Should I ask this person for a letter of rec?

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j_diggity

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Hello,

I'm working on getting my LORs together. One issue that's been on my mind is that I don't have a letter from any MDs - I've done plenty of shadowing, but mostly at academic centers where I got paired with a different physician (usually a resident) every time. However, there's one other potential MD letter that I've thought about asking for, but am not sure how it would work.

This person is a mentor to me and has been very impactful in my life. He is a rural primary care physician and an influential member of the community that I used to live in. I volunteered at a clinic that they founded and I had a pretty solid impact there, helping them with their EMR and volunteering as a medical assistant. However, I did not volunteer or work with him directly, and by the time I was volunteering he had retired from leadership and his main involvement was as a volunteer provider.

The reason I'm not sure if I should ask is because of the nature of our relationship - I know him because he is my ex-girlfriend's uncle. We're still on good terms and talk a few times a year, everything's good from that end. He is someone that has been influential in my journey to medicine, he can speak to my character, and he certainly knows my contributions at his clinic through the people who work there as well as my involvement in the town/regional community, but he's almost a family or a friend without technically being one of either.

Should I ask him for a rec letter? I feel like if he wrote one it would be one of my strongest letters, in addition to being my only MD letter, but I'm not sure what he'd say about how he knows me and how he's qualified to write me a letter given that we haven't worked directly together. If I do ask him, what should he write about?

Thank you.

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Yes, 100% for a LOR as long you have your other LOR's from science professors, etc.

He should write about your mission-fit, passions, and character.
 
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You don’t need an MD letter, that is a common misconception. They don’t usually add anything substantial.
 
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You don’t need an MD letter, that is a common misconception. They don’t usually add anything substantial.
This makes sense, but I wonder if the character reference or MD letter would add anything?

I'm already getting 2 letters from science profs (probably my strongest), 1 from a paramedic at my EMT job, 1 from a volunteer coordinator at a hospital, and another from a nurse at the aforementioned free clinic (who I didn't interact with a ton in a clinical capacity but interacted with her more in a different way). Overall I am probably being neurotic. I just worry that none of these letter writers really know me all that well on a personal level like this MD does, and I know that others may have better LORs.

I'm guessing that the writers don't need to know me on a personal level, just that they have observed me and my character enough to write a letter. Is this about right?
 
This makes sense, but I wonder if the character reference or MD letter would add anything?

I'm already getting 2 letters from science profs (probably my strongest), 1 from a paramedic at my EMT job, 1 from a volunteer coordinator at a hospital, and another from a nurse at the aforementioned free clinic (who I didn't interact with a ton in a clinical capacity but interacted with her more in a different way). Overall I am probably being neurotic. I just worry that none of these letter writers really know me all that well on a personal level like this MD does, and I know that others may have better LORs.

I'm guessing that the writers don't need to know me on a personal level, just that they have observed me and my character enough to write a letter. Is this about right?
Admissions readers will thank you for providing one less letter. 5 is more than enough. It goes without saying that good character should be a given. I don’t think an LOR writer including that is going to help.
 
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This makes sense, but I wonder if the character reference or MD letter would add anything?

I'm already getting 2 letters from science profs (probably my strongest), 1 from a paramedic at my EMT job, 1 from a volunteer coordinator at a hospital, and another from a nurse at the aforementioned free clinic (who I didn't interact with a ton in a clinical capacity but interacted with her more in a different way). Overall I am probably being neurotic. I just worry that none of these letter writers really know me all that well on a personal level like this MD does, and I know that others may have better LORs.

I'm guessing that the writers don't need to know me on a personal level, just that they have observed me and my character enough to write a letter. Is this about right?
If you already have 5, then you do not need more. I was assuming you had 4 lined up and needed a fifth one, but my mistake. Your volunteer coordinator, nurse, and paramedic LOR's are going to speak volumes about your character regardless so they'll just end up reaffirming each other. You're getting 2 science professor LOR's which is great, hence you're fine with all of your LOR's.
 
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"Physician" letters are the most useless addition to an already useless category (LOE's). Furthermore, character references from those close to you are, by definition, not objective.
Although there are a handful of schools that request a clinical letter, you already have more than enough of those.
One caveat is that DO schools do seem to love a DO letter.

"Physician letters" are another way that those with easy access are given even greater advantage in what is already an uneven playing field.
 
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Awesome, thank you all! I think I'll just go forward with the letters that I have and not worry about this MD letter.
 
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