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Old 04-18-2010
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Iraq What about letters of recommendation?

Dears at USMLE forums,
I am a fresh Iraqi graduate preparing for my first step in USMLE, I would like to know more about letters of recommendation, like would my college professors recommendations be acceptable (some of them have the fellowship of royal college in England and some other just have the Iraqi board) or only American doctors' LORs are acceptable? when should I get these LOR (right now or after I finish USMLE steps and apply for ERAS)? Any specific things I should ask them to focus on when writing the LOR for me? anything important I should know about LORs??
thanks aloooot for your help and concern
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Old 04-18-2010
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Default Yes, you can

Dear cuteguy,

Yes, you can have Letters of Recommendations (frequently shortened here in US as LORs) from your college professors and it doesn't matter whatever their postgraduate degree.

However, these LORs will have significantly less weight than "American" doctors LOR's. When you apply in ERAS and send your LOR's it would be much better if you have LORs from US based physicians.

Let me tell you the hierarchy of LORs from the most significant to the least significant:
  1. From US physician whom you have done with them "clinical clerkship" means they'll mention about your clinical skills with patients such as history and physical examination, rapport, communication, ...etc
  2. From US physicians whom you have done with them "clinical observership" means they'll mention that you observed with them and you were good ..etc
  3. From your country's physicians whom you have done your core clinical rotation
So when you apply for the match you will get less chances than those IMGs who have got their LORs from US based physicians. Of course there are other factors that play role in your matching probability.

Now, when they write the LOR is should be typed on a medical school or hospital "letterhead" paper not just any paper.
Their signature must be in "blue" ink, not "black" ink. So that it appears original when program directors see it.

Also to read more about LOR's please click on the "Letters-Of-Recommendations" tag that appear at the bottom of this thread. You'll see all related threads and there's lots of good info about it here in this website.

Let me know if you have more questions
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cuteguy (04-18-2010), nishaa (04-04-2011), silakan_isi (04-18-2010)
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Old 04-18-2010
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Default Just one more thing Sabio

Dear Sabio,
First of all, thanks a lot for your answer, it was so helpful
second, there is just one more thing I need to understand which is if I should collect these LORs and keep them till I apply for ERAS after I finish USMLE steps or wait till finishing USMLE steps and ask my professors for them so they are up to date, or I can just open an account at ERAS right now and upload the LORs and then use them after I finish my USMLE steps???
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Old 04-18-2010
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Default They are better up-to-date

You cannot start applying in ERAS until your papers are finished with ECFMG and the date when ERAS opens up for the 2010-2011 season is July 1st 2010 so you cannot obtain a token before that date.

The date on the LOR is preferably recent when you apply in ERAS. So even if the dates of your LORs are two or three years old it's better that you update them at the time of ERAS application. So you don't need to wait until you finish your steps to get LORs from your professors, take them now (while they still remember you well) then ask them to update it later when you apply. Of course, they will mention like this "cuteguy has rotated with me from Jan-2010 until April-2010 and he was an excellent ...." yet they sign below as Nov-2010 instead of May-2010 for example.

For official ECFMG guidelines about LORs see this ECFMG web page
http://www.ecfmg.org/eras/documents.html#lors
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