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Reference Letters

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DrScrub, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. DrScrub

    DrScrub 2+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2013
    Hey guys,

    If someone were to apply for Medical School this coming cycle, when would be an appropriate time to ask professors for reference letters (to make sure they have enough time to write it, but also not so late that my profs from first year forget about me! :p)

    BurberryDoc likes this.
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  3. Ace-Co-A

    Ace-Co-A As & Is 5+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    I asked in February - March. This is probably fine. It gives them a few months (in all likelihood, though, they're going to crank that out the weekend before you need it submitted).
    BurberryDoc likes this.
  4. TennisBallAgainstDaWall

    TennisBallAgainstDaWall Account on Hold Account on Hold

    Jan 8, 2014
    Ask them 2 weeks in advance. It's the perfect amount of time because they won't put it in the back of their mind and forget about it. Also, if they don't know you that well, give them a CV or resume! And you can even invite them to lunch or something casual so they can get to know you better! Make sure you pay, lawllll
  5. lobo.solo

    lobo.solo 5+ Year Member

    May 4, 2011
    A professor told me that 1 month is adequate time. However most of my letter writers took over a month to write it. So I would say 2 months ahead of time, make sure you give them a couple subtle and polite reminders... they need them
  6. quicheduty

    quicheduty 2+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2013
    Definitely at least a month to be safe. You might be able to get away with shorter notice if you know the professor(s) well.
  7. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Two weeks is not enough time, there's too high a chance they will have some major commitment, travel, or crisis interfering or just be irritated you didn't give them more time.

    4 weeks is the courteous minimum, I think I gave mine 6. Then send reminders at reasonable intervals, something like two weeks, one week, and two days before if they haven't sent them in.
  8. TennisBallAgainstDaWall

    TennisBallAgainstDaWall Account on Hold Account on Hold

    Jan 8, 2014
    I feel like 2 months is way too long, no? The professor would probably forget about it...
  9. lobo.solo

    lobo.solo 5+ Year Member

    May 4, 2011
    I think with some people it might, but definitely give them at least a month. In my experience, the majority of college professors are busy ALL the time so be mindful of that.
  10. TheShaker

    TheShaker 2+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    Ask them very early and then gently poke and prod as the due date approaches.
  11. dancingmate

    dancingmate 5+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    I think it depends on if you know the professor well and or not. If it is someone you see regularly and have a good relationship with, I don't think you need to ask too far in advance. Maybe just mention that you are going to have them write a letter, and that you will provide more information/docs as the date approaches. If it is a professor that you don't know that well or had for a class 2 years ago, I would suggest going to their office hours a few times early on (now), have them get to know you and let them know you are interested in having them write you a letter. It is important that they know who you are, and know some of your qualities, etc, so that they can write you a good letter. I wouldn't request 2 weeks or even 1 month before, especially if it isn't a professor that knows you well. I've heard from numerous friends that professors have said no because they felt they didn't know the student well enough to write a letter. And, ofcourse, always ask the professor in person, not via email.
  12. jazzfragment


    Jul 12, 2013
    Most professors are incredibly busy. It's best to ask as early as possible.

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