Should I ask for a Neuro LOR from an attending I didn’t know well from over 1 year ago?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Latteandaprayer

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2017
Messages
327
Reaction score
443
TL;DR—I don’t have many opportunities to interact with attendings in Neuro, should I ask for a letter from an attending who barely knew me from over 1 year ago?

I go to a 1-year preclinical program, and I am a third year, which means I completed my core rotations in second year. Third year is mostly a time for sub-Is and electives (and Step exams).

I had my core neuro rotation October of 2022… it’s now been over a year. I wasn’t really interested in Neuro until I did the clerkship. I fell in love with it quickly, but it was only 1 month and I interacted with each attending for at most 1 week. I didn’t really get to know them well, and I don’t think they’d be able to write exceptionally strong LORs for me based on remembering me or being blown away by my performance.

I am taking a 1 month long Neuro consult elective this year. I will try my best to get two Neuro LORs from it, but I’m worried I won’t be able to because I don’t really know how long each attending is on service, and I don’t know if the attendings are going to prefer that the students present to the residents and the residents present to the attending which would mean minimal contact.

I cannot take more Neuro electives until 4th year, because the attendings who grant permission for those electives give priority to fourth year students. They’re all full, but I’m on a waitlist anyway.

Should I ask an attending from my core clerkship for one anyway? I would send her the comments from the residents, and include a CV. Or should I just ask for letters from the consult service in February?

Members don't see this ad.
 
I just feel like you'd be setting yourself up to get a letter that's lukewarm at best. Can you maybe reach out to one of the attendings you worked with, let them know you've developed an interest in neuro, and see if they'd be willing to meet with you for some career mentoring, let you shadow, get involved with a case study or research project, etc.? Then see if a good opportunity for a letter arises from that?
 
Should I ask an attending from my core clerkship for one anyway?
-simple answer, yes, ask and explain your situation like you did here. If you get No , at least you tried.
Or should I just ask for letters from the consult service in February?
- get one from this too
 
Members don't see this ad :)
Should I ask an attending from my core clerkship for one anyway?
If I got asked for a LOR for a student I worked with on core clerkship a year ago, I would have to decline. There is simply no way any of those attendings remember anything about you, and no one's going to write you a solid letter based off of resident comments.

I am taking a 1 month long Neuro consult elective this year. I will try my best to get two Neuro LORs from it, but I’m worried I won’t be able to because I don’t really know how long each attending is on service, and I don’t know if the attendings are going to prefer that the students present to the residents and the residents present to the attending which would mean minimal contact.
One week stints on consults is pretty standard for attendings. Depends on your program culture, but why don't you tell (or email) the attendings, and the senior resident, beforehand and tell them you're interested in neurology and would like to treat this as an acting internship? I'm sure everyone will say yes.

Also, you can get all of your neuro letters as an M4 if you schedule your acting internship (if your program has one) early enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
If I got asked for a LOR for a student I worked with on core clerkship a year ago, I would have to decline. There is simply no way any of those attendings remember anything about you, and no one's going to write you a solid letter based off of resident comments.


One week stints on consults is pretty standard for attendings. Depends on your program culture, but why don't you tell (or email) the attendings, and the senior resident, beforehand and tell them you're interested in neurology and would like to treat this as an acting internship? I'm sure everyone will say yes.

Also, you can get all of your neuro letters as an M4 if you schedule your acting internship (if your program has one) early enough.
There isn’t a sub I, and I already have my schedule through August 2024 (this is the only Neuro elective I will have by then). I’ll make it clear I want letters, I hope it works out.
 
I just feel like you'd be setting yourself up to get a letter that's lukewarm at best. Can you maybe reach out to one of the attendings you worked with, let them know you've developed an interest in neuro, and see if they'd be willing to meet with you for some career mentoring, let you shadow, get involved with a case study or research project, etc.? Then see if a good opportunity for a letter arises from that?
I tried this actually, but didn’t work out :/ (Wasn’t taking students, and then I found a different person to do research with but he hasn’t practiced clinically in years).
 
Top