Letters of Recommendation (LoRs)
Q: How many LOR's do I need?
A: According to ERAS, you can have unlimited LoRs, but you can only assign and send up to four (4) letters to each residency program.
The following is from Tips on Letters of Reference from the AAFP.
Number of Letters
- Most residency programs request three letters of reference. Sometimes they specify certain departments or rotations from which the letters should originate.
- Be sure to follow directions from the program brochure. For example, some programs will require letters from particular departments; others require letters from attendings rather than residents. Occasionally, a letter from a person not involved in the profession of medicine will be requested.
- Do not send more letters than requested unless you have one that is especially dazzling. Some selection committees suspect "the thicker the application, the thicker the student." Some programs review only the first letters to arrive up to the number they request, and subsequent letters are ignored.
Q: How do I request a LoR?
A: Use our Request for LoR Cover Sheet and follow the directions. Students need to fill out the top portion, check-off whether they waive their right to see their letter or not, and sign it. Then give the cover sheet to the letter writer. The letter writer should return the cover sheet with the LoR to the Department of Career Services at LMU-DCOM.
Below are some links to helpful tips and advice:
- Tips on Letters of Reference from the AAFP
- Improving Your Medical Residency Application Tips for Obtaining Optimal Letters of Recommendation by Dr. Michelle Finkel.
- How Should I Get Recommendation Letters for Residency? by Geoffrey Talmon, MD
Q: Should a medical student waive his/her right to see the LoR?
A: Many medical schools recommend waiving your right to view the LoR for two reasons:
1. This makes your letter confidential and the letter is then considered more strongly by residency programs.
2. Many program directors see a student’s decision not to waive their right to see a letter as a red flag.
Q: Is the NBOME ID the same as AOA ID?
Q: Who should I contact for a lost AOA Member Number?
A: Contact the AOA Member Service Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 621-1773 during business hours or email@example.com after hours. You can also email the LMU Career Services Coordinator.. Login help is available from the AOA website at http://imis15-app.osteopathic.org/apps/profile/forgot.aspx.
Q: Is there a place online (like EMS or E*Value) where we can see if the LORs have been received or not?
A: The LoR's will be uploaded to ERAS after you register in July. You will assign your LoRs and track them through ERAS. Until then, you may check with the Department of Career Services.
Q: If we have more than three physicians that we want to get letters from but want to have certain letters sent to certain programs, how do we navigate that? Does every letter we have written have to be presented to each program?
A: You will be registering with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) in July. In ERAS, you will designate which LoR you want to go to a particular program. You can have an unlimited number of LoRs; however, no more than four (4) letters may be assigned to any individual program.
Q: What should I do if I requested a LoR and after several months of follow-up emails to the letter writer the LoR still has not been received by the Designated Dean’s Office?
A: The residency programs for which you will be applying to through ERAS will have application deadlines for ERAS supporting documents like Letters of Recommendation (LoRs). Also, residency programs can start downloading your application and supporting documents (like LoRs) on July 15th. So, you may want to relay this information to your letter writers. If your letter writer is having trouble meeting your deadline, you may want to consider asking someone else who meets your program’s requirements and deadlines, and can write you a strong LoR.
Q: I’ve made my LoR slots in ERAS, but it doesn’t show that they have been attached.
A: Make sure you clicked “Submit Request” or "FInalize." This simply finalizes the LoR slots for use. You can add additional LoRs at any time. The Department of Career Services will attach your LoRs that have been received thus far to your slots, and any others upon receipt. You will be able to track LoRs and all of your supporting documents in ERAS.
Q: Do I have to wait until all of my LoRs are in to apply to programs?
A: No, you may apply to programs before all of your supporting documents are in. The supporting documents will be attached upon receipt to the designated dean’s office (make sure you made your LoR slots!). Once attached to your ERAS, the programs you have applied to will have access to the documents as well.
Q: Can I have the same letter writer write 2 different letters for different programs? How do I designate that in ERAS?
A: You will need to make a slot for each letter. Make sure you use the Specialty Field. See the MyERAS User Guide for further instructions.
Q: What are the ERAS deadlines?
A: ERAS does not have deadlines, individual residency programs do. You must meet the deadlines of the residency programs and the Matches (AOA/NMS, NRMP, and Military).
Q: Should I request specialty-specific LoRs?
A: You should review the LoR requirements of the programs in which you are applying. Generally, the more competitive specialties will want specialty-specific LoRs. Many emergency medicine programs require a specialized form called the standardized LoR (SLOR). It is also advisable to request a few general LoRs in case you change your mind regarding specialty or you find yourself scrambling for a different specialty or internship year.
Q: How do I request my medical school transcript?
A: LMU-DCOM’s ERAS Medical School Transcript Request Form can be faxed to 423-869-6387 or scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For transcript questions please contact the Office of the Registrar at 423-869-6434.
COMLEX and USMLE Transcripts
Q: How do I request my COMLEX and USMLE Transcripts?
Q: How do I upload a photo to ERAS?
Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)/Dean’s Letter of Evaluation
Q: What is included in the Dean’s Letter? Are USMLE and COMLEX scores included? Can we see the letter before it is sent out?
