CV for LORs

I am starting the pre-health committee process through my school, and the first line of business is procuring LORs. I understand that it is advisable to provide a CV and possibly a rough draft of my personal statement to the profs/persons I would like to ask. I’ve been digging through some websites to find guidance about how to create a CV, since I haven’t had to do this before (just a resume’). If anyone can suggest a good source, it would be much appreciated! I’m also trying to figure out if there is a way to include international travel on the CV. I have been an avid traveler ever since high school, but these have not been trips for work, school, or volunteering - simply out of a desire to see the world and soak in as much of it as possible. Does this sort of experience have a place on the CV? The only info I’ve found online about this says not to include it unless it’s directly related to the job your applying for - obviously these are sites devoted to CV’s for the purpose of job application. I’m not entirely sure the advice applies since my goal is to let my recommenders know who I am and what I’ve done, right? Any advice?

I will be in your position next year. What I plan to do is check out some books from the library (our inter-library loan system is really good) about this very subject: CV’s/resumes for pre-med (or pre-professional) students. I looked it up on, and there are a number of books. I can’t vouch for any of them, which is why I would check them out from the library rather than buying them (or thumb through them at the bookstore first, THEN buy them).

Regarding the international travel issue, I can’t say for certain. My gut feeling is that it doesn’t really belong in your CV, but rather would be something you might talk about in an interview. But I could definitely be wrong, so I hope someone with more knowledge on this topic weighs in!

Best of luck with the CV-writing. Keep us posted on how it goes!

I’ve decided that I will simply use a resume’ rather than a CV. I don’t have an academic background other than my current undergrad, and I don’t have any publications, teaching, or other things that seem to go on a CV, so I thought a resume’ would be more appropriate in my case - I have a lengthy work history, all in healthcare. As for the foreign travel, I’m just going to add “International Travel” under “Extracurriculars.” But I have a new question: Do I really need to include my personal statement? Working with the school’s committee, we have a February deadline for requesting our LORs. I’ve been working on my personal statement, but I definitely need more time to work with it. Would it be acceptable to write a type of cover letter to each person I’m asking to write an LOR, explaining a bit about my background and life experiences and motivation for medicine? We are currently on winter break and the only way I can contact my profs is through email. My plan is to email each one and include a cover letter, transcript, and resume as an attachment. I thought if they had all the pertinent info about me, something in my attachments might sway them toward a “yes.” I don’t like the idea of asking them to agree to write one before they have all my info. Any thoughts/advice?

Wow. I think you’re really approaching overkill here. I think you’re sending your potential recommenders way too much stuff before they’ve even said yes. If I were you, I’d just approach (e.g. sending a short email) your potential recommenders and ask them if they would feel comfortable writing on your behalf a good letter of recommendation for medical school. Emphasize “good.” After they’ve agreed, then you in concert with your recommenders can decide on what they need from you to write the recommendation.

While I understand the need to offer up your whole life story to those committee members who have no idea who you are. You shouldn’t have to do the same with past instructors: You should already have some type of rapport with them and some positive past experiences with them for them to write good recommendations for you. If you have to apply for a recommendation letter from a past instructor as if you were applying for a job, then you probably shouldn’t be approaching that instructor for a recommendation: The instructor either doesn’t know you well enough to write a good recommendation or, as sinister as it may sounds, the instructor is prying beyond the bounds of propriety.

A simple resume should be fine. A CV is a much more detailed document, usually for the professional researcher/academic who has numerous publications/patents/etc.



For my LOR’s, the doctor who wrote my LOR asked for my resume and a bit more detail about what I’ve done on a volunteer basis. I had worked with him for a couple of years. One professor was the head of our post-bacc program, therefore had access to my original application to the program and all my grades, and had taught me in one course, and he asked for a resume/CV, as he wanted to talk a lot about me as a whole person. The other had taught our 30-odd post-bacc class chemistry I and II over the summer in 9 weeks so had MANY hours in class with us, and office hours, and study sessions, and had kept “notes” on us during the year…including if we were helping other students and similar things indicating our personality and character as well as our academics, and wrote his letter strictly from his interactions with me in class. Figured each would give a good, if somewhat different picture.

So what they have to say about you may vary and what they want from you may vary. I would NOT give them my personal statement generally, because the medical school admissions committee will be reading it and you don’t want your LOR to just echo your personal statement as if you wrote the LOR. A brief restatement of what is important to you about pursuing medicine would, however, probably be helpful to your letter writers.

Finally, someone else clued me in to this beforehand - request the LOR, and if you are using a letter service to which they can send the LOR, mail them an addressed and stamped envelope to do so (this will make it as easy as possible for them). Then if they haven’t sent it out in a week or two, you can contact them and thank them again for agreeing to do this for you, and gently remind them of the date you need it by. Finally, DEFINATELY send a thank you note (not email) to each person who writes you a LOR. It would also not be amiss to send them another note when you are accepted to medical school telling them how it all turned out and thanking them again (although not required, this is extra nice).


Thank you so much for your reply, Kate! I hadn’t considered the caveat you presented about the personal statement. I will stop stressing about getting that done right now and just focus on requesting to meet with my profs to discuss the possibility of them writing for me. The timing is a bit weird being on the school’s cohort for 2012 - we didn’t get permission to begin requesting letters until the week of finals, and the deadline to request is 2 weeks after the spring semester starts. This means trying to track down profs during the winter break. I hope it’s ok to contact them initially through email to set up an appointment?

I’d think that would be not only ok, but the expected way to set up a meeting.


Glad my reply was helpful