How Should I Ask a Doctor for a Letter of Recommendation?

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How Should I Ask a Doctor for a Letter of Recommendation?

Session 31

Letters of recommendation are one of the few things for your application that you don’t have complete control over. Let’s talk about how to ask for a LOR.

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[00:13] LORs Are Used Differently

Letters of recommendation are a vital part of a medical school application. But they’re used differently by different schools. Some schools will review them before they offer you an invite. Some won’t review them until after your interview. Some won’t review them until before your interview but after your invite. So let’s remove that from the equation.

'Every school is going to do something different with those letters of recommendations. So you don't know exactly how they're going to be used. But just know they're important.'Click To Tweet

[00:49] How to Ask a Physician for LOR

Here’s a template you can use:

“Hi Dr. Smith,

Thank you for allowing me to shadow you.

I’m interested in having you write a letter of recommendation for me.

Do you think that you can write a strong letter of recommendation for me that I can submit to medical schools?”

It’s that simple! Of course, say thank you. But the keywords here are “STRONG letter of recommendation.”

[01:35] Strong Letter of Recommendation

Physicians will let you know if they’re busy. And they may have different excuses for why they don’t want to write you a strong LOR. Maybe they just don’t like you and don’t think you’re going to be a good doctor. That’s their perception of you whether true or not. So they . may have a laundry list of why they can’t write a LOR for you so move one.

But if someone is willing to write one for you, great!

[02:29] Set an Expectation

If you’re still starting with shadowing someone, set that expectation. Tell them you’re still starting and that you’re interested in getting a strong LOR from them. Ask them how long they want students to shadow them to get a strong letter of recommendation. Ask whether they have minimum requirements for writing a LOR.

Set that expectation. Be kind. But most importantly, it has to be a STRONG letter of recommendation.

As physicians, they understand this process. They’ve been through this process. They’ve had premed students come before you and ask for an LOR. And more likely, a lot of them didn’t ask properly.

Again, ask for that STRONG LETTER of RECOMMENDATION, and you’re all set!


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