Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation:

  • Students should ideally have at least one letter from an academic family medicine physician.
  • Letters from different contexts are important. Discipline of letter is less important
  • Be truthful as you write the letter. Your reputation and the reputation of the school is on the line
  • Be truthful to the student about what you will write. Feel free to decline writing a letter if you do not feel you know the student well enough or if you have only negative things to say.
  • Consider meeting with student to discuss what strengths should be highlighted
  • Include context in letter. How long have you known the student and in what settings
  • Include specific examples that demonstrate key strengths of students. Much more effective than generic comments re strengths.  (given the importance of this, try to write down examples early for students who you think might ask you to write a letter)
  • Superlatives can vary (is “strongest recommendation” better than “with great enthusiasm”?) Specificity may help. This is the best student I have taught this year, this is one of the 3 best student I have taught over the last 5 years. But be truthful
  • OK to advocate on behalf of less strong students. Emphasize their strengths and your observations of how they have improved. But remain truthful.
  • Include invitation for program to contact you with questions