DO letter of recommendation problem?

I don’t know that it’s a problem per se…
I’ve met with a DO who agreed to write me a letter… it’s supposedly ready for me to pick up… but I’m pretty sure that she only wrote one…
I guess the issue is… is it ok for me to see this letter, because I’m probably going to have to make copies… and also… my premed committee is sending out all the other letters (which I haven’t seen and won’t see), but is it “ok” for me to send this one letter out? the premed committee said that they’d rather not have to send one special letter to only DO schools.
If anybody has any insight, please let me know.

Can the DO herself send it to the schools? You could bring her stamped, addressed envelopes to make it easier. I wouldn’t send it yourself, since schools really seem to like getting these things from official sources.

The only problem in this situation is that your proposed solution isn’t the right fix. You need to get multiple sealed copies of the DO’s letter - no two ways about it. Almost certainly s/he will have done the letter using Word, and so it shouldn’t be a HUGE hassle for her to produce multiple originals.
But there really isn’t any other way to go about this. Effective LORs must be confidential - you should NOT open that original. (Imagine that last phrase in all caps, shouting! It’s that important.) And copies look second-rate, so sending copies to other schools isn’t good either.
Sorry to give you an answer that means you have to do a bit of catch-up work but this is the ONLY way to do this right. There really isn’t any wiggle room on this one. Bring the office staff a plate of cookies or something when you go to drop off the stamped envelopes.

I had asked her originally to just give them to me in sealed envelopes… then I would send them out, since I wasn’t sure where all I was applying at the time… I really don’t want to make her do any more work than she absolutely has to… but I also don’t want to break protocol.
I’m still not completely sure what form these letters are coming to me in… I’m supposed to go pick them up tomorrow I guess…

Yeah, I didn’t want to see it anyway… there’d be something weird about it…
I will go ahead and print up address labels tonight and envelopes.
Do you think it’s ok for me to have them put the letters in and seal them and then me add the stamp and take them to the post office?
I would think that would be ok… but what do I know…
All of my other letters are in to the pre-med office… this is the only exception to the “rule” I guess…
Thanks again!

I went by today and picked up the letters… they had only made me 3… I asked, very meekly and promised treats if they would make me more… they did… then they put them in envelopes and sealed them… I added the stamps and put them in the mail…
I’m hoping this protocol was ok… I really wasn’t sure how else to do it… they are currently sitting in my mailbox waiting for the mailperson to pick them up… thanks for the advice all…
p.s. I did not see nor read the letters… other than that I know they put some pieces of paper with writing on them in some envelopes that I provided.

Andrea, that sounds fine. It is too late for you to go back and do things differently now, so here’s hoping that it works out well for you with the DO schools!

For those reading who are not at this point in the process yet, here are some things to keep in mind:

LORs should be originals, or at least have original signatures - not photocopies.

They should be on letterhead.

This is going to sound really anal but… the BEST way to show schools that they’re completely tamper-free is to ask your LOR writer to seal the envelope and then sign across the flap. There are actually schools that will specify this, so asking everyone to do it can’t hurt. (I know, I know, this really sounds beyond the pale, but it IS done and it doesn’t take any extra effort on the author’s part.)

ALWAYS waive your right to see LORs. Some schools (and pre-med committees) will have a form for you to give your LOR writers so that you can clearly indicate this. If not, you should clearly state it to the person you’re soliciting for a letter. A LOR that’s “vetted” by the subject of the recommendation is generally regarded as worthless.

There are, of course, a zillion more things about LORs but I am just addressing the “security” aspect here.


