Letters of Recommendation

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Transcript

But second to it is your letters of recommendation, okay. So you'll be asked for a number of letters. Most schools will request a certain type. They'll say in addition to two academic, include one from employment or research, or something like that. And if they don't if they just say include three letters of recommendation, you should get a variety.

A couple academic can maybe one from an employer or one from someone you did a research with or one from some medical experience that you had and again, it's imperative that this person knows you very well. I've talked about the generic letter that you'll see from certain professors at certain universities that ten students a semester, if somebody in your pre-med club or in one of your pre-med classes comes up to you and says, hey Dr. so and so, he will write you a great letter, I asked him, he was very cool about it, you should go ask him and you don't know him.

You need to give yourself immediate pause right there because Doctor so and so probably just has some kind of generic letter that he'll insert your name, and maybe mention how you did in his class, and that's it. And especially if there's a medical school in that state where you're going to school. Anybody who applies to that same medical school is also got that letter from doctor such and such that's cool about writing letters for students and it's a basically a form letter and the admission's committees read these.

Don't think that they don't read these they absolutely do. How else are they gonna tell who Is really a quality applicant and who is just trying to apply to medical school in the robot manner. So this is how they'll know what kind of person you are and whether you have that humanism. Again, humanism is what they wanna see.

Somebody that interacts with people that shows empathy. This is your time to make that clear and there's also a time for someone who knows you well to say, this is an excellent application. So, what you wanna do is ask your letter writer if they feel comfortable that they could write you a good letter. And, you should not think two weeks in advance of whether or not of who you are going to ask for your letters.

You should be planning several months in advance especially if you have one of those unique experiences that I was talking about where especially if you are from small university or college and you go off for a summer some research at NIH or Harvard, Yale, Stanford, some kind of big name or any name that's larger than where you're from. Something outside your sphere.

This is a big deal. A lot of especially local schools, If it's Texas Tech Medical School are been talking a lot about Texas. So will say, Wash U and Saint Louis. People from that area are going to have a lot of experiences in Saint Louis. And they love to see people who did things outside of their sphere.

And if you have any experience outside of your home stay, home community or even the country. That's something to include, and you should think is this gonna be a good chance for me to ask for a letter. Everything you do hopefully you're now just starting your MCAP prep and listening to this, and hopefully you have a few months to start thinking who can I ask for letters from.

And what kind of experiences will I have in the near future that will be good opportunities to get letters from that person. And it's very appropriate ahead of time to work with that person a little bit and say, I'm applying at a medical school and I need letters of recommendation and I am hoping to get to know somebody very well and have them write me a good quality letter.

And I just wanted to let you know that if things go well during this experience, that I might want to ask you for a letter at the end, and if you'd be comfortable with that. And they'll probably say yeah. And then when you actually ask them for the letter, say that you are looking for very good letters and say you know what, if your contact has been less than you wanted, be very wary and say, do you think you've had adequate contact with me to write a letter of recommendation that wouldn't just be a generic type of letter?

And if they say, well, we've had some contact but not a lot, I can try. So while I'm really looking for some kind of not, a specific letter specifically about me indicates that you know me well. If you don't feel that we've really got to know each other well enough, I'll ask somebody else. And you need to do that.

These need to be non-generic. They need to clearly indicate that this letter writer knows you well. And I guarantee you, how well the letter writer knows you will come through in the letter of recommendation. So summary point, you need to know this person well. You need to get letters from a few different types of experiences.

If the medical school doesn't specifically ask for it, then you need on your own to get some employer, academic and hopefully one outside volunteer letter or research letter or something along those lines. You should plan several months of it in advance. And maybe let your letter writer know head of time that you're looking for a letter recommendation and would appreciate it if they would consider writing you on based on how the experience goes.

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