black hat

5+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2009
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi all,

I have a dilemma about LORs. Basically I'm planning on applying to categorical IM and have a department letter + 3 very strong letters from my third year core IM clerkship and two others who I've worked with and know very well clinically and personally.

The issue is that I've heard from others that we should use a sub-I letter. I finished my sub-I in IM a while ago and could get an LOR, but I think that I would only get an average letter, and I've heard that anything less than great is a red flag.

tbh I'm probably not gonna use a sub-I letter, but just wondering what other people's thoughts are, thanks!


10+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2010
You don't have to have a sub-I letter just for the sake of having one. Pick the (likely) stronger letter. I too used my third year clerkship letter instead of my sub-I letter, and it worked out better for me. I got every interview I wanted.
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Oh, Inverted World
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
Resident [Any Field]
I'd say go with the strong letter. People will tell you different (they aren't wrong). I had a sub-I letter uploaded and felt my other ones were going to be stronger (all my letters were from 4th year rotations/research year), so I never sent it. I got the interviews, and matched, where I wanted.
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7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2011
Fellow [Any Field]
Echoing the other posts, I went with clerkship over subI (particularly because I had four attendings over the course of my subI). No skin off my back!


7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2012
Fellow [Any Field]
As long as your letters are strong letters (which usually if you didn't tick off an attending and you worked hard as a med student they are) then even if they're all from your third year you're fine.

I actually had all of my letters from my third year clerkship because my attending from my clerkship became ill around application time. One from a subspeciality elective, two from sub I, one chair.
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