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Sending 4 letters to all programs...

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dermhopeful

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So I sent 4 letters to most programs, not realizing that some schools only say 3 on their site. Nothing I have found says send no more than 3, but will this hurt me?

I'm mostly asking because I will probably apply to more prelim/TYs and maybe it can at least help at this point with those, if i already shot myself in the foot with others
 

dyeguy21

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Unless it says "We ONLY take 3 letters", you're fine. Require = Minimum.
 

Honeeplz3

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Where do you go to see if they only want 3 LORs?
 

Honeeplz3

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Also, how long does it typically take for a letter to be available to send to programs on ERAS? My letter writer said he uploaded today, when should I expect to be able to send it? Thanks in advance!:p
 

Knicks

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If some programs say "only 3" but you send 4,, realistically speaking, will that really negatively affect you?

Just curious.
 

NotAProgDirector

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Tell me you're not serious? No program is going to care about 4 letters.

It takes usually 1-2 days for a letter to appear in ERAS.
 
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mcl

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Agreed, I don't care if applicants send four letters rather than three. Three is the filter setting. Assuming that all the other application documents are in place (transcript, USMLE score(s), MSPE after Oct 1), having three letters allows me to refer the application for review without waiting to see if there is a fourth letter.
 

Prog86

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Agreed, I don't care if applicants send four letters rather than three. Three is the filter setting. Assuming that all the other application documents are in place (transcript, USMLE score(s), MSPE after Oct 1), having three letters allows me to refer the application for review without waiting to see if there is a fourth letter.

So If one were to add a fourth letter at a later date, you would'nt get to see it?
 

mcl

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So If one were to add a fourth letter at a later date, you would'nt get to see it?

It's theoretically possible that an application may have already been reviewed without it if there's a delay in the 4th letter. But the default is 3 letters, and there's no way for us to know whether or not there will be a 4th letter that would make a difference in the way the selection committee sees your application. Anyone who has one of those kinds of amazing letters needs to make sure it gets uploaded early.
 

Prog86

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It's theoretically possible that an application may have already been reviewed without it if there's a delay in the 4th letter. But the default is 3 letters, and there's no way for us to know whether or not there will be a 4th letter that would make a difference in the way the selection committee sees your application. Anyone who has one of those kinds of amazing letters needs to make sure it gets uploaded early.
If the application has not been reviewed, with the new web based system is it likely for programs to be downloading my application again? Especially if all necessary documents including 3 LOR's was already present in the original download?
In the event they are unaware of my 4th LOR, should I inform the programs (via email) I am applying to?
 

NotAProgDirector

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In the new web based system, there is no downloading. When you apply, all of your information is immediately available. When you add a 4th letter, that's immediately available.

If you add a 4th letter later, it's likely to be seen when you come for an interview.

If you're rejected and then you add a 4th letter, it's unlikely to be seen at all.

Honestly, it's unlikely that the content of a single letter is going to change your trajectory, but I guess in some cases (ED programs requiring a SLOE) it might make a difference. If you think your 4th letter is really the key to your application, you probably should wait to apply until it is available -- although that has possible consequences also.

I would not recommend emailing programs to tell them to wait to review your application for a 4th letter, nor asking programs to re-review your application after being rejected.
 

mvenus929

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I would not recommend emailing programs to tell them to wait to review your application for a 4th letter, nor asking programs to re-review your application after being rejected.

FWIW, I've personally had experience with this, and have heard at least one other person who did something similar. I applied to a program in what I consider my home state, but was initially rejected. I sent a letter of appeal explaining exactly why I was applying to the program and asking that my application be reviewed. I got an interview invite the next day. Now, I didn't end up matching there, so take that for what it's worth. I don't recommend doing that with every program that rejects you, but if you have an incredibly compelling reason why a program should consider you, it (usually) doesn't hurt to send a letter after they reject you.

Now, after talking to my PC this year, I'm not sure how feasible it would be to un-reject an applicant with the new system, but you never know...
 

Prog86

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Thanks aProgDirector and mvenus929. I am a reapplicant this year. In order to make sure I submit on time I already submitted my application with 3 LOR's. Now I am able to get a more current letter from a rotation I did this year (from an attending) in the specialty I am applying to. My concern is when they see the 3 required LOR's they may not look for this fourth one that I will be adding soon.
 

Geekchick921

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I was going to start my own thread but it echoes a lot of these same concerns so I'm just going to post here.

I'm applying for Ob/Gyn. I have 3 of the 4 letters I requested uploaded. I have my chair letter from my sub-I, a letter from an Ob/Gyn subspecialist at my school who primarily worked with me from a research standpoint, and a letter from a general surgeon that I spent a lot of time with during my third year clerkship. I did gen surg early in the year, but I spent a lot of time with this attending and I did very well in the rotation and he said he would write me a strong letter. The last letter I'm waiting for is one from a specific attending I spent a lot of time with on the Gyn half of my sub-I. I think it will be a strong letter, though I expect there will be some overlap in the content of this letter and his contribution to my chair letter.

My plan was to send the chair letter and the LOR I'm still waiting for to every program, then send the letter from the subspecialist I did research with to programs that are reputably more research heavy and send the gen surgeon's letter to other programs. Is this a good plan? Should I just send all 4 letters? If a program only wants 3, which should I leave out? I expect the letter I'm waiting on will be a good one and I'm hesitant to leave it out in favor of getting my letters in sooner, or uploading later and having problems possibly ignore it but I also don't want to wait for too long. What should I do.

I did ask my advisor about this but he usually takes several days to respond to me.
 

mspequestion

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does anyone have any experience using 5 letters? a 5th must have to be sent via email?
 
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