How can I get 4 Letters of Recommendation for my Residency Application?
One very common question from foreign medical graduates: "I have only done one month of internship in a hospital in the US, how would I get a total of 4 letters of recommendation to apply for residency?"
This is a very tricky subject and thus you have to plan ahead of time. You don't want to be looking like this guy in the picture!
I have a couple of suggestions below for this issue
1) The most difficult and troublesome of all options: Try to find another month of clerkship. Your problem is solved!
2) Try to work with 2 physicians in one month rather than one: for example if you are in cardiology rotation, try to meet the general cardiologist and the interventional cardiologist and work with both of them. Ask about their schedules and try to meet with them. That would get you 2 letters in one month of clerkship. You can also, ask your main attending, can you introduce me to echo attending? Or can I help you in clinic?
3) Your faculty at your home country would be the best bet to give you a letter. Specially a message from your chair would do the trick
4) Look for doctors that you have worked with who were American graduates or have done their residency or fellowship in the states. It is definitely stronger than any locally trained physician.
5) You might fill a missing spot with a letter from a researcher that you have worked with. It might not be of much benefit for solo-clinical residency but it would be a life saver for research-scientist pathway.
6) Try to get observerships even if you finished med school.
7) I recommend that you would just ask for extra letters from your home country regardless of how many you get from the US. Better have extra letters than less! I recommend adopting the emergency plan even if it is not emergency!
for more information about the Match, check out our Ultimate Match Guide where you can find answers to all the questions your have to become a resident