Letters of Recommendation
How to approach the Letters of Recommendation (LORs) aka Reference letters aka anxiety! lol
Double check each program requirements for LOR, some require 1 PA, 1 MD you’ve worked with (paid) and 1 academic. For my application, I had 2 PAs, 1 MD and 1 Anatomy professor write my LOR. Next, start forming these relationships! I shadowed my PAs for a while so it wasn’t too awkward to ask for a LOR from them. As for my anatomy professor, it was the opposite. How do I approach this??
At the start of the course, I knew I needed a LOR from her, so I made it a point to speak to her every now and then after class. Be friendly and let them know your intentions! At the very end of my 6 week course with her I asked if she could write one for me for PA school apps. She did this for me THREE times , she is amazing.
This is what I included in my email to her to help with the LOR:
- Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Your favorite or best volunteer work, or the number of hours you’ve volunteered
- Your clinical experiences and what you got out of them
- Personal narrative
- Your goals for becoming a physician assistant and how you have decided you want to become a PA
You want VARIETY in your LORs, each letter should convey you as an applicant in different capacities (clinical abilities, work ethic, academic performance). They will receive an e-mail containing instructions about how to complete the recommendation. They must write a narrative about you and then rank you in different categories such as: reliability, professionalism, care, maturity, etc.
Be sure to remind them if they forget to complete the LOR, they all have busy schedules!
You’ll want to inform the PA, MD or the person writing your letter of the changes you’ve made to your application since last year. Tell them how much more HCE you’ve obtained, where you’ve obtained it, and what you learned from it. Tell them how you improved your academic performance or knowledge of the PA profession since the last cycle. LORs cannot be saved from cycle to cycle. You’ll need to re-enter information for references if you are choosing to use them again. AGH. I know, you just got to! Good luck everyone!