The only people that abhor dealing
with medical school letters of recommendations more than applicants are
the professors tasked with writing them. While a medical school applicant
generally only has to
worry about compiling a single set of letters, a
professor is tasked with addressing a multitude of
requests at any given time. And where you get the
benefit of a glowing letter to the graduate school of
your dreams your recommender's only thanks is another
handful of reference requests from other students.
Here are a few steps that can not
only make the process easier on your professor, but
increase your chances of receiving a strong
recommendation letter that can be submitted on time.
As an applicant, you only have to
worry about rounding up one set of letters for yourself.
But a professor is probably dealing with dozens, even
scores, of letter requests at any one time. So give your recommender plenty of
Don't ask for a letter of reference
any later than six weeks ahead to your application
deadline. This means, of course, that you must have your
applications near its final form no more so that the
letters of reference can be used to tie all of your
story themes together.
Tell your recommender, in writing,
what programs and schools and programs to intend to
apply to, and why you're doing so. Verbal requests, no matter how
adamant, still have the potential of falling through the
cracks. If you really what something specific from your
academic performance mentioned in your recommendation,
put it in writing.
Remind your recommender what
classes you took with them and when. Even if your recommender says he or
she remembers you, it never hurts to help them in their
recollection with specifics of your involvement in a
particular class, from providing examples of your
participation to providing a copy of a paper you worked
on taking the course.
Ask your recommender if they want a
copy of your resume or transcripts as well. If so, provide them.
Also, be sure to ask for letters to all
the programs you are applying to at the same time. And provide your professor with a
written checklist with deadline and contact information
for each graduate program. Be sure to fill out as much of the letter of
recommendation cover sheets as you can before handing it
over to your recommender.
If your recommenders are being
asked to mail letters directly to the schools, provide
them with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes as a courtesy
and general time-saver. And make sure you list the
professor's return address and not your own. And, of course, follow this all up
with a warm thank-you note including news about your
Do you need help with your letters of
reference? Our qualified consultants are available to help you
with this and on any other questions you might have related to your positioning and school selection or the application process. Call us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) or
email us to find out more about our services.