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Medical School Letters of Recommendation – What you need to know

The most important thing to know about medical school letters of recommendations is to ask for them early. A lot of focus gets placed on who you should ask for letters, and rightfully so, but if your letters are not in on time it does not matter who wrote them. Your letters can be continuously added into the application system until you submit your application, after that they are locked in and cannot be changed. Most schools require three letters, but check the requirements for each school before submitting your application. You can also assign different letters to each program, which a maximum of 10 letters uploaded. After designating your letter writers in AMCAS, they are e-mailed and given instructions on how to upload your letter into AMCAS electronically. You will be able to see when letters are uploaded as they become available. Give your letter writers at least four to six weeks to write your letter, but obviously the more time you give them the happier (and therefore likely better) they will be when sitting down to write it.

Who should you ask? Most advisors would say to have the people who know you the best write your letters. It is
obvious when someone has known you for more than a week, and those letters are much more meaningful and provide more insight into your character. If you happen to know someone at a school you are applying, that is an
advantage that is hard to ignore, but the quality is still the most important part. Still, do not ignore this advantage, try to get to know these connections in a more in depth way so their letters are meaningful, this will definitely give you an inside track. A famous research name is nice to have if they know you well, but the chances that whoever is reading your letters will recognize those names is pretty remote.