Should I try to get a LOR from this professor? It's been a while..

andjusticeforal

5+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2012
57
1
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Pre-Medical
I am a non-trad. I took honors human biochem in undergrad pretty much for the fun of it. I really enjoyed the class, got A's on every test, even scoring over 100 on one or two of them. I did an extra research paper for the class that received an A as well. As part of the honors class I met with the professor every week. She knew me well at the time, but it has been 3 years since her class. I completed the class and thought nothing of it, I had no plans for med school at the time. I never knew it at the time, but I recently found out that she was not only a big deal at my school, but a prominent figure in her field. Besides one other science professor, this is the only professor I could potentially get a letter from. However, I don't know if she remembers me. Should I try to get one from her anyway? I don't know how strong it would be since it's been so long.

Besides these 2 potential letters I have a few very strong letters I can get from PI's and physicians I have worked with. Does this reduce the need for LOR's from professors? Since these will all be appended to my committee letter, how does that affect all of this?

Thanks
 

CityLights

7+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2010
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I can't answer the second part of your question since I don't have to deal with committee letters, but -

I would definitely send her an e-mail telling her that you took her class a few years ago and to try to make an appointment with her so that you can meet face-to-face and explain your situation. I don't know if it would be best to say in the e-mail if you are looking for an LOR or not, but I would definitely try to arrange a meeting with her either way so that you can update her on what you've been up to and what your plans are. I would also emphasize that this was a very enjoyable class for you and that you would appreciate any input she has about your situation.

I think it's pretty common for non-trads to contact old professors to arrange a meeting to talk about a potential LOR. As a non-trad, your options are understandably limited in this regard, as you stated.
 
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A

andjusticeforal

5+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2012
57
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I can't answer the second part of your question since I don't have to deal with committee letters, but -

I would definitely send her an e-mail telling her that you took her class a few years ago and to try to make an appointment with her so that you can meet face-to-face and explain your situation. I don't know if it would be best to say in the e-mail if you are looking for an LOR or not, but I would definitely try to arrange a meeting with her either way so that you can update her on what you've been up to and what your plans are. I would also emphasize that this was a very enjoyable class for you and that you would appreciate any input she has about your situation.

I think it's pretty common for non-trads to contact old professors to arrange a meeting to talk about a potential LOR. As a non-trad, your options are understandably limited in this regard, as you stated.
I probably will try to contact her. She is now professor emeritus so hopefully she won't be too hard to get in touch with.
 
Apr 23, 2013
1,697
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Medical Student
I got a letter from a professor who taught me several years before. I sent him an email politely reintroducing myself, explaining that I was applying to medical school, asked him for a letter, and offered to meet in person to discuss it. He agreed, we met, he wrote me my letter.

I also got turned down cold by another prof.

It's definitely worth trying. My post bacc advisor said it is recommended for fairly recent graduates to have at least one letter from their undergrad years.
 

ZeaL6

Class of 2018
Dec 31, 2012
301
74
Status
Pre-Medical
I agree, don't give up on it! I'd personally stop in his/her office but I'd say an email would be an okay way to go.