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Slacking prof's and letters!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Popoy, Jul 25, 2001.

  1. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Till this year I have yet to hear from one prof who is "still working on my PS".....

    For those who did slack, I visited them in their office hours and sat down and explained my dilemma.... Then I would tell them that I would visit the following week to pick it up personally.... For the most part this really work to get their butts in gear.... If they didn't finish the following week, I'd visit again.... I notice that the prof would then be embarrassed and get him/her working.... Anyway, it worked for me and I hope it works for you....

    Aside from that I emailed, mailed, called, etc....
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  3. Mossjoh

    Mossjoh Mayo Clinic-PGY2 10+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2001
    Jacksonville, FL
    At my school, they have "mock interviews" where the pre-med committee evaluates you. Basically its a pretty intense interview where you're expected to explain any "bad looking parts" of your academic record and truly explain to the pre-med committee your reasons for wanting to be a physician.
    Well, that was supposed to happen first over finals week, which it did not. Then my advisor told me June, which came by and went. Then after multiple office visits with her and emails and voicemails, it looks like it may happen Aug 8. I need the committees letter so I can send in secondaries, so I'm frustrated. Are all profs like this? I was told the reason they couldn't get a date together at first was that one prof didn't want to meet in the morning while one didn't want to meet in the afternoons. I'm glad that my goal to become a physician is inconveniencing my professors personal lives.

    I have the application for the Medical College of Wisconsin to send back to them. I need the committee's letter to add to that file, any day would be great profs! Just venting.....sorry guys.

  4. kris

    kris Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2001
    Wow, you're in a tight spot. It sounds like you've already sent several email reminders to your 2 profs, but they aren't responding.

    Did you give them a deadline? Some profs need hard deadlines as much as some students do :).

    Did you give the profs addressed envelopes so all they'd have to do is write the letter and plop it in? I've found that to be effective. If you haven't already done that, that might serve as an excuse to stop by their offices--that is, to drop off addressed envelopes and to remind them that the deadline is very soon.

    If you've done all these things already, I'm not sure what to say. I'm assuming these profs were enthusiastic about writing a letter for you. If not, that might be another concern.

    I think setting a firm deadline might be your best bet--and not a deadline that THEY come up with. You have to make it a deadline that counts. Emphasize the external consequences.

    Unfortunately, profs are occupied with all sorts of stuff in their own lives, careers, and with hundreds of students. Some are better at handling it than others. I'm sorry you have such duds in this area.

    I would actually need more details to provide better advice. On the one hand you say you're not getting repsonses, on the other hand you said they claim it'll be "next week." Could you clarify? When were you getting responses? How many emails have you already sent? My husband's a prof by the way, and I'm trying to best guage the kind of situation and personality you're up against.

    Are you in a position to ask some other profs for a letter?

    As for good ways to get letters:
    1) make sure the person knows you well and is enthusiastic to write a good letter for you
    2) provide a written summary of info about you that might help the prof formulate the letter
    3) provide addressed, stamped envelopes for ease
    4) provide a hard deadline (and reasonable time). I usually make the deadline what I want it to be, and much earlier than the real application's deadline.
    5) if writing a reminder, which some profs like by the way (they know they forget these things), you can start it something like:
    Dear so-n-so, last January you generously agreed to write a l.o.r. for me. The deadline is X, only one week away, and I just wanted to ensure that your letter would be in on time. Thank you...etc., blah blah, sign your name.
    You get the idea.
    6) As someone previously posted, I also would stop by their offices just to chat, and also to check on the status of the letter.

    best of luck,
  5. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    my personal always to ask in advance....

    I told my professors I need it by january 31st the latest :D needless to say, they all turned it on May.... ;)

    of course, the rest of my letters I asked them to write it for me 2 years in advance...that way, I would have some in my folder, and get some new recent ones ;)
  6. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    also my other personal advice is..if ur profs. aren't cooperating then that is a bad sign in two ways...

    1) They probably won't write one anyway, even if u keep on bugging them...

    2) chances are it is not going to be a top notch letter...since ur forcing them into writing one.....most likely, they haven't even with the way ur presssuring them...they will probably write a paragraph at most and turn something in so u would stop haggling them....

    sorry about saying these things...but honestly I think it is the truth....if u pursue it for a long time and it doesnt get u anywhere....I personally think it is to ur best option to find someone else immediately....

    In one occassion, I asked a prof to write a letter for me for a shcolarship and she wrote it within 2 days so I could turn it before the deadline!!!

    a Professor's willingess to write and how prompt they are could be an indication fo the quality and enthusiasm the author has pplaced in the letter.... :rolleyes: :eek:

    it is the sad find someone else as a back up ASAP!!!!
  7. Stephen Ewen

    Stephen Ewen 10+ Year Member

    Giving the friendly reminder by dropping by during office hours serves better than less formal methods.
  8. 12R34Y

    12R34Y 10+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2000
    Thanks for the responses.....

