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Hey everyone,

I'm a current 4th year student who will be applying to both radiology and IM and wanted people's opinion regarding reference letters.

For context, I have 1 radiology and 4 IM letters so far.  

1. I've read that specific letters are preferred over general ones, but in my case I'll be using my IM letters for both radiology and IM. Should I ask my IM referees to write a general letter or a specific letter for IM?

2. How preferable is it to submit a letter that's specific for IM to radiology? Since it's hard to get strong radiology letters on electives, I hear it's quite common that applicants use letters from other specialties.

3. Does general vs. specific letters differ significantly, if I ask my referee to comment on the same skills and qualities? 

Thank you!

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3 hours ago, BoardManGetsPaid said:

Hey everyone,

I'm a current 4th year student who will be applying to both radiology and IM and wanted people's opinion regarding reference letters.

For context, I have 1 radiology and 4 IM letters so far.  

1. I've read that specific letters are preferred over general ones, but in my case I'll be using my IM letters for both radiology and IM. Should I ask my IM referees to write a general letter or a specific letter for IM?

2. How preferable is it to submit a letter that's specific for IM to radiology? Since it's hard to get strong radiology letters on electives, I hear it's quite common that applicants use letters from other specialties.

3. Does general vs. specific letters differ significantly, if I ask my referee to comment on the same skills and qualities? 

Thank you!

You can ask your letter writers to write one specifically for each specialty you're applying to. That would add the most to your applications to each. My references actually checked in with me to see if I was applying to more than one specialty when CaRMS opened and if I wanted letters for each, so I'd say for most preceptors they're used to helping people who are parallel planning. I think it does help to a certain degree to have the reference writer state that those skills are specifically good for radiology or IM, because it adds a level of confidence to the letter. Also your referee might tailor the skills they highlight in your different specialty letters (I personally would do that for anyone requesting a reference from me).

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