Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Tips On Getting Good Letters Of Recommendation

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Dr. Dai Phan, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Dr. Dai Phan

    Dr. Dai Phan Senior Member
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Dentist
    Hello,

    STRONG letters of recommendation can really make or break for borderline students. If you want the best out there, you NEED to do the following:

    1. Ask the perspective professors if he/she can provide POSITIVE and STRONG recommendation on your behalf. If they seem to be undecisive, then go elsewhere. Remember that on the "preformed letter" or forms, there is a box that says "I do not recommend" so you certainly don't want them to check this box!

    2. DO NOT use the forms with all the check marks and boxes. These don't do justice on letting admission people know your strenghts. You need personal LETTER rather than those meaningless boxes. These forms are reserved for people who don't want to take the time to write a good letter. Ask your school if these forms are required. If not, toss them out. If your professor only wants to use the forms, then ask someone else.

    3. You get MUCH better recommendation if you don't use these forms. This is because even if you are an SUPERB student, the professor would feel leary about giving you all 10 (even though you deserve it) because that seems fake. So they have to give an 9,8 or even 7 here and there and that may hurt you. From my personal experience, when I used those forms they are not as strong as the typed letter and that is from the same person who evaluates me!

    Last remember that you are asking for letters of RECOMMENDATION, NOT letters of EVALUATION so DO NOT MIX THESE TWO !!! Good luck DP
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Audio

    Audio Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    2

    Some good points. :thumbup: Thanks for spending time trying to help students out!
     
  4. howui3

    howui3 1K Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    1
    Here is what worked for me:

    I made a folder with my resume, the AADSAS application, personal statement, transcripts, and a cover letter addressed specifically for that professor/dentist.

    I made an appointment to see them and talked about my future plans and my excitement for dentistry. Also, I included a stamped and labeled envelope for mailing the letter. Most of the time, the teacher/dentist showed me the letter before mailing even though I waived my right to access the letter of rec.

    Then a few days later I would send an email or stop by their office to thank them for agreing to write me a letter of rec. And finally when the letter was written I would thank them again with some candy or a small fruit basket.

    This might seem over the top, but a little appreciation goes a long way! All my letter turned out great.
     
  5. ltb

    ltb Member
    Dentist 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Dentist
    Thanks for the post, but I have to disagree with point #1. Asking if they can provide a "positive and strong recommendation," I feel, is insulting to the professor. If you're asking a professor for a recommendation, you should already feel confident that they will provide a satisfactory one.
     
  6. Sprgrover

    Sprgrover Pulped out Moderator
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    3
    I would like to add that it is important for applicants to have the forsight to groom their future recommendors: a good LOR is one that provides an insight into the character, ethics, and long term prospects for success of a candidate. Pick which professors you would like to have write on your behalf and then make a point to get to know them. If you have a question about some subject then use this as an excuse to go by during their office hours and get it answered and for them to get to know you a bit better. Trust me, most professors really do like to get to know their students and will be receptive to such gestures, and such things will go a long way in helping your cause and it will be reflected in the letter he/she writes for you.

    In addition, when you do approach your recommendors, give them plenty of time to write the letter - don't come to them days before the deadline. Also, I think it best if you can prepare a little folder for them. I assembled my CV, an unofficial transcript, and my personal statement, and gave these things to each of my recommendors so that they could better assess my intentions for pursuing dentistry, my academic background and my accomplishments so that they could speak of these things as well in the letter.
     
  7. Dr. Dai Phan

    Dr. Dai Phan Senior Member
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Dentist
    Dear LTB,

    In my personal opinion, I do not feel that it is insulting to ask a professor if he/she can provide a strong letter on your behalf. I would approach the person and ask " Dr. Phan, I am applying to ---- and we have worked together in the past two years on many occasions. I did very well in your class and I feel that I am a good student. I would like to know if you can provide a good (or positive) remmendation on my behalf?". I have asked and was asked on mnay occasions and I do NOT feel insulted. From my personal experience, I was asked once to write a letter for a particular student and I wished that she didn't because I had pretty much nothing to say other than " she gets along well with her peers and faculty" stuff which meant nothing. So I politetly declined and explain of my reason. I believe that if there is nothing good to say, then don't say it! In the past, some professors came to me and asked me if I can provide the letter for the student (with the student's permission ofcourse) because they feel that they could NOT provide a good letter on the student's behalf. Now, not everyone thinks like I do (most do, but not all). Some will accept your request but the letter may not be a good one. So just ask and they will not be offended. Now, if you and Dr. Phan had a run in and you called him a '@$#%$#$", then ask him to write you a good letter, then that is a different story. Good luck. Dai Phan
     
  8. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Dentist
    OR you can do like me, and date all of the professors daughters a different night of the week..
    :)
     

Share This Page