View Full Version : Letters of Recommendation
05-20-2001, 11:24 PM
Does the title of the person writing the letter of recommendation matter? I'm not sure which person to use for my academic reference. I have a university prof who I believe likes me and would write a positive letter. This may sound silly, but I also have a high school teacher who LOVES me and would write a wildly positive letter. Who should I use?
This is what the people from Kaplan once told me: You need someone more current to write your reference letters because they know you the best as you are right now. If you get a high school teacher to write it for you, it'll seem like you didn't take the effort to get to know any of your university profs.
05-21-2001, 07:59 AM
I disagree. You need three reference letters. Who are you asking for the other two? Maybe you could ask the prof and substitute the high school teacher for the other two? If not, if you still have a good relationship with your high school teacher - I would go for a letter from him/her anyway. Kaplan people don't know everything. Personally if I read a letter that was warm, and bursting with enthusiasm, I would give it more credibility than a standard and formal "This person is capable, bright . . ." Then again I'm not on the admission's committee. It's your choice so consider all the opinions and go with your gut. Good luck!
05-29-2001, 12:00 AM
Thanks for all your advice guys! :)
05-30-2001, 12:30 AM
I've got the same reply as gucio. However, the first thing you should do is verify with that med school that such a reference letter will be appropriate, and fit within their criteria. The last thing you want is to jump all the other hoops of the med school application process, and then get nailed on a silly technicality.
Once that's settled, my personal thought is to pick a referee who can really write well, and likes you enough to write a very solid letter. A situation where I might break the above rule would come if a very powerful/influential person offered to write my letter, and again, I was sure that they would write a strong letter.
Powerful people are a double-edged sword because often-times, you don't really know them that well (ie. I didn't know the heads of my undergrad departments because they had better things to do with their time than talk with lowly students) and a not-so positive letter could hurt you. With someone you are familiar with, such as an old high school teacher, getting a poor letter is unlikely.
UBC, Med 3
06-04-2001, 02:09 PM
Someone on SDN suggested that I use my high school teacher as a personal reference since I've known him for so long. What do you guys think of this? Is it inappropriate in any way?
06-04-2001, 09:06 PM
Hmm. I'll give you the same reply.
First check to make sure that the med schools will let you use your high school teacher. Some schools (eg. UBC) will state outright who will, and will not be suitable as a referee.
Second, if your high school teacher will write you an excellent letter, and he/she has good writing skills, then they are a good bet.
You will probably want to write up a curriculum vitae for your teacher of all your accomplishments/education/travel/employment etc, as your teacher probably isn't familiar with all of it. This will allow him/her to write a more detailed, specific, and powerful letter by including personal details and experiences. You could even ask him/her to interview/chat with you for a while to brainstorm other good ideas to include in the letter.
UBC, Med 3
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