I need advice on the WHEN, HOW , WHO to ask for letters of recommendations. Do you address this question at the beginning or at the end of semester once you know how well you did? Will a professor from freshman year remember who you are? Do you give the professors your resume before he/she writes the letter? I believe science professors are most valuable. Does Umich do committee letters? Please advise. Thank you
Unfortunately, there is no pre-med committee letter service at our university, so you will need to find individual letter writers. Most students find it most beneficial to obtain this combination of letters:
- Two science course professors
- One non-science professor
- One personal letter: a boss, research PI, volunteer supervisor, or physician you shadowed
- IF YOU ARE TAKING A GAP YEAR, get a letter from the gap year employment supervisor
- IF APPLYING MD/PHD, a research letter
It is usually better to ask professors at the end of the semester rather than at the beginning because you will be much more familiar with each other; however, if you plan on asking a certain professor before you have finished the course, make sure you attend class and office hours as often as possible. Additionally, many students ask a professor right after they take their course, even if they are only freshman or sophomores that aren’t applying for a couple years, because some professors prefer to write the letter while their interaction with the student is still fresh and just save it until it is time for submission. It is also helpful for your professors to have an idea of how many letters they will be writing in each cycle so they can plan accordingly, which is easiest if you ask as early as possible.
Most professors like to have access to a student’s resume, transcript, and personal statement before writing a letter, but the professor will usually let you know what they want once you ask them.
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