How to write compelling letters of recommendation
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How to Write Compelling Letters of Recommendation. Jennifer L. Bloom, Ed.D. Associate Dean for Student Affairs & the Medical Scholars Program University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign [email protected] 244-1512. Overview. Importance of Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

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How to write compelling letters of recommendation

How to Write Compelling Letters of Recommendation

Jennifer L. Bloom, Ed.D.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs & the Medical Scholars Program

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign

[email protected]

244-1512


Overview
Overview

  • Importance of Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

  • Writing letters for ERAS

  • What you need to ask students to provide

  • Format of good letters

  • Tips for writing letters

  • How to diplomatically say no to a request

  • Sample good and bad letters


“There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

- George Adams, Philosopher


Importance of lors
Importance of LORS made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • “A LOR is a letter that makes a statement of support for a candidate….(it) should also present a well-documented evaluation, providing sufficient evidence and information to help a selection committee in making its decision.”

  • Typically the letters are given a lot of weight in the decision

  • Can be as important or more important than other components of the application

  • Allows the reader to get a clear idea of what the person is “really” like


Writing letters for eras
Writing Letters for ERAS made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • See ERAS Letter of Recommendation Cover Sheet

  • What happens once the letter arrives at the Office of Student Affairs


What students need to provide you
What Students Need to Provide You made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • At least 2 weeks notice

  • Deadline for submitting the letter

  • Up-to-date CV

  • Draft of their ERAS personal statement (if available) 

  • Complete information about the award or their residency intentions

  • Signed ERAS waiver form


Tips for writing good letters
Tips for Writing Good Letters made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient of the letter – what would you be seeking?

  • Provide specific details about their strengths

  • Compare the student with others that you have known

  • Share stories that illustrate the student’s qualities

  • Potential topics: student’s potential, professionalism, interpersonal & leadership skills, passion for medicine, etc.

  • Don’t reiterate the student’s CV line for line

  • Write on official letterhead

  • Proofread your letter – especially the student’s name


More tips
More Tips made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • If you agree to write the letter, please tell the student when you will submit it and then keep your word.

  • The letter should be more than one paragraph – details about student performance are helpful to the reader

  • Keep a hard copy of the letter on your hard drive so that you can easily update it in the future for other opportunities

  • E-mail the student once you have submitted the letter


Format of good letters
Format of Good Letters made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • Opening

    • Dear Program Director:

    • Include student name and AAMC ID#

    • Indicate the nature and length of your relationship

  • Body – use specific examples

  • Closing –reiterate the strength of your overall recommendation.

    • Would you recruit this person if you were a residency director?


Diplomatically saying no
Diplomatically Saying No made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • What are my options if a student that is not very strong requests that I write him/her a letter?

  • Tell the student how strong a letter you can honestly write up front


Sample good lors
Sample Good LORs made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

  • See sample strong letters



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