LOR requests

I searched for LOR and didn’t come up with anything, so…

I’ve asked a few professors to write me letters and they’ve all agreed, but requested I give them an info packet. Other than my personal statement and a resume, is there anything else I should include?

Should I mention ideal dates for it to be written by? Or is that rude?




I wrote a letter/email to them thanking them for writing a LOR. In that letter I highlighted a few things that stood out for me about the course the professor taught and asked that if possbile they have the letter complete by xx date (which was generally a few weeks before I actually wanted it). I also gave them a draft of my personal statement, my CV, a brief outline of the things med schools would be looking for in a letter and instructions on how to submit to interfolio (that way they only have to write one letter and you can send it to multiple schools).

I got info on what med schools look for in a letter from med school websites and from www.accepted.com.

This seemed to work for me and I had no complaints. Virually all of my letters were in before the date I had suggested as my due date.

Hope that helps.


Thanks so much Lynda! That link was pretty helpful. Getting ready to get these out

Woo! Packets delivered to the 3 professors that seemed happy to do it.

Now just have to send them an email reminder the day I graduate and a week before I really need them, right?

Such a relief to be that much closer!

Exactly right! And don’t forget a thank you card afterwards! Buy a pack now so you are ready to send them out immediately.


I really need to get a packet like this together. So did you hand deliver the packets, or was it something you could email? I ask, because a math teacher I had is working out of the country for the next year. I guess it’s going to be difficult for him to get hard copy sent out anyway, so I might have to skip him. It’s unfortunate, since he’s one of only two professors I had more than one class with.

If you belong to a letter service like Interfolio, he can send the letter to them electronically, although they do want it on letterhead if possible.

I don’t know about others, but I mailed out a letter thanking them for agreeing to write an LOR (had worked that out thru phone or personal contact earlier), a “annotated” CV, with a little more detail on some volunteer activities so they would know what I’d been involved in, a copy of my transcript for the professors writing me academic letters, and an addressed, stamped envelope for their letter to Interfolio, as well as a brief description of the information requested by the schools or the AMCAS or AACOMAS application.

Then I was really subtle and sent a thank you card for them agreeing to write the letter that I need by ______ date, if they did not get it off when asked, hoping that this would jog their memory. That worked well for me.


Kate - I’m trying to find thank you cards that match the portfolio I delivered the packet in, hahah.

Jimi - I hand-delivered, because I bought some very pretty portfolio folders (on sale! woo!) at officemax, printed out a copy of my PS rough draft, CV, a 4-page Q&A one professor requires (but gave to all), the info to get their letter to my “folder” at pre-med office and a cover letter thanking them for writing the letter. Two I asked ahead of time (professors for classes I’m currently in) and one I asked and then immediately handed the packet to.

However, I could’ve emailed all of it. Having a tangible item on their desk does make it more likely they’ll remember to do the writing (I hope).

Pixie-- Love the way you handled this… I’m sure you will get some stellar LORs!

Question-- the 4 page Q&A that your professor required…is that something you could share? (The questions, not your answers… )? The more equipped you help your letter writers be, the better your letter will be. (Because they have more to work with!) I’d love to have something like that to give all my people…

Hi all,

I have a quick question about this topic: Is it better to ask for a letter or recommendation from a college professor while you’re taking the class or soon afterward or closer to the time you will be applying to med school? For example, my organic chemistry professor said he would be happy to write me a letter of recommendation, however, I’m not planning on applying to med school until 2013 or 2014. So would it better to get him to write it now or closer to the date of application?


Thanks Carrie!

I don’t see a reason I can’t share it, since the professor has it prominently linked on his website…

But rather than being the one who suddenly racks up his webstats I’ll PM you the text.

NPDOC - I wish I’d gotten letters from professors who would have been happy to write them during my first two years - I failed to keep in contact with them and felt they couldn’t write strong letters, so I didn’t even ask. I’d say go ahead and get them, nothing wrong with being ready!

Could I get a copy of that as well, Pixie? Or maybe just cut/paste it into a message here. That way anyone interested can see it without screwing with his hit count.

If possible, I’d like to see that as well. Anything I can do to make this straight forward for the professors. These academic letters are the tough ones for me.

I’m going to email the professor and get his okay, and then I’ll post it for everyone if he doesn’t mind.

Got his approval. Here’s the form:

Remember, everyone applying to medical/dental etc school will be saying that they wanted to be a doctor/dentist etc since they were a child, just about all will do well in my class, all will be volunteering at a hospital/dental office etc. If this is all I know about you then this is all I will be able to write and your letter will be “generic”. If you want a good letter, you need to help me!


Email address:

Phone Number:

Major and expected graduation date:

  1. What school are you trying to get into, medical, dental, pharmacy etc?

  2. Why do you want to be a doctor/dentist/pharmacist /vet etc., SPECIFICALLY, I need to understand your MOTIVATIONS?

  3. What do you think that you will do with your degree? (e.g. specialize, family practice etc?) (you may not yet have an answer to this one, that is OK)

  4. What is your GPA, and what grades did you/do you think you will get in my class(es)?

  5. What do you think that your application needs to “look like” for you to be accepted into the medical/dental/pharmacy/v et school of your choice?

  6. BRIEFLY list your volunteer work.

  7. Apart from volunteer work, what else have you done to convince the schools you are applying to that you are dedicated to your career of choice?

  8. What makes your application “different”, what do you think that I need to write about you that will be most helpful? THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION ON THIS FORM. Remember, all of your competitors are highly motivated, and everybody is doing lots of volunteer work, this isn’t “different”. What I don’t want here is a repeat of your motivations, volunteer work, good grades etc, I need to know what makes you “exceptional”. You will also need to BE SPECIFIC. If you say that you are trustworthy or dedicated, then you will need to provide supporting EXAMPLES. If you say that you are organized, then PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE, you get the point. If you can’t think of anything to write here, you’re your application will look like everybody elses, which is clearly not a good thing.

  9. Have you taken the MCAT, DAT, PCAT etc.? If so, what was your score, if not, what are your practice scores and when will you take it. Did you/do you plan to take a prep course?

  10. Which schools will you apply to, and why? Do you know the average scores on the MCAT/DAT/PCAT etc. and average GPA for the incoming classes for these schools?

  11. If you are a dental or medical school applicant, will you apply to the new local schools, and why/why not?

  12. What life experiences do you have that make you stand out from the crowd (that are not included in #8 above)?

  13. Are there any ways in which your student “career” has been unusual (that are not included in #8 above)?

  14. Were you born in the Valley, have you lived here all of your life, have you traveled extensively?

  15. Do you work extensively outside school to support yourself, do you support a family, does your family support you?

  16. Who else will write letters for you?

Has anyone requested a LOR from someone you shadowed or, do you not think that they get to know you well enough?

I’m actually going to shadow that person again, all next week, and ask them on the last day before I go.

I’m cutting it close, but that’s life

I got a LOR from a doctor I shadowed. Made sure to send that one to his alma mater when I applied there

It’s important to ask good questions and be engaged during the day. I didn’t shadow him that long but he said he felt he had a good “sense” of me.


  • PixieSanders Said:
I'm actually going to shadow that person again, all next week, and ask them on the last day before I go.

I'm cutting it close, but that's life

On my first day back in her office she asked if she'd written me a letter yet! Best. Week. EVER.

Update on LORS - I'm dropping off my thank you notes/gentle reminders this Friday. I assume it's safe to leave them in their department mailboxes with admin staff?

Yes, but if they have admin staff, ie, a secretary, often a brief conversation with said person along with dropping off the note will cause the secretary to insure that it gets done by your timetable