Letters of recommendation
Usually abbreviated as “LoR” and 3-4 letters are required by all the programs. They are written by specialists and attending physicians that you have worked with for a while and they have seen you work with patients. Letters of recommendation should be describing you in all aspects: medical knowledge, behavior and ethics, team work, respect and responsibility, your presentation skills and bedside manners. Some authors would even add something funny that you have said or a thing that reminds him of you.
The perfect LoR: it is the letter that would significantly raise your application and will get you interviews at great places.
Description of a perfect LoR:
Letter with heading paper (showing hospital name and logo), signed manually and very neat.
Hands-On clinical clerkship
Famous attending physician (chair of department or a doctor with great achievement and research)
Matching your future Specialty with Author specialty (as much as you can, getting a letter from a cardiologist for internal medicine is accepted as they are all in the same field). If you are looking for radiology, orthopedics and ophthalmology, make sure you get letters from these specialties.
Hospital with Great Reputation
Personal letter (mentioning things about you which are special like hobbies or interests, this shows that the attending knows you well and is more convincing to the reader)
Magic Words like “medical curiosity”, “striking enthusiasm”, “walking encyclopedia”
Mentioning the specialty you want to go for (but making the letter non-flexible and can’t be used for other specialties)
El Finale (The Ending)
Remember that this is the description of a perfect letter. Not all letters contain them but I am just describing the “Perfect Letter”
El finale (The ending) is the most important part of the letter to many of the program directors. It is usually the only part that is read by many busy directors. There are certain sentences that are stronger than others like:
• I strongly recommend Dr …
• I highly recommend Dr …
• I give Dr ….. my highest recommendation
• …… has been the best student I have ever worked with
While other sentences are weaker, like:
• I recommend Dr…
• I have no doubts that Dr… will be a great doctor.
• I hold no reservations against Dr …
• I am sure Dr … will be a great resident
Remember that all of us will be doctors but programs are looking for a special person that would become a great doctor! You better have one of these strong sentences in your letters.