April 29, 2017 naturallyfrugaldoc 0Comment

Finding someone to write a letter of recommendation can be kind of intimidating if you’re not actively speaking to your teachers. I was this way, but I still managed to receive letters and get accepted. Many people will tell you to ask teachers who truly know you; but if you are the type that does not interact with their teachers as much, this post will provide a template on how to ask for letters.

Templates on how to ask for letters of recommendations:

  • Via E-mail:
    • Hello Dr. …,
      My name is (name). I took your (course name) last semester. You may not remember me, but I went to your office hours (times you’ve spoken to the teacher) asking for tips (main topic of conversations). Due to taking this class I feel more comfortable (how the class will help with your future). I wish I could meet with you in person about this topic, but I am getting my information ready for applying to medical school this year. Would you be able to write a letter of recommendation for my medical school application? We can meet in person if you would like.
      Thank you,
      (Name)
  • In Person, make sure you have a smile and you can say the same script from above.
    • When I asked on of my teachers in person he smiled and said he would like to talk more about it during office hours. One thing that helped me, is that I sat towards the front of the class where all of my teachers could see me. Sitting within the first 5 rows of an auditorium-sized classroom, will make you visible to your teachers. By them seeing you in class, will make it easier for them to remember you.

 

  • If you have applied to medical school before and are going to ask the same teachers again for a letter, I have a template for that as well. It was awkward asking them, but you will be fine. Since I did not attend this school anymore, I had to ask via e-mail.
    • Hello Dr. …,
      It’s (Name). I hope you are doing well. Sorry to ask for this again. Will you please write a letter of recommendation for medical school again? This is my last time applying, and I thank you for the previous letters you have written.
      Thank you,
      (Name)

 

Many schools require at least 2 letters to be written by science professors. The third letter is written by a non-science professor. When asking for letters give a deadline that is before the actual deadline. This will save you so much stress, because some teachers become so busy they forget the deadline. This has happened to me, but because I told them the deadline was June 1st, I was able to get all of my letters in by the end of June.

Committee letters are always a plus. Apparently schools prefer committee letters, so be on the look out for the due date of those and revolve your letter request around that deadline. I have friends who had to complete their committee letters by February.

If your school doesn’t have committee letters like mine, they make have a composite letter packet to combine all of your letters. Some schools use Interfolio or Virtual Eval to submit the packet to different schools.

Some of the packets are limited to 5 letters, while schools limit the letters to 3 total. I had that case, but I was approved to have my 5-letter packet sent to that school.

  • If your more significant organizations/clubs are included in your application as the most meaningful, you could use that as a letter
  • If you completed a Master’s program, have at least one letter from undergrad and another from grad.
  • If you have been out of school for a while. Start looking into letters of rec, earlier because some schools will still require you to have letters from undergrad

Using myself as an example, I am a graduate student. So I had two letters written by professors in the graduate program. One science teacher the other was a non-science instructor. One letter came from my science undergraduate professor. One came from my supervisor in a medical organization that illustrated clinical experiences. Last letter came from supervisor work (this letter was submitted in AMCAS app) vs a letter from a DO (for AACOMAS app).

  • What if your letter writer has not submitted the letter within a week of your deadline or worse the deadline has past and they have not submitted it. I have a template for that.
    • Hello Dr. ,
      I am just checking on how the letter is going, since the deadline is (date). Thank you again, for writing the letter for the medical school application.
      Thank you,
      (Name)