No matter how outstanding your profile is, the ERAS recruiter will not take a look at your profile until you have at least two letters of recommendation (LoR). LoRs are an excellent medium to tell the residency program about your unique qualities and help them decide if you are a good fit for the program.
But many students have questions about getting a good letter of recommendation to help them get selected for their intended residency programs. Hence, in this article, we will address some of the most common questions future residents have and also give some tips to get a strong LoR.
Most programs will request you three letters of recommendation. However, you can submit up to four letters but a minimum of two.
The residency program you are applying to will have a specific requirement about the number of LoRs. Therefore, it will be best if you stick with the number prescribed by the residency program.
A great letter of recommendation provides the context to how exactly the writer knows you. They must specify how and when you worked together, in what specialty, and your aptitude.
A strong LoR should be more than a page long and give a specific example of your performance. It should specify how you stand out from other students and your overall ranking among your peers. In addition, it should include information about your hobbies/extracurricular activities and the unique characteristics that make you an ideal candidate for the residency program.
When you want an LoR, it is a good idea to set up a short in-person meeting with the writer to request it. You can tell them about your chosen residency program and how you enjoyed working in their specialty.
Suppose you already know which residency program you are going to apply to. In that case, you can ask your attending at the start of your rotation if you need an LoR from them. It will help them to pay closer attention to you and give you a more accurate assessment in your LoR. Once you have told this to the attending, you should make sure to perform outstandingly in their specialty rotation.
You should make sure to give plenty of time to the attending to write the letter of recommendation. Also, you should provide them with the names of the fellows and residents with whom you have worked.
A strong letter of recommendation is your ticket to enter the residency program of your choice. Hence you must make sure that you follow the above steps and play your cards right. A good LoR will make you stand out from your peers and tell the program about your excellent and trustworthy character.