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should i ask my professor??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by UCDavisdude, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    hey yall, just wondering, did you all know your professors well befor asking for letters of reccomendation??i want to ask my orgo professor( i had him last spring, got an A) but literally i have never talked to the guy before. what you all think i should do?? i did recieve an A in his class.
     
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  3. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    You're better off asking someone that you know better. What is this guy going to write about you, beyond: "UCDavisDude was a student in my organic chemistry course and he made an A." The schools already know that you made an A in organic. The LORs need to give them additional info about YOU as a person.
     
  4. Ashanti Rock

    Ashanti Rock Senior Member
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    Unless you have time to get to know the professor, I would advise that you don't ask. The worst thing you want if for someone to write "I did not know him very well, but he got an A in my class". It will do nothing to help you, and might even hurt you in this process. Best of luck!
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    This post is right on the money. Some professors try to get past this by having coffee with you once or something of that nature, but otherwise, the above quote is exactly what will end up in the letter in some version. However if you have lots of amazing nonscience recs and just need one more science one per a med schools requirements, it's certainly better than nothing.
     
  6. ND2005

    ND2005 1K Member
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    If you're hurting for a rec, go for it; otherwise try to go out of your way and get to know a prof or two in the coming semester.

    A number of professors will write letters for students they don't know, but they will be upfront about the fact that their letter will not be as strong as it could be if they knew you.

    A few professors will sit and have a mini-interview with you to try and get to know you better and then write one for you.
     
  7. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    professors wouldnt really write something like that..would they? i guess i was hoping that he had a letter of rec he already made up in which he would just insert (he,she) etc..i just dont know what to do, im applying next cycle, and i have no letters of rec yet. i guess im gonna have to do lots of ass kissin next quarter.
     
  8. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    One thing you might try is to have your TA write a letter and have the professor co-sign it. This is assuming, of course, that you ever got to know any of your TAs.
     
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    They don't need to use those words to have that impact. They could say something like "XYZ has demonstrated excellent mastery of the material in my course, as demonstrated by his having received an A. Based on his performance in my class I would recommend him to your school."
     
  10. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    i'm gonna take a different stand and say DEFINITELY ask the prof for a letter. A) he will respect the fact that you got an A in his class, most professors consider that a great achievement, B) don't just say "hey man, write me a letter" but rather let him know that you'd like to sit down and talk to him for a half hour or so so he gets a feel for you and what you want to be/do, C) if after all this you think he may have only written you a lukewarm letter, you can always fall back on it as a back up in case other options dont work out. do it.
    -mota
     
  11. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    well, my ochem lab (which is a seperate course at my school from ochem lecture) was taught by a gad student who has since obtained his phd. could i ask him? we were really close( for a student-teacher relationship.) joked around alot, things like that.
     
  12. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    sounds like a good idea.
     
  13. DrMike24

    DrMike24 eat, drink, and be merry
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    I would get one from the people you know closest, i.e. the now phd who taught your lab. I got one of my first recommendations from my lab teacher who was a phd.
     
  14. es19

    es19 Member
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    well...i believe a letter from a PhD is not going to be as effective as one that's from a professor. my TA (she had MPH) from my intro bio class, agreed to write me a letter, but she told me to have it co-signed by the professor. so that's what i did.
     
  15. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    there no instructor though, its not a TA. WHEN I GO TO my class history, it says instructor: then the grad students name. the ochem lab is a seperate course from ochem lec at my school. and the instructors of these are grad students. you think it would be counted the same>??recieving grades from both seperately
     
  16. Ashanti Rock

    Ashanti Rock Senior Member
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    A few of many questions that I asked all those who wrote my letters were - do yoiu believe that you can write me a very strong letter and also knowing me would you want me as your own personal physician (got this one from an adcom member). Adcoms will take such letters more seriously than one that simply states you were a good student and got a good grade. I knew all my letter writers very well and all answered yes to this question. IMO, its not worth it to risk lowering the strength of your application because of a letter of rec. If you have enough, don't even bothering this o-chem professor, if you don't definately try to get to know him.
     
  17. masterMood

    masterMood Membership Revoked
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    Make sure that the professor's native language is english and can write good.
























    (well)
     
  18. Jaydiggity21

    Jaydiggity21 Member
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    So Im assuming that you go to UC Davis, as do I, so I can give you a perspective from someone that has already done it. I asked my Orgo professor for a letter while only getting an A in his class and not knowing him other than that (he wrote the book, if you're curious who it is). I saw a quick glance of the letter at my PHPAC interview, and it was very short and Im sure informal...but it did the trick, because I believe that they did include it in my file...remember, the PHPAC picks which letters go to the schools, so if its not strong and you have one that it is stronger, they wont include it. Anyways, PM me if you want to know more, thanks and good luck!
     
  19. Pretty POHA

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    Here's a question about LORs too.
    I had several professors offer to write me LORs this semester-- do I ask them to write them now that the semester is over and just save these until I'm ready to apply for med school? I mean, do I just collect general LORs or should they be directed to get me into school? One really good reference I'm getting is friends with a residency head at my local state school: my specific interest is in forensic psychiatry, and he's buddies with the forensic psych head at University of Colorado SOM, and so I'm thinking that this is an invaluable LOR... but how do you say it? Should I email the professor? Classes are out now... He specifically said, "If there's anything I can do to help you acheive your goals, let me know." I know he was referring to an LOR...
     
  20. chandelantern

    chandelantern MSI at Mayo in August!
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    Just to clarify (I also go to UCD) most letters are included in the PHPAC file unless they come from an inappropriate source or for some reason they feel a letter obviously does not represent you. They do not choose the best ones to send and leave the others behind. And, if you only have 2 letters from science profs, tough, there going to send them even if they suck because they will include a minimum of 3 letters, 2 being from science profs.

    To the OP, I assume you must have taken the CHE 128/129 series rather than 118? Yes, it would be fine to get a letter from your lab instructor. As other people mentioned you could have the lecture prof co-sign if you wanted. An approach that I used was asking them if they would be willing to let me take them out to lunch (on the Dean Whitter Fund - learn what it is if you don't know!) to get to know you better and they can decide if they would be able to write a LOR for med school on my behalf (OK, don't phrase it exactly that way, but basically the point is to MEET with them after giving them your PS, transcript, resume/CV, etc. Tell them about your future goals and a little about your life, that way they might be able to write a little more than "he got an A.") Some profs are much more willing to do this than others, so ask around (if you want to PM me about certain profs you've had I can do my best to help.) I felt the whole take out to lunch thing was sucking up, but the Dean whitter fund totally saves you on this one because that is it's purpose so you can totally brush it off on that! (purpose = to encourage relations between students and faculty.)
     
  21. Jaydiggity21

    Jaydiggity21 Member
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    I agree with Chandel...and I did forget about the Dean Wittier fund as well (although I have never personally used it). When I said that the letter would not be included, I was assuming that the minimum amount of letters was already fulfilled. I did this informal LOR thing with three professors, 2 of which sat and talked to me and one that basically said "a letter for med school, ok great, have it in a few weeks". Try to get as many letters as possible, lukewarm or not, so that you do have options, but OBVIOUSLY get ones from people that you know the best (or more importantly know you the best). My best letters came from 2 JC professors with whom I had great relationships with and 2 doctors from the UCD Med Center with whom I conducted clinical research.
     

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