Elle Woods MD

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Is there anyone out there that has been able to substitute alternative LORs on their secondary applications (without major protest or fear that their application was immediately trashed)?

As a non-trad, I followed a weird course getting to the point that I wanted to apply to med school. Because of this I'm wary of how successful I'd be in getting LORs from science professors that would be anything more then "yes, this person was enrolled in Bio XXX with me during XXX semester."

I was origionally a pre-vet student at a large university. I took all of my pre-reqs during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 school years (initially with the goal of vet school, but luckily they apply to med as well). Each class had no less that 100 people in it (biggest being a Bio lecture with 750, average was probably 350). No professor is ever going to remember me.

I then switched to business (health policy minor), took a year off and graduated in 2005. So, technically I'm only 1 year out but my last science class was over 4 years ago.

I'm currently completing a MPH at another university, but the most "sciencey" course I've completed here would be either Epi (A) or Biostat (A-).

My ideal plan for LORs would be:

1.) Undergrad business professor (has better qualifications that most MDs! - Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania). He was my undergrad advisor, I earned an A in his senior cap stone class, and he's was the first one to push me to apply to med school.
2.) Biostat prof (downside, just has an MPH and i'm not even sure: is a science or math or what?)
3.) Patient/Provider Communication Prof (DO, academic researcher)
4.) MPH advisor (just has MPH but heads my program and knows me/my extracurriculars extremely well)

My only other option is to go digging for contact info on an old Bio prof from my freshman year that knew me well (got an A in his class), but whom I haven't spoke to since I changed majors 4 years ago (my mistake...never really thought I'd be coming back to medicine ever again!)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

remo

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I think it might be quite difficult with those letters. There really is no substitute for a science faculty letter from someone with a Ph.D. You should probably bite the bullet and take 1-2 undergrad bio courses and get a recent letter. I could have gotten a letter from almost every post-bac course I took and every class was 150-400 people. The professors were all interested in my non-trad story. As long as you get an A and go to office hours 5-6 times you will get the letters you need.
 

FlStudent

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I am in the exact same boat as you are. My last science courses were 4.5-6 years ago.

I am studying for the 1/07 MCAT but I am very concerned about the LORs. What is someone like me to do? I agree with the previous poster, it is best to take some recent science courses just for the letters (which sucks, because they are quite time consuming). But I don't want to take a science course just yet b/c of my need to focus on the MCAT. I would really recommend talking to a med admissions committee person (which I really should as well). The med comittee knows that you are a non-trad when they see your app, so they'll understand your science predicament. I mean, really, what the heck are people like us to do? Take random classes just for the letters? (Note: my friend took some grad level bio classes just to show he can do well in them , so i guess it is ok for us to take 2 classes for the letters).

I asked one of my med school friends about this same situation and he had an interesting answer. He told me just to ask my profs from 6 years ago KNOWING that they won't remember me in the slightest. That is how recs usually work anyways. You ask them, they ask you to provide some info about yourself, and then you provide 1-2 pages of info, and they basically write about what grade you recieved in the class and they incorporate all of the info you provided. I think it is worth a shot, the worst that could happen is that they email you back a "heck no". And what do we care, we won't see them ever again anyways, if you get lucky, you find a nice prof that really likes your story (and maybe u butter them up about how you loved their class). From the LORs I've seen, the right prof will BS about you anyways even if they barely remember you (I know this from applying to MA schools) And your non-science LORs are what you are planning to WOW the med school committee with anyways, so you are just doing this to get by.

What do you think about this?

Note:
Public Health is not a science and won't be seen as a rec from a science prof, but rather a non-science prof. At best, an MPH prof (even if it is BioStats) is applied science, not trad science. Science recs should come from Bio, Chem, or Physics (from what I understand). Your MPH grades won't factor into your science GPA b/c public health isn't science. I am guessing your app will be considered incomplete.

I hope others reply with helpful info. We are definitely in between a rock and a hard place.
 
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FlStudent

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One question from the FAQ from Florida State COM

http://med.fsu.edu/StudentAffairs/prospective/faq.asp#11

11. I am a non-traditional student. My undergraduate faculty members don't remember me, so what letters can I substitute instead?

You should request letters from people you have worked with and who know you well. Choose those people who you think will write the most informative and helpful letters about your suitability to enter medical school.

So it is important to ask the admissions at the COM if it is ok to substitute some non-sci recs with sci. recs.
 

Law2Doc

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Elle Woods MD said:
Is there anyone out there that has been able to substitute alternative LORs on their secondary applications (without major protest or fear that their application was immediately trashed)?

As a non-trad, I followed a weird course getting to the point that I wanted to apply to med school. Because of this I'm wary of how successful I'd be in getting LORs from science professors that would be anything more then "yes, this person was enrolled in Bio XXX with me during XXX semester."

I was origionally a pre-vet student at a large university. I took all of my pre-reqs during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 school years (initially with the goal of vet school, but luckily they apply to med as well). Each class had no less that 100 people in it (biggest being a Bio lecture with 750, average was probably 350). No professor is ever going to remember me.

I then switched to business (health policy minor), took a year off and graduated in 2005. So, technically I'm only 1 year out but my last science class was over 4 years ago.

I'm currently completing a MPH at another university, but the most "sciencey" course I've completed here would be either Epi (A) or Biostat (A-).

My ideal plan for LORs would be:

1.) Undergrad business professor (has better qualifications that most MDs! - Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania). He was my undergrad advisor, I earned an A in his senior cap stone class, and he's was the first one to push me to apply to med school.
2.) Biostat prof (downside, just has an MPH and i'm not even sure: is a science or math or what?)
3.) Patient/Provider Communication Prof (DO, academic researcher)
4.) MPH advisor (just has MPH but heads my program and knows me/my extracurriculars extremely well)

My only other option is to go digging for contact info on an old Bio prof from my freshman year that knew me well (got an A in his class), but whom I haven't spoke to since I changed majors 4 years ago (my mistake...never really thought I'd be coming back to medicine ever again!)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Med schools like to see recent success in the sciences. If you haven't taken a science course in 4+ years, a lot of med schools will often suggest you take some more recent ones anyhow. Which would give you an opportunity to get a more current science class. Otherwise, you pretty much have to locate old profs and see if they will write you a letter, and then include it along with the 4 you listed above (most schools allow more LORs from nontrads).
 
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