I hear you loud and clear… this happened to be an exception to my premed committee’s rule… I also wanted them to sign across the line… but they didn’t… I felt bad about asking for more than I already did…
I’m curious about the copies though… the premed committee gets the original… but I know that they send copies of the letters out to each individual school… so I’m not sure how it would be that big of a difference between the copies and the original… obviously I’m sure you could tell if it was a copy and not an original… but I know the premeds make copies for their packets…
My letters were all on letter heads (at least the ones from today, because the lady asked me if they had to be on letterhead (to which I said YES!
The lady stuffing my envelopes thought it was odd that I wasn’t supposed to see the letter… even offering it to me… it was hard for me to explain exactly why they do it that way… but she seemed to understand after some point.
I haven’t read any specific instructions about DO letters from osteopathic schools… unseen or signed over or whatever… I’m really sensitive to this as well… I want to make sure and follow protocol. I think a few of them do not require the DO letter… but I thought I’d send it anyway, just in case… I suppose it could hurt to have too many letters, but I’d hope that it wouldn’t…
Thanks again!
p.s. I don’t have to handle any of the other letters as they all went through the premed committee… who didn’t want to handle this one since it only went out to some of my schools (I think I said that before)…
someone else suggested to me that maybe I should’ve had the DO letter be a part of my main packet… that might’ve been a good idea… hindsight is always 20/20… oh well

>I suppose it could hurt to have too many letters, but I’d
>hope that it wouldn’t…
I know one of the DO schools I applied to specifically requested that applicants not submit more than the required number of LOR’s…so I suspect that depends on which school you’re talking about.
Good luck!
Any physics majors who can help me build a time-dilation device that will slow time down until my evaluators get their LORs in the mail, email me… Waiting on those has to be the most frustrating part, knowing that you’ve gotten everything else mailed out.

Andrea, don’t beat yourself up over this and please don’t construe my add-on comments as criticisms of what you’ve done. It sounds like you did the best you could under circumstances that were less than ideal.
You are right that if a letter is enclosed as part of a pre-med committee letter, it is going to be a copy. Actually, it may simply be quoted in the body of the committee letter - I’ve seen it done both ways but more often quoted than simply appended. This is a different scenario - in this case, the correspondence that needs to be on letterhead is “institution to institution,” meaning the committee’s letter to the Adcom.
But when you’ve got to have letters sent individually to schools, as was the case here, you did the right thing of making sure they were all originals.
In fact you may be given a copy of a LOR if that is the writer’s preference. The point is that you WAIVE your right to see it and make it clear that you do not wish to have any input into the letter. A couple of my LOR writers sent me copies of the letters they sent to my committee, without my asking for them. It was nice to get them and they were good letters but it was definitely weird to read them.
In an ideal world, where people are able to communicate honestly face-to-face, maybe getting a copy of your LOR wouldn’t be such a big deal. And of course if you get the slightest sense that someone would actually NOT write you a glowing LOR then you’d rescind the request immediately!
Boeing is right that there are at least a few schools that specifically state they only want X numbers of letters. BUt your committee letter counts as ONE (no matter how many people wrote in support of your application) and this DO letter counts as a second letter. So I don’t think you’re gonig to be over any sort of limit.

Excellent to know… I was worried about all the letters in the pre-med committee packet… I’m a bit relieved honestly…
Thanks again for all of the input…

The letters are gone, and you did the best you could under somewhat difficult circumstances. I wouldn’t worry about them being copies. As was mentioned, letters sent out in a pre-med packet or letter service are copies. Schools are used to it.
In the event (unlikely) that you are asked about it, you can refer the school to the DO herself.
Even though you presumably waived your rights to see the letter, the recommender may share the letter with you if s/he wishes. The waiver is to protect the privacy of the writer and the content of the letter. When I was writing rec letters for my undergrad advisees, I often would give them a copy of my letter even though they waived their rights. It was fine with me if they saw the letter because it was a strong one. (I didn’t write letters unless I could write strong ones, so was comfortable sharing it with the student.)

My school does a committe letter based on the letters I have sent to them from teachers and other sources. So what happens after they put together the letter ? Let’s say, I waive my right (because before I saw this post I did not waive my right, I thought to myself, of course, I want to see the letters). When they send the letters to the med schools do they write on it stating that I didn’t see it ? I personally feel uncomfortable not knowing what these people said about me, but if it is sooo important, I will go back and change everything, since only one letter has been submitted so far.

Yes, they are notified that you have waived your rights. Many of the schools in their secondaries also ask if you’ve waived your rights.
From what I’ve been told… you NEED to waive your rights…
I had the same concerns that you do… but I point blank asked the pre-med committee head if she would tell me if they wouldn’t write a positive letter of recommendation composite… she said she would… but that she would’ve already told me…
talk to the head of the committee…most likely they’ll allay your fears.
good luck!