Applying Medical School Residency

How to Ask for Residency Letters of Recommendation

Are you a third year or fourth year medical school student preparing to apply for residency? Are you afraid or intimidated to ask your senior attending for a letter of recommendation?

The Ultimate Guide to Third Year: A Sample Residency Application Letter of Recommendation Email

Are you a third year or fourth year medical school student preparing to apply for residency? Are you afraid or intimidated to ask your senior attending for a letter of recommendation? No worries! For this segment of “The Ultimate Guide to Third Year” we present a sample email template for asking your preceptor’s for a letter of recommendation!



Dear Dr.  X,

How are you? I hope you are doing well! (This conveys a connection and is a great opening line)

I am writing to ask if you would be willing to write a strong letter of recommendation supporting my application to “Your Chosen Field of Medicine” residencies for the 2018-2019 application cycle. I truly enjoyed my “the rotation you completed with them” rotation with you and your team this “month of said rotation” and was thankful to earn an Honors evaluation from the precepting physicians (If you did not earn Honors replace with your grade but consider the LOR and choose honors rotations if possible). Likewise, I was able to successfully pass my end of rotation shelf exam on the first attempt with a *insert percentile*. I plan to include a letter of recommendation with my application to residency and although I will be starting my application process this summer, I am requesting letters of recommendation prior to the application deadline.

I have attached a“Your Chosen Field of Medicine” Cover Letter/Letter of Intent. Through our conversations and my participation during the rotation, I believe you are aware that I am passionate about “Your Chosen Field of Medicine”. I chose to apply to medical school because I am extremely passionate about the “Your Chosen Field of Medicine” healthcare field, particularly “Your Chosen Field of Medicine” incorporating “describe a good part of the career” medicine. I have chosen you as a recommendation writer as I believe you are  informed about my work ethic and my willingness to learn. Therefore, I believe you will be able to speak about my strengths in relation to the rotation and personal character.

Overall, while completing my “Your Chosen Field of Medicine” rotation, I was thankful for the opportunity to learn more about various topics including specific highlights such as: (This is a Pediatrics rotation focused example, tailor this template’s example to your needs):

  1. Pediatric fluid recommendations and management
  2. Pediatric rounds & interpersonal skills
  3. Pediatric emergency medicine & critical care  
  4. Pediatric social & family interactions protocol
  5. Newborn medicine & NAS interventions
  6. AAP health screening recommendations
  7. Pediatric infectious disease topics

While developing through the rotation, I believe that my strengths were:
(General “good” traits you can model your own responses after)

  1. Being able to take constructive feedback and improve my clinical skills
  2. Reading material assigned beforehand and correcting previously incorrect knowledge
  3. Coordinating well with my co-student to ensure we improve everyday and support various patients’ needs
  4. Gathering a detailed history and attempting to develop a list of differentials and a plan
  5. (For osteopathic students only:) Implementing Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in my interventions

As a student, I am committed to improving on each rotation. As stated in my attached group, end-of-clerkship recommendation, I do feel as though I can improve my (oral presentations skills as I am admittedly reserved at times) (this shows a willingness for the student to improve, show humility and demonstrate humbleness). I am working on this aspect of my clinical skills by conducting patient presentations with residents, developing my research poster presenting skills, and thoroughly preparing for the USMLE CS patient encounters. 

Also, attached is my medically focused CV. It is focused on my experiences post-undergraduate graduation and details relevant educational and volunteer experiences. (Make sure to attach!)

Once again, I am thankful for the opportunity to experience a 4-week rotation/2 week/6 week/8 week (you get the idea) with you and your staff. It was a memorable experience and I hope to carry these lessons with me into a “Your Chosen Field of Medicine” resident position next year.  

If you are willing to write a recommendation letter it would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me by email at insert email” or cellular phone at 555-555-5555 if you have any questions.
Thank you in advance for your consideration, commitment to students, and time.

Thank you,
Your Name
Your School Class of XXXX
Your Email Again


This is a very detailed example of an email. Sometimes I wrote shorter emails if I was truly close to the letter writer. Detailed letters should get you further in your LOR requests and if they accept you can insert the letter writer’s information into ERAS, receive the unique AAMC letter number and have it uploading in time to apply! Good luck to all the applicants. & Remember to have your application ready to submit to ACGME programs by September 15 on ERAS!

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