It's tough to say, but if you asked them to write you a strong letter, how confident was their answer in saying they feel that they could? Important letters that I tend to pay more attention to reveal some element of mentorship, and not just a "writing a letter because I am a science professor" feel.Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to read this post!
I am planning to apply this upcoming cycle and am in the process of getting my letters of rec together. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and also the fact that I am a non-trad career-changer who has to work full-time, I haven't really been able to build great relationships with my hard science professors. During my post-bacc career thus far, I really only had one full semester (Fall 2019) where I attended classes completely in the classroom setting. During that semester, I was able to take two pre-req's (Gen Chem I lecture + lab) and went to office hours a handful of times with my lecture instructor and was able to build somewhat of a relationship with him. I ended up taking his class in Spring, but we ended up going online and his virtual office hours coincided with my work hours and I eventually lost contact with him. I did well in his classes and was going to ask him for a LOR, though I'm not sure how strong it would be. Would it look bad to use a LOR from him?
For my second Science LOR, I was planning on asking my instructor that I had for a Neuroscience Internship class last semester. The course was designed to be Credit/No Credit (no letter grade given - would that be a red flag?) and I only earned one credit from it. The class was under the NSC designation/department, though we didn't learn much about any neuroscience topics. However, because of the online format and having to work with my work schedule, I met with him over videochat once a week for usually over an hour each session. We built a really great relationship, and he knows me very well. Also, we were given assignments that were "graded" and had to work with him 1-on-1 to design our different projects. He's a great instructor and I feel that he would write me a strong LOR. My worry is that perhaps his LOR would either not count as a science LOR or because of the structure of the class that LOR would look weak to adcom's?
I don't have many options for any science LOR's that would be strong or compelling, besides the fact that they could attest to the grade that I earned in their courses. My work schedule and the fact that we had all of our classes online really made it difficult for me to build a rapport with my instructors outside of our class time.
I was also planning to get LOR's from an MD and a DO, both of which work as attendings at the teaching hospital I work at. I have great working relationships with them and have met with each of them outside of the hospital. They have been mentoring me and I think they would also write me strong LOR's. I was also going to ask my PI for a LOR, who is an instructor at the medical school I do research at, though she is not a medical doctor. She would write me a great LOR as well.
I'm not sure if it seems like the bulk of my LOR's are coming from outside the academic setting, and if that might be a red flag to adcom's? I was hoping that quality holds more weight than quantity when it comes to LOR's.
My previous bachelor's was in a humanities major, but I graduated about 5 years ago. If I attempted to get a non-science LOR from one of my instructors at my alma mater, would that be considered coursework that is too old to hold any weight as a solid LOR?