Letter of Recommendation for Residency Programs

Getting a letter of recommendation (LOR) can be challenging.  Doctors at teaching hospitals have so much going on and your LOR is one of the last things on their list. They may write you a general letter of recommendation which may not benefit you. A personalized LOR from your attending doctors can go a long way. Also, make sure your attending doctor uploads the LOR and not yourself. If you waive the right to see your LOR then there is more value to it; if you upload it then your LOR’s weight is not as good. If you get a chance to sit down with the doctor, you should tell your attending doctor to write you a letter with key points.
I spoke to a doctor about it and when a LOR is written, there are some points to keep in mind:
  • Your letter should have your AAMC number somewhere; right after your name is a good spot.
  • Make sure there is emphasis on what rotation you did and how long you conducted the rotation.
  • Also make sure your attending doctor writes a theme of “teamwork” in your letter body, because teamwork is highly important to residency programs. You will be working as a team in residency so that should be written somewhere in the letter.
The following is an example of an LOR:

To whom it concerns/program director,

I worked with [First Name] [Last Name] (AAMC#)…

Body of the letter…


[Space for Doctor’s to Sign]

Doctor’s Name
Doctor’s Title in the Hospital

Here are AAMC’s guidelines for a letter of recommendation.  I gave few pointers on what you should have in your letter, but the AAMC guidelines will give you the details about it.