So, I’ve volunteered in hospitals and as a medic abroad in Nepal, but I still don’t have any letters of rec. from an MD. I was told by a colleague that I needed a letter from someone who has an NIH grant, is into academic medicine or otherwise has a ‘name’ in medicine. Supposedly, a reference from a private doctor is not good enough. I don’t have any of these contacts -no one to get my appl. to the top of the pile. does anyone have any suggestions?
Where are you applying? I had no such thing in my package at all. It’s nice, but a GOOD letter from a private doctor who knows you well and can say informatively nice things about you will do a great deal for you.
I didn’t have any MD letters for my application. I one personal letter and the rest were all academic letters from my post-bac professors.
Med schools tend to place more importance on letters from professors who have taught you and know you well than letters from other sources. They want to know that you won’t be an academic risk and that you can/will do the work. This is why most med schools require three letters from professors who have taught you. Letters from supervisors, MDs with whom you have worked, etc., if you have these, are in addition to the professorial letters.
Are you applying for the MD/PHD program? If so, your friend might have a point but if not I think they are over exaggerating. Good recommendations from professors should suffice and look better than the form letter a notable physician will give you. It certainly would be a nice bonus but by no means is neccasary.