LOR and which Doc to use.

I’ve started shadowing this summer and have to decide which doctor to use for my LOR. The one Dr is a highschool and college friend. Recently I talk with him about the classes I’ve been taking and that I am going to take the MCAT in April. He was astonished at my grades and commitment. He was genuinely excited and thought it was wonderful I wanted to go to med school. I was in the office with him for 2 days and in surgery 1 day. He is an ENT surgeon. He stopped every few minutes and talked with me about the procedure. I felt very comfortable to ask questions and even lean over the patient at times for a better look. I know he would give me a great LOR.

My next shadowing experience is with our family practice physician. He has known my family as well as my special needs child for 12 years. My daughter has a rare syndrome and required alot of attention from him when she was younger. She had many surgeies, and feeding issues. He understands why I am pursuing a career in medicine and even thought the PA route was a good fit for me. As my grades continued to be good(3.95 48 hrs new), I decided on full blown med school and not PA. I let him know my decision and he seemed concerned. He considered my age(41), family, and the finances required for med school and I could tell he still wanted me not to forget about PA school. I really question now whether he is taking my quest for med school serious. I didn’t come away with a good feeling after the first day of shadowing. I felt like dead weight being pulled around the office. He has a very busy practice and a million things to do so that just might be the way it is. He is a very well respected and known physician from the local medical college here in town I would like to attend. I THINK his LOR would have a little more power than the previous Dr. However, I know I would get a great letter from the previous Dr. Am I thinking about this the wrong way? Which is better? A Dr. just as excited as you are to be applying to med school or one that holds more weight but is hard to figure out? Does one DrX vs. DrY make a difference to med schools? I know I cant limit my schools to the local one, but it would be the best senerio for me so I want to do all I can to get an interview there. Thanks for your help.

Scott, based on your excellent recent coursework, I assume that you’ve got some good LOR’s lined up from professors? To be honest, these letters will be SO MUCH more important than any letter from a community physician you’ve shadowed, regardless of how well regarded that physician is. Both the ENT doc and the FP doc have seen you for just a very short while and you did not have to “perform” in any academic way in either setting. They will be able to write nice personal testimony about you but their letters will not carry much weight with an AdCom, actually. They’re more “social” - even an outstanding letter is going to carry little weight, frankly.
So with that in mind, you definitely want the letter that you think will give you the most enthusiastic endorsement. Given that you’re not sure the FP doc agrees with your ambitions, I don’t think he’s a good candidate for an LOR. All of your LOR’s should be from folks who share your enthusiasm for YOU as a doctor. The LORs that will carry a lot of weight in your application will be the ones from professors who can talk about how well and hard you worked, how you contributed to the class, etc. etc. The initial hurdle for getting into med school is academic - can you do the work? AdComs are looking for clues that will give a positive answer to that question; academic LORs help them.

Thank you Mary. Your thoughts shed light on which LOR are the most meaningful to AdCom’s, as well as, the Physician LOR I will use.