Letters of Recommendation

Learner Series:

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation

Your letters of recommendation aka your LOR's are going to be absolutely required as part of your application. Expect to obtain at least three of these for your medical school application.

Also try to make at least one of those a letter of recommendation from a doctor. If you're applying to a DO school, make sure there's a letter from a DO!

1. Ask Early: Give your letter writer at least six months to write that letter. Don’t be a pest, but do follow up regularly.

2. Avoid Family & Friends: Asking a friend or a family member might be a solid move when asking for a LOR for college. However, the last thing you want is a letter that appears to compromise objectivity because it’s written by a friend.

3. Choose Wisely: Ask someone who knows you well. This means a person who knows your work, knows your research, knows your personality, knows your career goals, and can attest to your value as an applicant! Doctors and science teachers are great sources for letters. 

4. Ask A Doctor: This is another reason why you want to get on your extracurriculars early in your college career. The more you do the more chance you get to be exposed to physicians (and other letter writers!)

5. Ask Politely: Your letter writers are going to be extremely busy people and always keep in mind that they are doing you a solid.

6. Ask Formally: No matter how well you know your letter writer, even after years of working with them. Do not neglect that this is a formal process. Ask them in a formal email, or even better, in a one-to-one conversation after you make an appointment.

7. Use A Letter Collection Service: We strongly recommend you use something like Interfolio to collect your letters. This service is also great because it’ll save those letters f0r your latter use. 

8. Waive Your Right to See The Letter: You may really want to see those letters, but by waiving your right to see them, you’re sending the message that you encourage the letter writer to be completely honest – knowing you won’t be seeing it. 

9. Ask for At Least Two Extra Letters: Sometimes your letter writers may not get back to you in enough time – even if you ask way in advance. The solution to this problem? Ask extra people.

10. Write Thank You Letters! Make sure you don’t just ghost your letter of recommendation writers! If you need advice on professional correspondence, read our post here.

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