brownemily22

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so i asked my boss (an M.D. that i do research with) to write me a LOR and he said that he'd be more than happy to write one, then he emailed me and asked me to write a 1st draft of the letter! i find this request strange and actually a little bit rude. but i need his LOR so i guess i have to start writing....... what should i do? and more importantly, how do i write a good LOR (what do med schools want to hear?)
 

PrincessCKNY

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Don't think of it as rude. Think of it as a blessing.

There are a lot of websites about letters of rec and the different types. I referenced those alongside a checklist of what LOR's should include (a handout provided by my undergraduate advising office). I know this may be difficult, but don't hesitate to compose a very flattering LOR for yourself. This is because your advisor will take several sentences or even paragraphs and just cut and paste what you've written. As a result, you want to present yourself in the best way you can. However, be realistic. Don't say that you're the next Mother Theresa or anything.

I had this experience w/ a G.Chem prof that I had in my freshman year. I only had him for the quarter, came to office hours, and checked in w/ him about once a quarter. Personally, on a scale of 1-10 of how well I knew him, I'd give it a 6. But, when I read the letter he'd written for me, it was REALLY good! Nearly the entire letter was identical to the one I had written...the structuring was the same, but actual words were reworded. To this day, if I need to feel better about myself when I'm blue, I just bust out the letter and read it.

I hope this helps. Good luck. Composing your own LOR just helps out your writer and saves them some time. It is difficult for them to know what adcoms are really looking for, especially if they have had little experience writing letters.
 

ucdbiochem

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it's good that you have a chance to control the content of LOR.
you know, sometimes when you go ask for LOR, and the people usually say, "sure, i'll write you a good one". but u know what? it turns out to be a so-so letter. it doesn't make you shine. I mean there is no reason to put your future on someone hands. if you have a chance to write your own LOR, do it! just like what princessCKNY said, u just need to look up some websites that teach people how to write a good LOR. make sure you're really saying who you are and don't make up something.
good luck!
 
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blinx

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hey brownemily - i was in the same situation - in fact 2 of my referees asked me to write my own letter ... this was real tough cause i had to try n write in 2 different styles but u know what? those 2 letters are by far my strongest!! hehe - it may take som more effort but u should see it as a good thing.

blinx
 

DrMom

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Originally posted by PrincessCKNY
Don't think of it as rude. Think of it as a blessing.
I totally agree!

Also, this is really not that uncommon. One of my LORs asked me to do the rough draft (I sent it to him as a bulleted list), another asked me to write down specifics about my background, stats, etc, and another asked for a copy of my resume and my MCAT score/gpa.

All of this gives you an opportunity to direct the track of your LORs wo use it to your advantage!! (but be reasonable and don't overblow your experiences)
 
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brownemily22

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good advice everyone. i guess it is a blessing after all. now i will finally get the chance to explain to someone how charming, talented, smart, funny, beautiful, rich, and motivated i am. i have been trying to tell my friends this for years but a smack in the mouth usually follows. oh, and humble. can't forget that.
 

Tweetie_bird

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I am writing my own LOR and i can't tell you how difficult it is to write about myself! I can't seem to shake off that "humble" feeling. Every time I write something 'good" about myself, I delete it because my PI will think of how shameless I am to be talking about myself so....uppity.
 

DrMom

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Originally posted by Tweetie_bird
I am writing my own LOR and i can't tell you how difficult it is to write about myself! I can't seem to shake off that "humble" feeling. Every time I write something 'good" about myself, I delete it because my PI will think of how shameless I am to be talking about myself so....uppity.
As long as the good points for your LOR are real, tangible, and not blown out of proportion include them!!!

I know it feels weird, but you have to sell yourself.
 
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brownemily22

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i know what you mean tweetie! it would be different if we were just sending the letters directly to the schools. but our bosses have to read everything that we write about ourselves! how awkward. plus, what if they don't agree with some of the stuff we 'brag' about? that's even more embarrassing.
 

Lee

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Write your own!

It's really the best way to go. I found most letter-writers prefer it this way.

It's really clever if you ask them to write you a letter and let them know, if they'd like, you can pre-write it in MS Word. They can then change or add as they see fit. I can tell you, they'll love you for it!!
 

Adcadet

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I had to write my own LOR. I found it really stressful, but it is nice knowing you have at least one really good one.
 
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