5 Unconventional Tips on Getting the Right Letter of Recommendation

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5 Unconventional Tips on Getting the Right Letter of Recommendation

Requesting a letter of recommendation for residency can be an intimidating process. It may feel as if your entire future rests on the lines of those pages, so you want to be sure that they are completed to include only your best attributes. Evaluate who has assisted you along your journey, be it a professor or colleague that you have bonded with during your classes or rotations. Choose at least three people, although more are advised, who think highly of your abilities and who would gra-ciously write a letter on your behalf. The majority of your classmates will address their favorite professor or attending directly, and although this ultimately gets the job done, the residency admissions office may look for more creative ways to accomplish the task.

1 – Shadow A Specialist

A good person to approach for a letter of recommendation is a medical specialist. Look for a program where you are able to shadow a professional in your field of study over the summer. If such programs are available through the local hospital, this can be an excellent way to see first-hand what working in the field entails, while securing a professionally written letter of recommendation.

2 – Contact A Resident

Contact a graduate student who has accomplished what you are working toward. Talk to them about how they got where they are now and feel free to ask for advice. They will be able to tell you first-hand the steps they took to get ahead and will most likely be glad to assist you through the lengthy process. They can also be a valuable resource when it comes to writing a letter of recommendation. Remember they are M.D.s too.

3 – Get In The Field

If you participated in a real life work environment, such as an ambulance or fire rescue squad, approaching the chief or patrol leader can be quite beneficial. They may be willing to write a recommendation about your skill, and work ethic, in addition to how you handle yourself under stress.

4 – Perform Medical Research

If during medical school, you did research for one of your professors, call him or her and schedule a time when the two of you can sit down and talk. Explain what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking for in a recommendation letter. If they saw potential in your work habits and your ability to persevere, this should be a simple way to attain a high-quality, personal letter.

5 – Contact The Professor of A Class That You Struggled In

This letter may prove superior to a class that you aced. The professor observed you struggling, and although you had trouble, ending up on top shows your willingness to work hard and improve. That professor will include your ability to work to your full potential to improve, and if you stayed after class on some occasions because you wanted help or additional instruction, this can provide clarity into your drive and motivation.


Unlike the other parts of your recommendation, the beauty of the letter of recommendation is that someone else does all the work. All you have to do is to present yourself in a positive light. The way you carry yourself, your motivation, and your commitment to schooling all aid in producing quality letters that serve to encompass your best attributes, written by instructors and mentors who know you not only in the classroom, but also understand your dedication to the craft in the practical world of medicine.


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