BxC

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I have a letter writer who completed a standardized letter of recommendation as opposed to a narrative letter and was wondering if this is less desired by programs? Most programs don't state which type of letter they would like but I know that most letter writers write narrative letters.
 

dermie1985

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I have a letter writer who completed a standardized letter of recommendation as opposed to a narrative letter and was wondering if this is less desired by programs? Most programs don't state which type of letter they would like but I know that most letter writers write narrative letters.
I think either is good. That standardized letter was supposedly made to be more "objective", though I would argue its just as subjective/biased as any other letter. Usually people will write both a narrative + the standard though (and attach together). At least in my experience.
 

asmallchild

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I have a letter writer who completed a standardized letter of recommendation as opposed to a narrative letter and was wondering if this is less desired by programs? Most programs don't state which type of letter they would like but I know that most letter writers write narrative letters.
Agree with above, nothing you can do to change the letter anyway. If you have better letters, submit those instead.

The best letters are ideally a mix so as to tell the reader that the letter writer knows more about the student beyond just a cursory rotation. For most of us, we spend 4 weeks on rotation and then move on. A standardized letter is often the best we can make out of that situation.
 

dermathalon

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I have a letter writer who completed a standardized letter of recommendation as opposed to a narrative letter and was wondering if this is less desired by programs? Most programs don't state which type of letter they would like but I know that most letter writers write narrative letters.
Candidly, I personally find the standardized letter of recs worthless. They are pretty sterile and don't tell me much about who the person is. They can hurt an applicant and typically do nothing more than have an average effect. I would much rather read a letter from someone that knows the applicant well and can talk about it (it's an art to do that well). For that matter, strong letters say something personal that I can't glean from the rest of the application and I find them pretty powerful when written well. The ones that focus on people having great memory recall or being able to answer an obscure pimp question are useless too. I read letters to "show me something unique" and not to get a sterilized microwaved version of an applicant. I heavily prefer narrative letters. That said, they have to be written with some thought (not are common as you might think).
 

Magneto1

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Jun 16, 2016
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Does anybody know if you can use the same letter for your advanced specialty for prelim/TY's or would the prelim programs get offended/not like that very much? I ask because I was wondering if I should make separate letter requests for my letter writers but some MS4's told me they used the same ones...
 

asmallchild

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Does anybody know if you can use the same letter for your advanced specialty for prelim/TY's or would the prelim programs get offended/not like that very much? I ask because I was wondering if I should make separate letter requests for my letter writers but some MS4's told me they used the same ones...
You can use the same ones, the prelims/TYs won't care.

That being said, if you have an outstanding IM letter from MS3 and are applying to a more competitive prelim/TY, that can help.
 
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