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Question About Reference Letters


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Hi all!  I have two questions about reference letters for CaRMS:

1) For specialties where electives are structured in a way where you're working with a different staff almost every day (and often working closer with the residents than with the staff), what is the best way to go about getting a reference letter?

2) If someone is applying to both family medicine and a five-year specialty, do you tell your references this and have them write a general letter, not mentioning the specialties you are applying for?  Or do you have a group of reference letters specifically for family med and another group specifically for the other specialty?

Thank you in advance :) 

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1) Ask the supervisor about this at the start of the elective. If they know in advance, they could put together feedback from everyone into a letter, as presumably they would be doing this for the elective evaluation as well.

2) If the letter writer is equally supportive of you entering either specialty, it would be preferable to have two versions of their letter tailored for each field. If you have many potential letter writers, then you could choose to have your family medicine preceptor only write for family medicine, assuming you don't want to give the impression that FM is your backup. In general, you'd probably want letters from specialists in the 5-year field for those applications, or at least from core rotations such as surgery or IM, but if you had space to submit more letters, a glowing FM letter wouldn't hurt.

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To answer the second question: I had four referees for applications to 2 specialties: 2 different people that wrote a letter specific to a single specialty, one person who wrote two different letters for each specialty, and one person who wrote one general letter for both specialties.
 

it’ll depend on the writer if they are willing to write separate letters or one single general one.  
 

so...there’s many ways to approach this. 

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