Writing your own letter of acceptance - How not to be a douche?

rebecca_chatul_tov

2+ Year Member
Dec 31, 2016
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Pre-Pharmacy
One of my professors has graciously agreed to do a letter of reference from me even though I've only taken online classes from him.

He's asked me to write three paragraphs about balancing school with working full-time, being a parent to two kids while pregnant twice in two years, and doing well in challenging classes like organic chemistry. I've taken about 30 credit hours in 18 months which has worked out to 6-8 credits per semester, a decently heavy course load and making As and Bs in my prereqs.

I also had my son last year and he was in the NICU for 6 weeks, so I literally had an emergency c-section and was sitting in lecture for the first day of class four days later. My husband carried me to the front door because at that point I had been in a wheel chair the whole time and I was just barely able to walk the 100 feet to the lecture hall. I still had hospital bracelets on. I took Bio II and Physics II while pretty much living at the hospital the first half of the fall semester.

I've also gone through some custody issues with my nephew and his mother and have done all the work for court pro se, on top of my normal work load with a full-time job and parenting. I've had to learn to prep case files and subpoena records on the fly, which takes up a lot of time. I have hearings every 30-60 days with the judge. This is in additional to his monthly check ups and weekly therapy. My son also gets PT/OT twice a week and has medical check ups every 2-3 weeks where I have to drive him to specialists an hour away. I have to juggle work, medical appointments and court so when I go to my job it's literally like a 9 hour power session where I just plow through all the things I have to get done, skipping lunch and taking my laptop home to stay on top of the things that I miss due to appointments.

I feel like when I lay all this out it sounds absolutely insane. This is my life, so it doesn't really seem insane until I start ticking off the challenges I face daily. But he feels like it's important to tell this information to the ADCOM. I'm not sure that he knows about all these other little challenges. Did I also mention that I'm putting my husband through engineering school too?

I've laid everything out there, should I dial it back a little or is this about the level of detail I need to go in to. I have and continue to balance a lot of competing obligations, but I don't want to over do it. Please give me some advice because I feel like I'm on the edge of where an ADCOM would go "OK...but really?" because I'm there myself to some extent.

I don't know if this makes sense, but any advice on the level of detail and what might be too much would be really helpful.
 
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sparkinthedark

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2017
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Wow, I commend you for being able to juggle so many things at once. However, my thoughts is that if this is supposed to come from your online professor then that level of detail is not something an online professor would know of you and adcom will think its weird he knows all these details. I think this content belongs in your personal statement or supplemental essays. I hope this helps! Good luck!
 
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JLT223

Dental Student
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Jun 3, 2015
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However, my thoughts is that if this is supposed to come from your online professor then that level of detail is not something an online professor would know of you and adcom will think its weird he knows all these details.
Agreed.
 
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rebecca_chatul_tov

rebecca_chatul_tov

2+ Year Member
Dec 31, 2016
231
118
TX
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Wow, I commend you for being able to juggle so many things at once. However, my thoughts is that if this is supposed to come from your online professor then that level of detail is not something an online professor would know of you and adcom will think its weird he knows all these details. I think this content belongs in your personal statement or supplemental essays. I hope this helps! Good luck!
I have met this professor and spoken on the phone with him, so I know him in this sense. I have already written my PS, which really focused on my plans to continue serving in the military and why I want to specifically be a dentist in the Army so it's too late this cycle to go back and change that since my primary app is submitted.
 

The Flossopher

2+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2016
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The level of detail you have here is too much. I think the story about going to class with your hospital bracelet on and studying while you are caring for your son in the NICU is great though...it gets the point across that you are capable of being both a dedicated mother/wife and a dedicated dental student. That's all you need. In the rec letter, I guess it could be framed as a story you told the professor that really stuck with him, since that is the truth anyway.

I don't think you should tell adcoms about going to family court every month, the details of all the appointments the kids have, etc. unless it feels appropriate to mention in an interview. The only time someone would want to share this type of information is if they feel a need to argue that their academic record doesn't reflect their potential due to extenuating circumstances. Your story doesn't sound insane...it's totally believable. However, you don't want to give the impression that your personal life will continue to be unusually difficult or potentially unstable when you are a dental student. Adcoms want assurance that you will stay to pay eight semesters of tuition and graduate. If that means leaving out some details, so be it. They will already think you are a tough person.
 

sparkinthedark

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2017
18
4
Usually those professors who can write that kind of extensive letter for you are those you've had other relationship with outside of class (like if you did research with them or they also happen to be your family friend etc) even then the detail of that is a little too specific and personal. Talk about how you are as a student (thats ultimately what they want to know about you in the academic setting, and I believe this is why most schools want SCIENCE professors, to see how you can handle the course)
 
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