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Requesting LOR's

CaptKirk

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Maybe this belongs in the Allopathic forum but since most M3's / M4's are here, I'm posting here.

How did you go about requesting LOR's? Formal letter? Informal conversation? Make an appointment? Just curious... thanks.
 

ms. a

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Maybe this belongs in the Allopathic forum but since most M3's / M4's are here, I'm posting here.

How did you go about requesting LOR's? Formal letter? Informal conversation? Make an appointment? Just curious... thanks.

For the first one, I just called the guy (one of my medicine attendings) at his office and asked him. I had already finished my rotation and didn't see him anymore. He was more than happy to help, and that seemed fine. The other one I've gotten so far was from my surgery attending, who offered to write one, so I just accepted his offer. I had to remain in contact with his secretery, though, since he is the Chief of Surgery and had a lot of other, more important, things to take care of. I think it really just depends on the attitude of the attending. It seems like with younger, more friendly attendings, you could easily do it with an informal conversation, followed up with an email. With more old-school attendings, a bit more formality might be in order.
 

andros

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For most of my letters, I asked during informal conversations, usually during my rotation evaluation or close to the end of my rotations. For one, I asked via email because the doc was away on my last day. I then gave my referees a package with a cover letter thanking them for writing the letter, a copy of my CV, a draft of my personal letter, and an addressed envelope for mailing the letter. Like the above poster, I think it depends on who you're asking and how well you know them.

Good luck. 4th year is awesome! (aside from waiting for the match)
 
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Doc Ivy

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If I felt things were going well between me and and attending I just sent an email near the end of my time with them asking if they would feel comfortable writing me a strong letter. Attendings are busy, no need to set up a meeting just to ask for a letter. Email is just fine. When they responded I asked them if they wanted anything to help them write a letter ie. meeting, CV, personal statement, etc.

My advice: Ask as soon as you finish your rotation, even if it's early in the year and you won't need letters for months. Once you get the initial committment, then it's easy once application time comes around to drop off a package with your info gently reminding them to get the letter out.
 

SurgeryChef

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If I felt things were going well between me and and attending I just sent an email near the end of my time with them asking if they would feel comfortable writing me a strong letter. Attendings are busy, no need to set up a meeting just to ask for a letter. Email is just fine. When they responded I asked them if they wanted anything to help them write a letter ie. meeting, CV, personal statement, etc.

My advice: Ask as soon as you finish your rotation, even if it's early in the year and you won't need letters for months. Once you get the initial committment, then it's easy once application time comes around to drop off a package with your info gently reminding them to get the letter out.

Really good advice.

One other point - if you're doing a sub i during the summer and plan on asking for a recommendation, perhaps prime the attending at the beginning especially if it's in your chosen field. let them know you will be asking for a letter and that ERAS needs to be submitted soon, etc. Then work your booty off and remind them during the last week of the rotation. Again, the upfront strategy is really only needed if it's late in the game so you're not dropping the ball on the attending and saying "oh by the way i need a letter by next week".
 

Bitsy3221

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I stopped by the office and asked for a LOR at the start of fourth year in person. However, with my chairman. I made a formal appointment. He requires a completed CV and personal statement before he will consent to writing a LOR, and he likes to discuss tentative career plans, including residency programs I was planning on applying to. I sat down at one point with each of my LOR writers and went through my programs and got some good advice. I applied to surgery, and pinning down some of the attendings was a bit difficult at times, so I did have to make some follow up appointments but these were pretty informal and I got some great feedback.

Whatever you decide to do, as Doc Ivy says ask early--getting these docs to get their letters in can be painfully slow at times. I asked one attending (who was well known and writes a good letter but is notoriously slow) in June and didn't get it until October. Also, consider asking residents in your area of interest who went to medical school at your program who to get to know and who to ask for help in the application process, including who to get letters from--the super friendly nice guy may not be well known outside your institution.
 

Green912

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A couple of important things to keep in mind about your LORs:

1. LOR’s cannot be dated prior to July 2008 or your school/ERAS my not accept them.
2. You/your LOR writer are going to need to include the ERAS cover sheet which you won’t have access to until ERAS opens up.
 

HCE

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A couple of important things to keep in mind about your LORs:

1. LOR’s cannot be dated prior to July 2008 or your school/ERAS my not accept them.
2. You/your LOR writer are going to need to include the ERAS cover sheet which you won’t have access to until ERAS opens up.


Green, are you sure about point 1? On the PCOM website, the following info is provided:

How do I accrue letters of recommendation?


Third year students may begin to secure letters of recommendation for their ERAS application. To have a letter of recommendation written for you and saved for your fourth year residency application:
  • Download the ERAS letter of recommendation cover letter at: http://www.aamc.org/students/eras/resources/downloads/lorcoverus.pdf
  • Leave your AAMC ID blank.
  • Be sure to request that the letter writer indicates in the body of the letter whether or not you waive your right to see the letter of recommendation. In general, students DO waive their rights to read their letters of recommendation.
  • Send your letters of recommendation to:
 

Green912

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Maybe they're being less strict this year. Last year the july date was printed on the cover letter sheet. Also LECOM sent out an e-mail saying they wouldn't upload letters dated prior to july 1st.:

"Letters of Recommendations MUST be dated no early than July 2006. ERAS will not accept letters prior to this date. If you do get a letter of recommendation prior to that date, it will be your job to see if a letter can be
redone on or after 7/1/06. This is the rule of ERAS."
 

Samir Desai

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Whenever possible, I recommend asking an attending for a LOR in person. With a face to face meeting, you can see his reaction. Is he hesitant to write the letter? Is he not fully behind you? It's easier to answer these questions by paying attention not only to what he says but how he says it. If you notice any hesitation, you might decide to approach someone else. Requesting a letter by email does not allow you gauge an attending's reaction.

I definitely recommend submitting a packet of information to your letter writer. In this packet, you will want to have key information for the writer. The goal should be to make it as easy as possible for the letter writer to write you a strong letter. In it, include your CV, personal statement, clerkship evaluation, qualities that you have that are desired by your chosen specialty, patients you saw while working with that attending, any talks you gave, etc. These materials will help the attending write a letter praising you with specifics and details. Too often, letters are full of generalities but when details and specifics are included, it really takes the letter to another level.

These are the letters that really stand out. Bottom line - do whatever you can to help your letter writer write you a glowing LOR.

Best of luck.
 
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