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Reference Letter Problem


Kimura

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I'm a graduate student (masters) who will finish my degree by next year and I intend to apply to medical school. Now, this will be my first time applying to medical school and prior to starting my graduate studies, I made it clear to my supervisor that I did not know what I intend to do with my life (and this was the honest truth). My research this past year allowed me to interact with physicians and occasionally patients and now I find myself wanting to pursue a career in medicine, but herein lies the problem. My prof recently asked me if I wanted to fast-track into the PhD program and I told him I intend to apply to medicine. He didn't take my reply too kindly and insisted that I pursue a PhD degree in his lab. Ever since then our relationship has been somewhat odd in the sense that we only talk "business" now.

 

My prof is the type of man who loves research and despises students who enter graduate studies to kill a few years while waiting to reapply to medical school. To top it off, he has had a few PhD students enter his lab and literally abandoned their projects halfway in for medical school. (They went to international schools... I'm not sure how/if they got his reference letter.) I get the impression that he feels I'm doing the same thing to him. I've confronted him about this, but he's not convinced and remains stubborn.

 

What is my line of action at this point? I know some medical schools require you to have a reference letter from your supervisor if you have completed or are near completion of a graduate degree (McGill comes to mind). Would it work against me if I spent 2 years with a prof and not use him as a reference? Even if he agrees to write me a letter at this point, I do not feel it will work in my favor. Help! :eek:

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It's obviously not ideal, but when I applied I was doing a PhD (which I did end up finishing) and I didn't get my PhD supervisor to write me a letter (for different reasons than what you're dealing with, though). I still got in. There were a couple of schools I applied to that needed a letter from him saying that he was aware that I was applying, so I sent them that letter, but my actual reference letters were from other people. A lot of people on here disagree with me about this (it's been brought up a few times), but in my opinion it's better to just stick with letters that you know are going to be good rather than take risks just to have letters from the people you think you're supposed to have letters from. If you knew he was going to write you a good letter, that would be a different story.

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