October 16, 2002 at 6:03 am #46274
I saw the other thread about letters of reccomendation from FutureMomMD but decided to start a new one as I did not want to disrupt her discussion.
My concern deals with LOR’s but on a different aspect. A couple of days ago, I sat and chatted with an old friend who is also trying to get into medical school. She asked me who I was going to ask for Letters of Recommendations from and I told her I was getting them from 3 professors over at my old JC. She replied that medical schools do not accept LOR’s from JC professors. I would like to know why this is so.
Many of us start out at JC’s for various reasons and I thought the idea of rejecting lors from JC professors was absurd. By the time we have to apply to medical school, we have only been at our new university for less than one yr. I sit in my classes now and see it as almost impossible to get to know a professor well enought to ask for a LOR. You have to compete with app. 200 other students and it seems so impersonal. How much can these professors actually know about you to write a qualifying and flattering LOR? Let alone you have these professors for only 1 quarter and you can’t really get to know them either. I’ve tried visiting my biochem professor in her office hours a couple of times and I found that I’m never the only one there. Sometimes, I have to wait behind many other students to get a chance to get like 5 min. in. How is this going to be of any help?
Anybody have any info or thoughts on this? I’m feeling very frustrated about this issue. I have 3 very wonderful professors over at my old JC who are very willing to write LOR’s for me. These professors are far better than the professors I have now at the UC level. Furthermore, they know alot about me b/c the classes are so intimate in size. They would have alot more to say. I hope to hear from anybody as soon as possible. :confused:
ThanksOctober 16, 2002 at 6:49 am #46275Brenda MayParticipant
I think your friend has been misinformed. Medical schools accept LOR from your science faculty regardless. The idea being that they KNOW you really well. I think the issue here maybe that many universities have a premed advisory committee and the med schools want you to go through this group BUT if your undergrad university doesn’t have a premed advisory committee then you are required to submit LORs from your science professors. I have never seen a requirement that said that those science professors must work at a university. Personally, if I was applying to a med school that wouldn’t accept my glowing, wonderful, super great LORs just because I took my science’s at a JC before I transferred to a university, then I would withdraw my application from that medical school and find a friendlier one.
FYI, I met a guy that attended the local JC, transferred to UC Davis and is now at Harvard Medical School. I don’t think he got discriminated against for having gone to a JC for two years first, do you?October 16, 2002 at 3:01 pm #46276efex101Participant
I agree with Brenda, I think sometimes folks just assume that letters from professors at JC’s will be looked down, pleaaze. If the professor knows you well, which I am sure coming from a smaller class in some JC’s they will, that letter would be a great asset. Versus the letters that some busier 4 year schools may type, “so and so went to my class and got an A”. So I would for sure go to that professor that knows my intellectual abilities from having me in her/his class, and knows me as an individual. You would be amazed at what professors know about you! things that I did not even know a prof knew about me, he wrote in one LOR he wrote for me. Stuff like how you interact with other students, do you help/tutor/share knowledge etc. I was really blown away that he knew that I often times helped out other students in class out of class times to go over concepts and situations. Anyways, just make sure they will write you a *good* letter, it never hurts to very nicely ask them if they can write you a letter that will show you in a very favorable light. Believe me, I do ask this question for some professors may think that just writing two sentences will suffice, so do not be shy (not that you would). Good luck!October 16, 2002 at 5:26 pm #46277spacecadetParticipant
Well, I guess I have a bit of a different opinion. If you are submitting 3 LOR’s, I wouldn’t have more than one from a JC teacher. The adcoms expect all the letters to be glowing, and then it comes down to who wrote the letter – and how well the committee thinks that person knows whether you can handle med school.
If you can possibly get letters from profs at the university, I’d do that. Approach them and ask if they would be willing to write your letter, and if they think they could write a strong letter. If they say no, or act reluctant, then you might want to ask someone else. However, remember these profs are used to people asking them for LOR’s (from students like you) both for med school and grad school. They may sit down with you and talk about your plans, your activities, etc – or they may ask for a resume or for you to write the first draft of the letter.
I’d shoot for one letter from a JC prof who really loves you, two from university faculty, and then maybe throw in an extra from a volunteer activity or employment. If your university has a premed committee, you will really want to use it. If you don’t use it, you’ll need to have a really good reason why.
PamOctober 19, 2002 at 10:51 am #46278
Thanks everyone for your input on this matter.
I completely understand what you’re saying, but here’s what I do know about my JC professors.
1) They know me very well by now. I’ve had the professors for more than one course so they not only know my abilities academically, they know me on a more personal level. Hence, more to write about in a glowing letter.
2) They are of respectable status. They all carry PhD’s in their fields from prestigious universtities. And have done impressive research. The only factor is that they teach at the Junior College level.
3) I don’t know how a letter from a UC professor would be able to compare in the aspect of actually knowing me. I feel as if LOR’s should be from professors who can actually speak of what they know of the student rather than judged based off of where they teach.
I know what you’re saying. I’m just somewhat at a loss of what to do :boggled: . As I mentioned in my earlier post, I visited a professor a couple of times and I try to imagine myself asking her, but I find it REALLY difficult to do so, even when the quarter is finished (we’re nearly half way done). Would the adcoms really look down on JC professor’s LOR’s? I plan on getting a LOR from the director of the research progam that I’m doing (at UCLA). She’s an associate professor of psychiatry over at UCLA’s school of medicine. Does that count as an academic letter or one outside of academics?
Sorry for all of the questions. I understand, it is nearing your due date (or passed). How are you doing?
Brenda May and efex,
Thanks for your input 🙂 . I guess there’s always 2 sides to the story.
Anybody else have an opinion?
AnnieOctober 19, 2002 at 6:30 pm #46279efex101Participant
Annie another thing you could do to settle this in your mind, is call a couple of the medical schools that you are interested in and ask them. Good luck and keep us posted!October 19, 2002 at 8:50 pm #46280glennvallyParticipant
I agree that calling a couple of med schools is probably a good idea. If you do that, please post and let us know what they had to say.
I am in exactly the same boat as you. My JC profs know me sooooo much better than the University profs will. I have had two of them write me LORs for scholarships…Both are PhDs from prestigious schools, and both are FAR better than any instructors I have found at the University! I too, was surprised at the content and tone of the letters, I wanted to give myself a big pat on the back for making such an impression on my teachers. They both cited my willingness to help other students and my “outstanding” capabilities in the Laboratory. It was sure nice to hear, but it didn’t get me any $$$ :confused: Oh well…Maybe next year~ ValOctober 21, 2002 at 6:36 pm #46281spacecadetParticipant
I was just offering my opinion, and of course if you feel you will be better off with the JC profs recommendations, then you need to go with your gut.
You can try calling the schools about it, but I doubt you’ll get much information. The people who usually answer the phones will tell you the “rules”, but that’s not what you need to know. Actually, this might be a good time for you to try to set up a meeting with the dean of admissions or one of the asst deans to talk about your application. They won’t help you once you are in the app process, but they can help before you apply.
PamOctober 22, 2002 at 9:09 am #46282
Thanks for the replies everyone! I think I’ll go ahead and try calling the medschools I plan on applying to… 🙂
Did you get my PM? I hope you’re doing well, and thanks for the advice 🙂 .
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