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ref letters, too soon?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Maria1237, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Maria1237

    Maria1237 2+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    I'm in my freshman year, and I know my bio, chem and anthro profs really well. So i was thinking just in case I can't take a class with them next year, that I should ask them for a ref letter now (end of march), but my premed advisor said yes/no.
    -Yes b/c if they forget you in the future, the ref letter will suck
    -No, b/c profs busy with writing ref letters for students actually applying for med school, and will say no

    Is asking my profs for a ref letter in March a good idea, or should I wait??
    If I should wait, then when's the best time to ask?
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  3. fusuke

    fusuke Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Its never too early to get a reco from a prof as long as they can truly attest to your abilities and shine a light on your personality that will make you stand out.

    With that being said, I know some{not all} schools (maybe someone can correct me on this) will ask for recommendations that are dated within a year or two to which you are actually applying to their school. That would mean you would need special permission in order to submit these pre-dated letters.
  4. QuakerPreMed

    QuakerPreMed 2+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2007
    Wait. Even knowing a professor well for one year is not the greatest rec letter. I didn't need rec letters until march of my JUNIOR year, so you'll have plenty of time to get to know them better in junior semesters or perhaps you'll meet new faculty. One of my recommend-ers I had taken three classes with and done a year of research, AND TAed for, another I took two classes over three years and served on a committee with, and the other was my advisor who I had also TAed for and taken two classes with. Long-term experience and how they can talk about your maturity, etc, is important.

    edit: maybe I should say that I do go to a very small school (1200 students)
  5. punkindrublic

    punkindrublic calls shenanigans 7+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    Just let them know you're planning on going the med route and may be asking for a letter of recommendation down the road. They'll likely remember you.
  6. TheAmazingGOB

    TheAmazingGOB It ain't easy bein' white 5+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    And if you know these professors really well, you can keep visiting/emailing them just to keep in contact. That way they can write you even stronger letters because they will know you better. Another thing you could do is have them write you a letter of recommendation for a scholarship or something like that now so 2-3 years down the road they will already have ideas about you as a student.
  7. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Also, when I was in college, I would take classes I didn't have a particular interest in just because a favorite professor taught it. You'll realize very quick in college that the professor is a lot more important than the course description.

    Also, if you ask a professor to write you a LOR as a freshman, she/he will probably write it in the light of you being a freshman. You don't want to get a letter raving about how you are making the transition from high school classes quite well and seem like you'll grow up to be a very independent adult. You get the drift.

    You can get a good LOR from a professor after taking a class with him/her but you can get a great one after you've taken a couple classes with them.
  8. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2006
    I would not ask for a letter right now, for many reasons.

    -If you can take another class with that professor, absolutely do it.
    -For 2 more years just periodically visit that professor so they know you better
    -In their letter, it will likely say right now, "I know this student from one class", as opposed to "i've known this student for 3 years since they took my class."
  9. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    if you think you won't be able to take another class with them or do research with them than go ahead and ask about the letters now. They may not write them, but might agree to, I know many of my profs wanted my whole AMCAS to look at when writing a letter

    Also, if you get them now, they won't be able to see your completed resume, plus, a letter from freshman year holds a lot less weight than one from jr year.

    If your school has some kind of reference letter service (check with career services), you might ask for the letters and just get them on file, you can throw them out later if you get better ones, but you can NEVER have too many letters.
  10. doctoruh

    doctoruh New Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    When should you ask for the reference letter. Do u mail the letters in yourself or do you have to start the amcas application first.
  11. CTtarheel

    CTtarheel Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    LOR's go with secondary applications, not with AMCAS. You should check and see if your school's career services or pre-health advising office collects letters for you (or writes composites), and get your letters to them as soon as your recommenders write them. If not, definitely use a private letter service like interfolio, it's just too much hassle to individually address each envelope and get profs to mail them to all your schools (then mail them again when they get lost!). Either way, I would have asked all my letter writers to have written the letters and submitted them to the appropriate place by the end of school my junior year, and ask for them to be done by the end of June.

    Secondaries start to come out by the beginning of July, and even if you know you won't be done with your AMCAS by then, nothing sucks more than being held back by profs dragging their feet writing letters . . . and they all DO drag their feet.
  12. GoLAClippers

    GoLAClippers Banned Banned

    Feb 26, 2007
    Like RIGHT NOW! esp If you are applying this year. If you ask for them in JUNE you might/will get Screwed!

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