Problem getting LORs

So, I graduated from undergrad 6 years ago (8 years by time I apply) and the one science professor I was close to has left the college. From whom do I get a science LOR? My masters is in nursing can any of those professors be used for science LORs? I work closely with a couple of docs who would be more than willing to write me an LOR, but many of the schools I have looked at require LORs from 2 science professors. Any advice?

When I applied many schools actually asked that if you had a graduate degree you have your advisor/program director write one of your letters. Have one of your friendly physicians write your second letter. See if you can be in contact with the professor who you were close with even if he no longer works at the institution (this could be your third letter). Maybe the school has contact information for him/her. I had a professor update a LOR that was written 6 years prior. But I also had an additional (4th letter) from a professor I had taken a more recent class with who I didn’t know as well but thought might be more credible in that I had a class with him in the last year. Please let us know what you do and how it works out. Good luck!

I’ve found that as a post-bacc, these are tough sometimes. You just don’t have the department history that you often do working up a degree. I have a couple of professors that might be willing to write something, but some of them I know are flakes based on things I’ve experienced in their classes.

My bachelors degree is over ten years old, and I definitely have some professors that I know remember me and thought highly of me, but they have moved on as well. I have put a little thought into trying to track down one or two. I don’t know if these would be as valid a letter. I am just going to get what I can get. I will likely depend a lot on letters from where I volunteer, and hopefully from some physician connections I can make over the summer. I know some of the nurses I work with really want me to do this, and have offered their support.

I can do what I can do.

I’m in this same situation…I had great rapport and relationships with faculty–12 years ago! I struggle with forcing a letter from a relationship that’s only one semester long… how impactful can it really be? My programs that I’d like to apply to require that at least 2 letters be from science faculty, so I’m going to have to devote some effort to a solution.

I do work in the corporate/hospital side of health care, so I’m fortunate that I have LORs from some “higher ups” in my company that really carry a lot of weight in healthcare around my area. That’s definitely a blessing… but the faculty requirement is going to kick me in the behind, I’m afraid.

I’m hoping that I’ll have the same professors for both organic 1 and 2, so that would give me a full academic year to earn credibility with someone. I just hope that “someone” is a supportive professor who cares about students!!

Best of luck with this… you’re certainly not alone!

It’s true. While I have a few professors that are willing to write a LOR, they don’t really know me, and I worry that a very generic LOR is almost worse than no LOR.

This came up at the conference last year. When we did the breakout session where we were the adcoms. It seemed like a very short/generic LOR definitely make a negative impact. Whether that was due to thinking the person who asked was a poor judge of the relationship, or just that the person that writes the LOR isn’t much of a writer, is busy, or doesn’t really care. Since you don’t get to see them, how are you really going to know if it’s having a negative impact?


I ended up with quite a range of letters because some of the schools I applied to had wierd letter requirements that I discovered once I received the secondaries (eg. letter from Physics and Chemistry profs, another wanted a Humanities prof - all mine were from Biology profs). Some profs knew me relatively well and others did not.

To try to level the playing field, I first of all asked if they would be willing to write a “stong” letter of recommendation for me. If they agreed, then I provided a package of information to them (email or hard copy depending on their prefereces).

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

Anyway, I thought that might help a bit.


It does help–thanks, Lynda.

I actually had a conversation last night with my Chemistry professor. He has a PhD in biochem and used to teach at a local medical school. He’s retired now and just teaches at my school for fun… He completely surprised me when I asked him what he thought about the whole LOR process. (I wasn’t asking him to write a letter for me… just his opinion on how much of an impact–for better or worse–a more shallow LOR would be based on my situation).

He gave me some advice on building a relationship with my organic teacher this next year, and then told me that he would be happy to write a letter for me, and said, “I can tell you this… of all the students that I’ve taught or seen come through my former med school, you would’ve been among the top of the pack, for sure. No question about it–just get out there and do it, because you will be extremely successful in med school.”

Huh. Well, that was…unexpected. So it turns out that this teacher who’s only known me for 3 months is going to write a very strong LOR, and I hadn’t even counted him as a possibility. His background of having actually taught at med school gives his opinion credibility…so it turns out that he’s a great source!

Lesson learned–don’t be afraid to have those conversations, because you may be surprised.