letters of recommendation

Why I’m Totally Unimpressed by Your Letter of Recommendation

Why I’m Totally Unimpressed by Your Letter of Recommendation

By: Ryan Kelly

Imagine you’re a college professor, practicing physician, or busy working professional. Sometime in spring, you receive an email - it’s Johnny or Jessica Pre-med - some young excited face you can barely picture.

He or she was in your lecture two years ago, spent some time shadowing at your hospital, or interned for your company last summer.

20 Best Letter of Recommendation Tips in 90 Seconds

20 Best Letter of Recommendation Tips in 90 Seconds

By: Rob Humbracht

Let’s say you want to try a new restaurant. You’ve got the night off and you’re ready to enjoy yourself. You ask your friend for a recommendation. He spits out of the name of a nearby restaurant, but when you ask about the food, his response is, “I don’t know, I’ve never tried it.”

Would you eat at this restaurant? Maybe, maybe not. It’s difficult to recommend something you know nothing about, and the same goes for medical school. Your letters of recommendation should showcase your best side, and if your letter writer doesn’t know you well enough, they can’t say anything convincing about you.

Don't Hurt Your Odds

Don't Hurt Your Odds

“I figure I might as well apply this year to see how it goes. Besides, I can always re-apply.”

This “winging it” attitude usually arises from a sense of pressure to become a doctor as fast as possible. It’s such a long journey - four years of medical school, followed by another four of residency - that you don’t have time to waste if you want to get a real paycheck before you turn 35. Maybe your parents or peers have belittled the idea of a gap year, causing you to rush the application despite what your gut says.

What’s the problem, then, with going all in with your medical school chips? There are a few.

The 10 Biggest Myths About Getting into Medical School (Part 1)

The 10 Biggest Myths About Getting into Medical School (Part 1)

By: Ryan Kelly

In our work with pre-meds, we hear all kinds of crazy claims. About 95% of the time we hear one of the above phrases, what follows is false. No, you don’t need 400 hours of shadowing to get into medical school. No, it doesn’t help to finish college in three years. And when you get a rejection letter, you shouldn’t call the medical school and plead to be given a second chance.

Every Question You Have About Letters of Recommendation for Medical School

Every Question You Have About Letters of Recommendation for Medical School

By: Rob Humbracht

The rule of thumb for letters of recommendation: Get the Best Set of Letters You Can.

It will be tempting to get lost in the nuances and details of how many letters to get, which people to choose, and what each med school’s requirements are.  When in doubt, refer back to our rule of thumb, and remember that your chances will be helped the most by getting letters from people who support you wholeheartedly, who know you personally, and who can write the best letters on your behalf.

How to Write Your Own Letter of Recommendation

By: Ryan Kelly

So you found someone to write you a letter, and you’re feeling pretty darn good about yourself. You mustered the confidence to approach the recommender, who has happily complied. Congrats--kudos--huzzah! You deserve a nice long catnap on the campus quad.  

But wait, hold up--did they just tell you to write the letter yourself? What? As in write your own recommendation? Aren’t there rules against this kind of thing?

Nope. Turns out that knowing someone is only half the battle, and in this case, half the hassle.

Why does it feel so awkward to ask for a letter of recommendation?

Why does it feel so awkward to ask for a letter of recommendation?

"Would you be willing to write me a letter of recommendation for medical school?"

It seems simple, really.  It's only 14 words, none at higher than a 3rd grade reading level.  It takes approximately 4 seconds to say.  And yet, these words make us squirm.

So why does it feel so awkward to ask for a letter of recommendation?