1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Should i still ask this professor for a letter?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by NP545, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. On the first day of a communications class, I went up to the professor after class and told her that I may have a problem in that no matter how much i prepare for a speech, I still blank out and BS my way through the speech even though I'm not afraid to get in front of the class and speak. Unfortunately, she misunderstood this and thinks I have a learning disorder and/or a speaking problem. I tried to correct her but i think the damage had already been done and she said, "Dont worry, this class will help you overcome your problem even though your grade may not reflect"

    So I'll probably manage a B or hopefully an A in the class, and was thinking regardless of whether I told her that or not, Id ask for a recommendation letter.

    If she writes in the letter (most likely she will), "student came to me first day of class and told me he had speaking/learning problems but by the end of the course, he improved" would adcoms view the letter negatively because I she mentioned I have a problem (even though i really dont) ? Should I continue and ask her at the end for the rec letter or find someone else to ask?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Find someone else.
    And work on your public speaking. Blanking out and BSing way not seem like such a big issue now, but it can seriously screw you over down the road.
     
  4. Yeah, I'm trying to improve my public speaking through this class.

    I really wanted to ask her for a rec letter before this incident, because it is my sole class where the class size is <30 compared to 200+ in the other classes, so the professor may actually get to know me. But if it will red flag me or negatively affect me, then I will not ask.

    Also, what's the usual general requirements for LORs again for most schools? 2 sciences, 1 non-science?
     
  5. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Generally the requirement is a committee letter; you would submit multiple LORs to your schools pre-health committee and they summarized them into 1 letter.
    If, and only if, your school doesn't not ever issue committee letters (this is rare), then you would need a minimum number, which tends to be 2 science, 1 non-science. More is still an option.

    And while getting to know a professor through class is one way to do it, there are other (better) ways. Like office hours, TAing, or doing research with them. If the only time they see you is in class, they might write you a positive letter, but it would likely still be a weak one.
     
  6. turayza

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    864
    Status:
    Medical Student
    If you really do want a rec from her, perhaps you could meet with her again and clear up the misunderstanding... it might be a painfully awkward conversation, but you could say "just to clarify, when I spoke to you early I didn't mean that I have a speech disorder..." and if that doesn't go over well, the only things you've lost is a potential LOR that would not have worked out anyways.

    Also you should definitely only be asking faculty that you spend time with outside of class (ie. office hours) for LOR because they can say more about you.
     
    kraskadva likes this.
  7. Is the commitee letter MANDATORY? My large school takes forever for a committee letter to be finished post-committee interview, so this would definitely result in a late app submission (numerous people from my college experiences this, even if they asked super early). I plan to get 5 LORs before the committee letter request, and would likely not get the committee letter from them before August due to their large quantity of letters to write. I was hoping to bypass the committee by asking to have my individual 5 sent to the MDs instead of the committee, even though they offer one.
     
  8. turayza

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    864
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Most schools require that you apply with a committee letter if your undergrad provides one.
     
  9. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status:
    Medical Student
    If your school issues committee letters, then yes it's mandatory. You 'can' 'choose' not to have a committee letter sent, but then you have to explain why, and nothing you've got would justify that, not even the delay in your application.
    Also, I'm not sure what you mean by 'super early' or 'takes forever'. Personally I asked letter writers for LORs in January (and gave them a due date in April), had a committee meeting in April, then had the committee letter submitted by the end of May. I would consider this early (and my committee isn't 'super slow').
    What I would consider 'super early' (and what I did in one case) was to tell the professor up front shortly after meeting him that I would be asking for a letter *2 years* down the road. And then I proceeded to spend a lot of time with him so we got to know each other. Because he knew this up front, (as he told me) he kept a mental list of things he could talk about in the LOR and wrote the best one I've got. And I still gave him a 5 month heads up on actually writing the thing.
    If you talk to the committee and find out what their timeline and MO is, I'm sure you can work it out. i.e. if they write letters in the order of complete letter packets, then make sure you have your letter packet complete ASAP, which means asking much earlier and giving professors time to write. Never expect or ask for a <2 week turnaround from a letter writer. It's just rude and can result in less than stellar letters.

    Also, in case you are unaware, you can submit AMCAS and even complete secondaries before your letter is in. While your full app won't be marked as complete until the letter is there, you can get all the ducks in a row otherwise without waiting on letters.
     
  10. Thanks for all the info.

    Is it better if i ask the writers (if i had them 1-2 years ago for a class) during my junior year, or ask them as soon as I finish working with them/ finish the course? Ex: ask end of sophomore year or end of freshman year, so they dont completely forget me or ask them all junior year? Does it make a difference to the committee that the letters are from 1-2 years ago and none recently
     
  11. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status:
    Medical Student
    It would not look good if all your letters were years old.
    What I meant was that I spent a couple of years building a relationship with a professor to get a stellar LOR. I just happened to let them know what I was after from the beginning.
    So, if you've got professors in your freshman or sophomore year who you think would write a good letter for you, then mention to them then that you'd be interested in getting a LOR from them *in the future*, then spend time building a relationship between that conversation and the time you actually request the letter. Just to make this clear let's try some examples:

    #1
    Sophomore class. Do well, get along with prof, ask for a letter then...
    Letter reads "John Smith did well in my class and was a good student. Seems like a nice kid, but I've only know him for 4 months."
    Positive, but boring and essentially useless for you.

    #2
    Sophomore class. Do well, get along with prof, ask for a letter in the future, then take more classes with prof, TA for them, stop by office to chat, etc. etc for 1+ years more...
    Letter reads "I first met John Smith in class X, where he did well, and over the next 2 years I have spent more time with him in other classes, as well as had him TA for me, etc.etc. His drive and dedication are fantastic and it has been a pleasure to interact with and mentor him over the last 2 years. He is exactly the sort of person I would want to be my doctor and I know he has the intellectual capability to succeed in medical school."
    Not only positive, but glowing. And worth it's weight in gold.

    See what I mean...?
     
  12. kraskadva

    kraskadva ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    973
    Status:
    Medical Student

Share This Page