    I did give my recommenders addressed envelopes stamped and everything. couldn't have made it any easier.

    The recommenders were very enthusiastic about writing "strong letters" for me, but one professor just took over the position of director of undergraduate biology and the other is interviewing PH.D students as the director of molecular biosciences.

    They have both stated to me that they are extremely busy, but I'm just going to have to stop by and beat them up or something.


  9. moo

    moo 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2000
    One of my profs who's due to give birth next week just finished off my letter and sent em off! Yay!!! (Gosh, I hope she'll still be around when she's on maternity leave!)
  10. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes! 10+ Year Member

    I hear you Mossjoh. I am also waiting on my premed committee letter, which pretty much leaves my secondaries dead in the water. Hopefully, they'll get their butts in gear and I can have it by mid-August.
  11. watto

    watto Sleek White Pantsuit 10+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    I just wanted to pitch in here on the importance of confirming that letters are sent.

    During last year's application process, I applied to 12 schools. I later found that I had 5 of my apps tossed because one of my letter writers slacked to the point of a) not sending the thing until the last minute, hence missing the deadline or b) failed to send the letter at all. Now, bear in mind he had told me TO MY FACE that they had been taken care of. To add insult to injury, I had even sent him a nice thank-you gift consisting of fine fruits. Alas, I was very saddened by the fact that I had spent all that money on apps to these schools for nothing.

    The lesson being that, this year, I acquired letters from everyone in advance and asked to read them first. So I have a stack of letters, all signed, that I can send out whenever I complete my secondaries. I figure the benefit gained by getting them in super-early outweighs the negative of not having each of them with the specific school's address in the upper right-hand corner (though I could always type that up there as needed when the time comes).
  12. Harbindoc

    Harbindoc Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2001
    I have always been confused about this topic. Can you have profs write your letters, give them to you, and then you mail them, or do they have to mail them directly to the schools you want them sent to? I guess my confusion lies in that if you get multiple secondaries from different schools at different times, and you had to ask your profs to send the letter out to each school that you get a secondary from all at random times, your prof would get really annoyed. Rather than if you had them write the letters and you sent them out to the schools yourself. Can someone clarify this for me? Thanks! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  13. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    Reading this topic made me happy that I attend Virginia Commonwealth University. Our pre-med advisor gave us a packet that contained all the rec forms we would need. It also contained all the things we would need to fill out to get our school's pre-med committee's rec letter.

    We had due dates for all our paperwork. We had to meet those deadlines in order to be granted an interview by the pre-med committee.

    This was done in May so we haven't had to worry about any reccommendation letters. I wish some of the people on this topic had an undergraduate pre-med department (our advisor is great) like we have at VCU. :D :D

    I wish you all the luck you need to get your letters.
  14. Sm00th13

    Sm00th13 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Hey everyone,

    I've read all of the responses here and majority of the advices are pretty valid in terms of getting a recomm. from a profess.
    By the way, i'm not only applying to med school , but i'm also a TA. So I pretty much get to write recomm. for former students.
    I just wanna add that some profess can be jerks in terms of promising to have the recomm. done, and they end up forgetting who you are. And there are others that will do what they can to help you.
    You can get an idea about a profess. by speaking to those that work in his/her lab. I always have students asking me about my boss (who I think is a very caring profess.) during breaktime in lab classes. So if you want to get a load down on a profess., just ask a grad. student (who works in a lab of a profess. that you may ask to write a recomm.), if you get bad vibes from the grad. student, then move on to the next profess.
    I also remember talking to another profess. about students and their request for recomm., and boy was he brutal. I won't be asking him
  15. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    actually, watto, your strategy may get you into some hot water. first, most, if not all, adcoms require that the recommendations are sent directly from the professor/premed committee so that they know they have not been tampered with. sometimes it is even required that a professor sign their name across the seal of the envelope. this is all because you are expected to waive your right of access to the letters, with the assumption that recommenders will be more honest in their evaluation of you if they know that you will not be able to read the letter. as a result, your letters may not be given very much weight, because for all an adcom knows, you wrote the letters yourself and forged the signature.

    a better way to remedy your disaster from the year before would have been to enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard for every school to which you were applying, and to instruct your recommenders to drop the postcard in the mail when they mail in your letter. this often forces them to get their act together because you will know when and if they get the letter in the mail. plus you could keep on their case CONSTANTLY (as others here recommend) to ensure the letters were mailed off, instead of simply assuming they did their part.

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