samsoccer7

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I'm wondering when I should plan on having my LOR ready to go by. I think I have a General Surg one ready. I'll also get the PD from my rads program to get me on by the end of August. That leaves me with getting one more from one of my away rotation in September/October. So basically, what is the earliest I need them to hold any advantage? I know ERAS should be submitted ASAP, but I have no clue about LOR.
 

doepug

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Earlier is better, for many reasons. If at all possible, shoot to have your letters submitted for uploading by the first week of September.

As soon as you submit your application (hopefully right after labor day), some programs will review it. If you're lucky, you'll start getting invitations for interviews in early October, a full month before programs will receive your dean's letter. Some programs (e.g. Penn) will extend all of their invitations at that time.

A letter from a Sept/Oct rotation is too late. Even though you might beat the published deadlines, such a letter would put your application in the "incomplete" pile for a long, long time, which would effectively cause you to get lots of rejections.

My advice is to start looking for another LOR now. If you can have three letters submitted by mid-Sept, you'll be sitting pretty. Should you happen to get a stellar letter late in the game, you can add it as a fourth letter to your (already) complete application.

Good luck,
doepug (MS IV)
 

samsoccer7

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It's nice to know I can ask you guys questions most people can't answer. Thanks.
 
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samsoccer7

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By the way... Would you guys recommend 2 rad + 1 other or 1 rad + 2 other? What's the best combination?
 

doepug

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All letters being equal, 2 rads letters are better than 1.

But... it is far more important to have strong letters that are written by people who know you well. A solid clinical letter beats a lukewarm rads letter hands down. If that means getting another medicine/surgery/whatever letter instead of rads, then do it. I submitted 2 solid rads letters, 1 pathology letter, and a medicine letter that was only sent to prelims. Do your best to find someone who will speak well of you and you'll be in good shape.

Cheers,
doepug
 

dpwsxw

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Doepug,

What do you think about getting all 3 of your letters from radiologists? I feel that I could get three fairly strong letters, all from faculty in rads and that these letters would be stronger than letters from medicine, surgery, or other clinical rotations where I did not get to know the faculty as well. I can still try to schedule more clinical electives (for the purposes of another letter), but would prefer not to if I didn't have to.

thanks
 

samsoccer7

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Also, does it really matter if you waive the right to see the letter? I've heard some people say that the programs asked if they had the letter handy when they interviewed, meaning they had the chance to look at it. But of course if you waive it, it would be more honest I suppose.
 

doepug

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My opinion is to get 2 good, solid rads letters and one excellent clinical letter. I think a clinical letter is necessary just to help round you out a bit. Radiologists want to attract residents who are clinically savvy, and in my opinion, a strong medicine/surgery letter would help you.

You should waive your right to see LORs. I actually had a few interviewers bring it up -- apparently a few letters were worded strongly.

Good luck,
doepug
 

DireWolf

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Originally posted by doepug
You should waive your right to see LORs. I actually had a few interviewers bring it up -- apparently a few letters were worded strongly.

I am starting to think about this dilemma right now. I have been told to review your LORs before submitting them. Just because an attending/PD says they can write you a "strong" letter does not mean they will. I have a friend who was burned by a luke warm letter. So I've been told to do whatever it takes to see your letters before you submit them.

The dilemma is whether to waive your right to see them or not. At some schools, students waive their right but are still allowed to see them. So for them, it's a nonissue. I would think PDs would understand how important LORs are to your application- so I don't see how they could object to you seeing them first. I don't see any ethical problems with that.

Does anyone know the general consensus on this issue? Waive or not to waive?

I think not seeing them is suicide, considering the influence (good or bad) a letter can have on an application.
 

WaitingForJuly

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Originally posted by DireWolf
Does anyone know the general consensus on this issue? Waive or not to waive?

A non-waived letter carries no weight. Even a great one would hurt your chances. It immediately raises a red flag as to why you found it necessary to screen your letters. The assumption is that there must be a skeleton in the closet. If you aren't confident beforehand that the letter writer will write a glowing letter, you shouldn't be asking him to write one.
 
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