How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for Medical School

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for Medical School

medschoolcoach

Posted in: Pre-Med: Applying

We wanted to find out from a former admissions committee member about letters of recommendation. This is certainly an area of trepidation for may premed students! Who to ask, when to ask, how to ask are all questions that come up all the time!

We wanted you to keep a few things in mind when you are looking for letters of recommendation for medical school.

It s important to ask early, and by that I mean at least two months ahead of time. Make sure to word the question to ensure that it’s a good letter and not just any letter. Very frequently students will ask a professor for a recommendation and then later on realize you’re not sure whether it is going to be a strong one or not. One way to get around that is to ask a professor to write a strong letter upfront so you can see whether they’re willing to vouch for you to that extent. I think it’s important to have your materials ready to go such as your resume and also to have a good sense of why you are interested in medicine, and things that you want to be in the letter. If you’re not prepared, it will be hard for you to come up with. Depending on the relationship with the professor, there is an appropriate way in which to ask somebody to address something that is maybe of concern on your application, for example, a semester of bad grades for which there was a particular reason such as a loss in the family. You could ask them to mention that in the letter; it is appropriate depending on how well you know the letter writer.

Overall, for medical school you will need at least the following:

  • 2 science professor letters of recommendation (LOR)
  • 1 non-science professor letter of recommendation

In addition to these three letters, I recommend have an additional 2-3 letters that include the following:

  • LOR from a community leader or somewhere you volunteered
  • LOR from a physician you have shadowed or worked with
  • LOR from a research principal investigator

For athletes, a letter of rec from a coach for your medical school application can go a long way as well! For those of you who are looking for osteopathic schools, you should certainly have an osteopathic physician (DO) write you a letter of recommendation for medical school!

 

Recent Blog Posts

View All Posts
4 Things to Know Before Applying to Medical School

4 Things to Know Before Applying to Medical School

Any individual who wishes to become a doctor is likely sick of hearing about how difficult medical school is and[...]

calendar-icon January 10, 2017
Medical Schools that Accept International Students

Medical Schools that Accept International Students

The medical school admissions process is competitive enough as it is! But as an international applicant, it's even harder. There's[...]

calendar-icon March 27, 2018
Parents Doctors and Applying to Medical School

Applying to Medical School If Your Parents Are Doctors

The following is a guest post by Dr. Caroline Cusak, MD. She grew up in a family of physicians and[...]

calendar-icon December 31, 2016

Guidebooks

View all guidebooks
The Pre-Med Journey

The Pre-Med Journey: What it Takes to Get into Medical School

Thinking about applying to medical school? Discover what high school students need to know about obtaining a career in medicine.

Download
Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Get ready for the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 with this free guide to study planning and resource utilization.

Download
100 MCAT Study Tips

100 MCAT Study Tips

Taking the MCAT? These 100 tips and tricks will help you ace the MCAT.

Download