I’m a sophomore hoping to apply next year (summer going into my senior year), and am hoping to ask at least one of my professors this semester for a letter of recommendation. I want to ask them at the end of the semester so that they don\’t forget about me in a year (lol), but say I ask them at the end of this semester and they say yes – when should I tell them to write them by? Will they just keep the letter until next year then send it when I apply? (Basically what are the logistics of asking a professor well before you’re actually going to apply)
Also, any advice on how to get a job at Michigan Medicine like a patient care tech? (And a list of the position titles they have that are applicable to students?) Specifically, I am hoping to get any sort of part-time (or full-time) job there (or any clinical job in Ann Arbor in general) but am wondering when I should start applying if I hope for a summer start. To make things more complicated, I’m studying abroad for 3 weeks from the end of May to mid-June. How does that factor in in terms of when I should start applying?
Both great questions! It is great that you are already thinking about these things a year in advance–your future (non-stressed) self will thank you when application time comes.
In terms of rec letters, asking now is perfectly fine, or you can wait and ask later (i.e. in the fall sometime). Professors may not remember you as well in the fall, but often they will ask for a resume and some time to chat anyway (unless they know you really well). If you do choose to ask now, you can let them know that you are not applying till the next application cycle, which they will probably assume anyway if you are asking at the end of this semester. Usually they won’t put off writing the letter, but if they do, they will probably tell you to reach back out at a later point. Professors are busy too and also enjoy summer break, so I anticipate that if you ask at the end of this semester, those professors will ask you to reach back out in the fall.
For submitting letters, yes, they will hold onto the letters until the AMCAS application opens, at which time they can send them in. They must be confidential, so they cannot send them directly to you, unless it is through a service like Interfolio (which a lot of applicants use and I believe costs money). The difference is that with Interfolio, you know that you have all your letters secured and ready to submit. The AMCAS submission takes time and does not open till May when the application itself opens, so for some, that may provoke some more anxiety. Either way, if you ask in advance and politely remind them, I don’t see any professor blatantly forgetting to get you a letter by your desired deadline. They want to see us succeed!
Next, for Michigan Medicine positions, I just went through it, and it can be a bit daunting. Assuming you have a CNA license, here is a link to browse openings: https://careers.umich.edu/. Keywords to use are “patient care tech,” “nursing assistant,” and “nurse aide.” The difference between some of the positions is pretty confusing, so I don’t have a good answer for that. I know there is a lot of availability at University Hospital but rarely anything pops up at Mott’s if you are interested in working with kids. Job postings come and go pretty quickly, so I would suggest checking that link for openings somewhat frequently as summer nears–maybe early-mid April if you hope to start after the semester ends. Adding on the study abroad, I am not sure how that would factor in. I assume if you want a part-time or full-time position, the hospital may not like that you are missing 3 weeks right off the bat, so I would maybe suggest holding off to apply. I don’t have the perfect answer for that though. Maybe some positions are more accommodating to students.
Other opportunities available are at St. Joe’s hospital, which is pretty close to campus. I also applied there, I believe for a Flex position, which I think means I get to schedule myself. Don’t quote me on that, but if that is the case, that is definitely a position that could work well for you.
I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions, and have so much fun abroad! If I had one last piece of advice, it would be to take advantage of opportunities like going abroad and don’t necessarily worry too much about not having enough clinical experience. Yes, med schools like to see clinical hours, but med school isn’t the end all be all–you still have a life to live before becoming a doctor too, and med schools should be able to appreciate that.
Best of luck,
Nick Pfeifer / PMH Advisor