A: The MSPE describes, in sequential manner, a student’s performance, as compared to that of his/hers peers through three full years of medical school and possibly part of the fourth year. USMLE and COMLEX scores are not included in the MSPE since they are separate supporting documents for ERAS. Students are required to review their MSPE for accuracy and to authorize its release. You will be contacted by email when your MSPE is ready for review. For more information on the MSPE please see the AAMC Guidelines and Template or contact the office of the Department of Career Services.
Q: I am away on rotations and can’t come back to campus to review my MSPE. Why can’t it be emailed to me?
A: To maintain the integrity of the MSPE, it cannot be emailed, mailed or faxed to students for review and may not leave the office of the Career Services Coordinator. No exceptions will be made to this policy. The MSPE is uploaded directly to ERAS by October 1st and/or sent directly to residency programs upon student request.
Q: How does the Match process work?
A: The AOA/NMS and NRMP websites explain the process, give examples, have directions for registration, and FAQs. The AOA’s Tips, Tactics and Truths: A Guide to Making the Most of Your Osteopathic Medical Education is also an excellent resource.
Q: If I only intend to apply and accept an ACGME residency, do I have to register for the AOA/NMS Match?
Q: Will the ranking program allow me to match into a PGY-1 preliminary as well as a PG-2 advanced position?
A: Yes, see below:
For the AOA Match:
Program Types Offered in the Match
All programs offered in the Match provide OGME-1 training beginning in 2012 and meet the requirements of approved osteopathic OGME-1 training. However, the programs offered in the Match can be classified into two types:
- Traditional Rotating Internship: These programs involve a one-year commitment between the student and the institution for an OGME-1 internship position only, commencing in July 2012. These positions will be of interest to students who wish to pursue an Option 3 specialty (Dermatology, Proctology, Preventive Medicine-Public Health), who are undecided on future plans or who are planning on entering ACGME training after OGME-1. Institutions have some flexibility in designing the composition of a traditional rotating internship. When interviewing for positions, students should discuss and negotiate directly with the institution about the curriculum included in a rotating internship.
- Residency: These programs involve a multi-year commitment between the student and the institution for training in a specialty. These programs combine both an OGME-1 position commencing in July 2012 followed by continued training in an OGME-2 residency position in the specialty in July 2013. (Note: The trainee must successfully complete OGME-1 training in order to continue into the OGME-2 position.) Both Option 1 and Option 2 specialty programs will be offered as residency programs in the Match.
For Option 1 specialties, each program will be represented by a unique Code Number in the Match, and students will match directly into a specialty residency program.
Option 2 specialties will arrange for the prerequisite OGME-1 year for their students prior to the Match, so that the OGME-1 preliminary year and the specialty residency training starting in OGME-2 will be offered together, as a single program in the Match. The program will be represented by a single, unique Code Number in the Match, and will be ranked by the students as a single program in the Match. While in most cases the OGME-1 and subsequent specialty training will be in the same institution, this will not necessarily always be the case; a program could include an OGME-1 preliminary year at a different institution that is affiliated with the institution offering the specialty residency. In this case, the program will be listed in the Match under the institution that offers the specialty residency training, but the institution that provides the OGME-1 training will be identified in the description of the program.
By the beginning of November, a list of the specific internship and residency programs offered by each institution participating in the Match will be available on this web site (select List of Participating Programs from the menu on the left, or click here).
From the NRMP Website:
The supplemental rank order list is used by applicants who wish to rank advanced positions (beginning in the second year of training) on their primary rank order list and who also want to match to a compatible preliminary or transitional first-year program.
For each PGY-2 advanced ("A") program ranked on the primary rank order list, a number of PGY-1 (preliminary or transitional) programs that correspond to that advanced program may be ranked on a supplemental rank order list. Applicants are encouraged to complete a supplemental worksheet (PDF, 1 page) before entering choices in R3. Although not a requirement, applicants generally consider geographic location in developing their supplemental rank order lists for specific advanced programs. Therefore, more than one supplemental rank order list linked to different advanced programs may be submitted, if necessary, and they will be marked as A, B, C, etc. When you have finished entering the program codes on your rank order list(s), you must certify the list(s). To certify, click the Certify List button found on the My Rank Order List screen and then enter your password. A supplemental rank order list will be used in the Match only if the applicant matches to an advanced program on the primary rank order list. The supplemental rank order list is used as part of the Main Match and is not a separate match. During the matching process, the matching algorithm first looks at an applicant's primary rank order list and attempts to make a match. If the applicant is matched to an advanced program, the algorithm will seek to match the applicant to a preliminary position from the supplemental rank order list that is linked to that advanced program. If the algorithm is unable to match the applicant to a first-year program, the match to the advanced program still holds, and the applicant will have to seek a PGY-1 position after the Match.
Q: What happens if I do not match to a residency position?
A: For the AOA (NMS) Match:
Every year, a small number of students fail to match with any of their ranked programs. Students who fail to match initially are provided with information on programs with available positions for them to contact. Likewise, programs with available positions are provided with information regarding unmatched students to contact. Thus, opportunities to obtain a position may still exist after the Match. Please see The Scramble: What to Expect and How to Prepare” for further information.
For the NRMP (ACGME) Match
Please refer to the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) available on the NRMP website.