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Do most preceptors say yes when you ask for a reference letter?


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Some do.  I asked for a reference letter from a supervisor who clearly did not like me, and who I am actually pretty sure blackballed me either verbally or in the letter - and he said yes.  I only used it for that school and it was the only interview I didn't get.  Shouldn't have bothered though I suspect that even if I hadn't used his letter he would have said something to the selection committee.

So, sometimes?

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13 minutes ago, ellorie said:

Some do.  I asked for a reference letter from a supervisor who clearly did not like me, and who I am actually pretty sure blackballed me either verbally or in the letter - and he said yes.  I only used it for that school and it was the only interview I didn't get.  Shouldn't have bothered though I suspect that even if I hadn't used his letter he would have said something to the selection committee.

So, sometimes?

OK- even if you say a strong reference letter? I don't think that  the preceptor disliked me or anything- Its just that he did not say it would be really nice to write you one or pleasure to write you one.. he just you are strong clerk overall and here is one thing that I encourage you to do more in the rest of your clerkship

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I would not freak out about the pause if he or she said directly you were strong. The preceptor was probably thinking about lunch, or email, or distracted by something else on the to do list...even if they have time to write as many letters as he/she has already agreed to write

If there hadn't been such a discussion then i'd hesitate using the letter.

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As a general rule - if I'm not going to write a good letter, I will say "no" to writing a letter for someone.

It never hurts to ask. Just because you asked for a reference letter, you don't necessarily have to submit it for CaRMS. You have to be the judge of how good you think the letter will be. Ask yourself, is this preceptor going to support my application? How enthusiastic are they to write it.

It's a game and preceptors know it too, many will say yes but won't necessarily put too much effort into writing a good one. 

 

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On 10/29/2020 at 8:23 PM, ellorie said:

Some do.  I asked for a reference letter from a supervisor who clearly did not like me, and who I am actually pretty sure blackballed me either verbally or in the letter - and he said yes.  I only used it for that school and it was the only interview I didn't get.  Shouldn't have bothered though I suspect that even if I hadn't used his letter he would have said something to the selection committee.

So, sometimes?

Shocking that a doctor would take the time out of their day to write a negative letter... Would've been better for all parties to just refuse to write one

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11 minutes ago, MDinCanada said:

Shocking that a doctor would take the time out of their day to write a negative letter... Would've been better for all parties to just refuse to write one

I mean I have no way of knowing what actually went down, in the end.  But it certainly was a mess of an elective.

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5 hours ago, MDinCanada said:

Shocking that a doctor would take the time out of their day to write a negative letter... Would've been better for all parties to just refuse to write one

Does happen - I have seen it several times actually. Some people are just as passionate about getting the people they think are a good fit into their profession as they are about trying to keep the people they think are a bad fit out. That is of course very subjective but that is exactly what LORs are. 

and sometimes I suppose that isn't better for all parties - I mean if the staff really did think the med student was a disaster (and some of the ones I read definitely come across that way) it may be better for the profession if they never became that type of doctor. 

Makes part of this a bit of a minefield of course.  

Edited by rmorelan
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5 hours ago, MDinCanada said:

Shocking that a doctor would take the time out of their day to write a negative letter... Would've been better for all parties to just refuse to write one

I've seen it done, was not pretty - luckily the individual still matched to their desired competitive speciality...just a long distance from home.

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10 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

I've seen it done, was not pretty - luckily the individual still matched to their desired competitive speciality...just a long distance from home.

 

14 hours ago, rmorelan said:

Does happen - I have seen it several times actually. Some people are just as passionate about getting the people they think are a good fit into their profession as they are about trying to keep the people they think are a bad fit out. That is of course very subjective but that is exactly what LORs are. 

and sometimes I suppose that isn't better for all parties - I mean if the staff really did think the med student was a disaster (and some of the ones I read definitely come across that way) it may be better for the profession if they never became that type of doctor. 

Makes part of this a bit of a minefield of course.  

Would a preceptor do that even if u ask for a strong reference letter...

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10 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

I've seen it done, was not pretty - luckily the individual still matched to their desired competitive speciality...just a long distance from home.

This reinforces the importance of getting more letters than needed and diversifying which ones you choose to send to each school. This way if there is one bad one in the mix, you still have a couple schools that might not have received it. Unless you are 100% confident that a letter is amazing, I think it is wise to mix and match from a pool of 5-6 letters.

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Sorry I am unsure of how the LoRs work (just a first year student haha). 

Say I ask for a letter during a rotation at the end of my third year (in a four year school) do these letters remain in the cloud somewhere and we can choose whether to send them to a specific school or not? or does the program choose which letters to view? I am assuming you never get to read whats in the letter then?

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Just now, Kitara said:

Sorry I am unsure of how the LoRs work (just a first year student haha). 

Say I ask for a letter during a rotation at the end of my third year (in a four year school) do these letters remain in the cloud somewhere and we can choose whether to send them to a specific school or not? or does the program choose which letters to view? I am assuming you never get to read whats in the letter then?

Technically you can ask for a letter at any point (beginning of rotation, end of rotation, 2 years down the road). Everyone will have their own strategy on when to ask for a letter. Then when it comes time to apply for CaRMS, you input your supervisors information into the website and it will send them a link to upload the letter. Usually you will not get to see these letters and you will get a notification when it's uploaded. Then you select which letters to send to which schools and they see only which ones are attached to that application.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They say yes unless they really don't have time, and in that case they may ask you to write a draft for them. They might also tell you that you should ask someone else, especially if they don't know you very well & would not have much to say. If they answer a simple no, despite the fact that you did a lot of work... they probably didn't like you that much. Or you just didn't do anything more than what they asked you, or you didn't have any creative idea, and they don't feel comfortable writing it. And that would be worth an investigation, since in that case you really need to know why, because you don't want it to happen again. If I were you, I wouldn't ask for a letter unless I am 100% sure that the person really appreciate me. You can also offer to make a bulletpoint list of a few great things you did as a reminder, it makes the task so much easier for them & it helps making the letter stronger. Good luck!

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