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bananabread1212

No one to ask for references :(

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I was in your situation in early life-sciences.  If youre in first year/the start of second this is fairly common.  Its something though that you may have to be aware of and plan for.

The 2 main options are: research, and small classes.  Research is a big commitment if you haven't started.  For small classes, it helps to be REALLY strategic.  I took a class with 10 students, that lasted the whole year meeting twice a week.  If you go this route, you have to put on your "ideal student" cap and go to every class, ask questions, study the material hard.  It actually helps if its a non-life sci class if you can find one like that (you would likely stand out more in a class where there aren't 50%+ of people trying to do med school). 

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45 minutes ago, IMislove said:

Do you have a prof you have worked with, research? Did you have smaller classes where you got involved, did well, and went for assistance? If you’re firstvyear you got lots of time.

ya i am actually doing research right now. but we need 3 references, and one of them have to be from an academic reference, so im assuming it has to come from a prof who can comment on your grades and not so much on your leadership

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27 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

I was in your situation in early life-sciences.  If youre in first year/the start of second this is fairly common.  Its something though that you may have to be aware of and plan for.

The 2 main options are: research, and small classes.  Research is a big commitment if you haven't started.  For small classes, it helps to be REALLY strategic.  I took a class with 10 students, that lasted the whole year meeting twice a week.  If you go this route, you have to put on your "ideal student" cap and go to every class, ask questions, study the material hard.  It actually helps if its a non-life sci class if you can find one like that (you would likely stand out more in a class where there aren't 50%+ of people trying to do med school). 

im currently in my second year lol. but like literally all my classes are huge, i cant even find a small class. do u think references from a TA (i have tutorials that are small) would be strong? 

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34 minutes ago, bananabread1212 said:

ya i am actually doing research right now. but we need 3 references, and one of them have to be from an academic reference, so im assuming it has to come from a prof who can comment on your grades and not so much on your leadership

See if any of members at your labs are professors teaching undergraduate courses. If they are try and take that class so they can then be an appropriate academic reference. Another option is try and take a thesis/independent study course with them in 4th year then they can be an academic reference as well. 

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Just now, goleafsgochris said:

I thought when they ask for an academic reference they are including research in that

I know for UBC they specifically ask for someone who has graded your work (for the academic reference), so you can use research for an academic reference if you've taken a lab course or done a thesis course with them. For Ontario I don't think you need any specific type of references? But they recommend at least 1 community member. I can't speak for other provinces. 

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I have long believed that academic departments should be able to provide generic reference letters to students who request them, provided they meet some kind of established criteria (e.g., 90%+ in a course). This letter would be signed under the current department head. It would likely not be a strong reference, however, should be sufficient to help complete the requirements of an application, if the student isn't able to obtain something more specific from a particular professor. A small standard fee could be charged for the creation of such a letter should the department be so inclined. Because I'm years removed from any professional school application process, I have no idea whether this is currently done, and if not, if they would even entertain such an idea, but it seems reasonable to me.

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1 hour ago, Intrepid86 said:

I have long believed that academic departments should be able to provide generic reference letters to students who request them, provided they meet some kind of established criteria (e.g., 90%+ in a course). This letter would be signed under the current department head. It would likely not be a strong reference, however, should be sufficient to help complete the requirements of an application, if the student isn't able to obtain something more specific from a particular professor. A small standard fee could be charged for the creation of such a letter should the department be so inclined. Because I'm years removed from any professional school application process, I have no idea whether this is currently done, and if not, if they would even entertain such an idea, but it seems reasonable to me.

It seems weird that anyone would ask for a reference just describing how well you did in a course.  Isnt that what your grade is for?

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1 hour ago, Intrepid86 said:

I have long believed that academic departments should be able to provide generic reference letters to students who request them, provided they meet some kind of established criteria (e.g., 90%+ in a course). This letter would be signed under the current department head. It would likely not be a strong reference, however, should be sufficient to help complete the requirements of an application, if the student isn't able to obtain something more specific from a particular professor. A small standard fee could be charged for the creation of such a letter should the department be so inclined. Because I'm years removed from any professional school application process, I have no idea whether this is currently done, and if not, if they would even entertain such an idea, but it seems reasonable to me.

Yup, I think the letter would be too generic. Other than good work ethic and a flare for the subject, what else could they possibly say?

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I never got a reference from any academic professors - but good options would be a thesis supervisor or co-op placement supervisor.

I got my academic references from my PIs who can attest to my abilities much better than a professor who teaches a full class. 

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