3 Email Templates for Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

3 Email Templates for Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

So by now you’ve read my earlier post, 5 Rules for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation via Email. If you follow the rules laid out there, you should have no problem getting your professors to agree to write you a letter of recommendation. But I know that some people want a little more help. Asking for a letter of recommendation can be intimidating. That’s why I’ve created a few sample emails for different scenarios.  All of them follow the 5 rules. Please share some of your successful email templates in the comments. One last thing before we get started. I wrote another article specifically for Premed students on my new blog Premed Revolution. Check it out here: Socially Awkward Premed Part 2 – Request a Letter of Recommendation Over Email.   1. The Standard This template is designed for classes in which you did fairly well and had at least minimal contact with the professor either by email, after class, or during office hours. Professor [Xavier],   My name is [Ben Frederick]. I took your [organic chemistry] course [last semester]. You may remember me [coming to your office hours after every test to go over some of my wrong answers.] [Organic chemistry] was a very challenging subject for me and I was proud of the [A-] I received in your class.   I know you are busy so I’ll get to the point. I am currently in the process of applying to [medical school] and I am trying to gather a few letters of recommendation.  Because I enjoyed [your class and teaching style so much], I decided to start...

5 Rules for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation via Email

When I was applying to medical school, asking for letters of recommendation gave me a big headache. Unfortunately, whether you are shooting for med school, dental school, PA school, or any other kind of health profession, requesting letters of recommendation is a necessary evil that you must endure. Hypothetical conversation: “Hi Professor X, um… my name is John. I was just wondering if possibly, maybe, you might be able to write me a letter of recommendation.  I’m applying to medical school and, um..  and they asked me to get a letter from some science professors. So do you think that maybe you could write me one?” That is a situation to avoid. Why Email? First of all, let’s face facts… you and I are awkward.  It’s almost a prerequisite for acceptance to medical school or any other health professions. Luckily for us awkward people, email has become ubiquitous and is now socially acceptable for something like asking for a letter of rec. You may have been advised to request letters in person or over the phone in order to make a more personal connection.  However, I like to create a more controlled environment in order to minimize the pain and awkwardness. Making first contact with your professors via email prevents you from screwing it up! Second of all, it lets your professor consider the request on his or her own time.  The last thing you want them to do is agree to write you a letter of rec because you put them on the spot and they just want you to go away. But why?  Isn’t the point of...
Personal Statement Example – Vascular Surgery & General Surgery Residency

Personal Statement Example – Vascular Surgery & General Surgery Residency

Surgical Residency Saint Louis University medical student 558 words My father was diagnosed with colon cancer 4 years ago.  He underwent surgery as well as chemotherapy, necessitating his stay in the hospital.  With the hours he had, trapped in a hospital bed, he began to write his autobiography.  This exercise was his method of taking stock of his life, the mental challenge of grappling with his own mortality by systematically revisiting the trials and tribulations that brought him to where he was.  Based on his writings and reflecting on my father’s persona, if he asked me to title his autobiography, I would select [name removed]: Physician, Father, Researcher, and Activist.  Physician before all else simply because it was more than a profession, it describes his ethos, how he went about doing everything else he did in life. Should I ever complete a similar mental exercise, the title of my autobiography will begin, “[name removed]: Surgeon”. My first year in medical school exposed me to a handful of specialties and dozens of subspecialties. Finding and choosing a specialty was daunting as many appeared to peak my interests. In an attempt to gain better perspective, I decided to spend as much time in the hospital as possible in the summer between my 1st and 2nd years. I contacted several departments at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NWM) in Chicago about shadowing their physicians. My schedule started me on the Trauma Surgery and Critical Care service and rotated between different departments every week. I never ended up leaving the Trauma Surgery service.   Though I spent time in other department’s clinics and floors, I...
Personal Statement Example – Ophthalmology

Personal Statement Example – Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Residency Saint Louis University medical student 824 words During spring break of 2006, many of my friends were headed to a beach in Florida, but I was headed to a different beach. I had organized an alternative spring break trip to Long Beach, Mississippi. The experience impacted my life in ways I never imagined, most notably by helping me choose a career path. The encounter with John was brief, but it left a deep impression on me of which I have reflected upon many times since.   The heat was oppressive as my group worked on drywall installation in the wind and flood damaged neighborhood. That evening as we made our way back to the gym that would be our home for the next week, we saw John sitting with his head in his hands. The FEMA markings in bright orange behind him revealed everyone in his home had survived. We inquired about his bloodied face and broken glasses and John explained that he had fallen off a ladder earlier that day. He was broken and could not handle any more in the aftermath of the hurricane. We took him back to the gym that night for a meal and a shower, and listened while he explained everything that had happened to him over the past few months. We also found John a new pair of glasses. They were not perfect, but they seemed to give John hope. With tears in his eyes, he told us how relieved and encouraged he felt as a result of our support. That moment made me realize what a difference vision makes...
Personal Statement Example – Obstetrics & Gynecology

Personal Statement Example – Obstetrics & Gynecology

OB/GYN Residency Saint Louis University medical student 492 words It was in high school when I was shadowing my father at his medical practice, that I witnessed my first delivery.  I still vividly remember it as the patient did not have an epidural and it was very different than what I had previously seen on television.  This delivery served a major purpose in introducing me to the world of obstetrics.  The incredible feeling I experienced as a witness to the birth of a human life has molded my aspirations in becoming an OB/GYN physician.   During medical school, I had the privilege of working with an OB/GYN physician at Saint Louis University for two years in an elective whose purpose was to allow medical students to follow patients longitudinally. One of the characteristics that is important to me in a specialty is continuity of care. I enjoy getting to know patients on a personal level and monitoring them throughout their pregnancies and lives. OB/GYN offers a unique privilege in following a patient from the beginning of her pregnancy to delivery. It is a gratifying and rewarding experience by helping to build families. OBY/GYN also provides the opportunity to continue to monitor the patient after delivery and provide preventative care.   Medical school has made me realize that one of the primary goals in medicine is preventative care. Preventative care is an important part of OB/GYN. In clinic, I was enthused about finding a lesion on Pap smear which directed care to possibly prevent cervical carcinoma. As I furthered my medical training, I found that I enjoyed the diagnosis, management,...
Personal Statement Example – Pediatric Residency

Personal Statement Example – Pediatric Residency

Pediatric Residency Saint Louis University medical student 535 words Pediatrics is all encompassing.  It is a field whose definition of quality care expands beyond office visits and parental counseling, to a career focused on patient advocacy.  Pediatrics is a field where learning and teaching are endless, so that each patient brings new experiences.   As far back as elementary school, when my aspirations changed from President of the United States of America to Veterinarian as quickly as every two weeks, I can remember my mother always reminding me that the goal of a career is finding something you love doing, so that getting paid becomes a perk.   Later in life, I found my favorite author, Maya Angelou, who has never ceased to inspire, and her words above remind me of my Mother’s life lesson.   I have always enjoyed working with children and spent the majority of my service and leadership activities working with youth of all ages.  Third year of medical school has been such a wonderful sampling of clinical experiences, and although I had an idea that I was interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics, it became very apparent on my first few weeks of the pediatric clerkship that it was a perfect match.  After full days of floor and clinic work, evening and night calls, I realized that day after day I wasn’t going home drained and tired, but full of new knowledge, stories if interactions with patients, and plenty of topics to research.  The time at the hospital passed by effortlessly and at each day’s end, a smile was left on my face...