them to write you a good letter. Again, some probably wouldn't care at all if you read them, but I would just play it safe. Don't know if this is true, but my advisor told me that some admissions committees may be wary of students that read their letters before submitting them. If you have a pre-med advisor, you could always ask him/her if they think your letters are strong. Besides, its bad luck to read your letters before they go out...
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