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Reference Letter--Use Prof or High School Teacher?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by KatieKat, May 26, 2001.

  1. KatieKat

    KatieKat Member
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    I'm not applying to med school for another year and a half, but I'm starting to thing about letters of reference now. I'm considering two people for my academic reference: (1) a prof I've known for 3 years who would probably write a positive letter ( I had a small seminar class with him) and (2) a high school teacher I've known for 5 years who would write a wildly positive letter and who's already told me he wants me to be his children's doctor. :)

    I'd like to use the high school teacher, but I'm not sure if adcoms would look down on this, like I couldn't meet one prof in 3/4 years of undergrad.

    Or should I try to get to know some other prof more closely this year, before I apply.

    What do you guys think? Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member
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    You need to find out the rec letter requirements for the schools you wish to apply to. They are usually different! Some may ask for 2 COLLEGE profs and one MD, or something along those lines. My point is FOLLOW the instructions given. Many will take personal friend letters which should fit the bill for your high school teacher. HOWEVER, you should not use your high school teacher in leiu of a college prof.
     
  3. Kosmo

    Kosmo Senior Member
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    Having gone through the application process, it is my experience that most US medical schools require at least THREE letters of recommendation (or one letter from a pre-med advisory committee.)
    That said, though I don't think a letter from a high school teacher would hurt; but you'll likely need a minimum of 2 letters from faculty at your undergrad institution, maybe 3.
    Like Col-4:14 said, it would be a good idea to contact the schools you wish to apply to; they'll gladly give out that kind of information.
     
  4. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member
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    Some schools will allow has many letters as you want (within reason like 7-10). But ASK before you do anything. Actually, the secondaries are usually pretty clear on what they want.
    PLEASE ASK THE SCHOOL
     
  5. KatieKat

    KatieKat Member
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    Thanks for all your advice guys!

    I'm Canadian and will be applying to Canadian Med Schools. The one I have in mind asks for 1 academic reference, 1 personal, and 1 from an employer/supervisor--so I'm not supposed to send a whole bunch of letters, just 3.

    I have thought about using my high school teacher as my personal reference, but I had the feeling that that may be inappropriate. Is it?

    Just as a side question, who are you supposed to use as a personal reference? Just anyone you've known for a long time? Other than getting a doctor you know to write a letter, does the title of the person writing the personal letter matter?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member
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    A personal letter should be from someone who has known you for a substantial time, someone besides yourself.
    As far as titles, I guess it could be a little more "weighty" if it was from someone like Dr. Tongue or Sir Mix A Lot. :D


    Sir Osis of Theliver is another sure bet!!
     
  7. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member
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    I Must add this!!
    In reference to sending more than 5 letters.
    What I did write does come from experience. I submitted 7 letters of recommendation to my school USF and got in. I didn't assume they would take them all, I called and asked if I could send more than the 5 minimum. They told me that the 5 was just a minimum.. . especially, if I had other letters from members of their faculty (which I did, reason why I called). Several other schools I applied to had the same policy. I must be explicit here though, they never did mention this in their secondary info. I found this out from calling the schools. You see all of our letters are collected at USF's health professions advising office ( I went there for undergrad, world traveler) then they are dispersed as I directed (and they were misdirected or never sent!). Now, USF COM wanted 5 min and some other schools wanted 3 min. I had real problems with the knuckleheads at USF Health advising so I called the schools that required 3 if they would take 5 (make it easier on the folks at
    USF advising). Most said they would , some of course would not. You just have to call them to find out :)
    FSU asked for a FRIEND'S letter ?!?! Incredible huh?? Someone who has
    grown up with you. Crazy isn't it?!?!
    POINT BEING, CALL THE SCHOOLS!!!
     

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