To waive or Not to waive rights for Letters of recommendation

This is one of the classical dilemmas IMGs fall into when deciding regarding waiving their right to see their letters of recommendations. There is no straight forward answer on whether to waive or not because every applicant together with every LOR writer is a special situation. Therefore let us go through some facts about this relationship thing:

1- For program directors, in general, waived LORs are considered more legit but not necessary stronger. Waived letter means that the writer took his freedom in writing whatever he feels comfortable with regarding his experience with the applicant.

2- But still PDs know that many LORs are virtually waived, i.e. in fact, the applicant know the content. This happens in two scenarios: first when the writer handle it to the applicant to review it and second, which is more common, when the writer ask the applicant to write it and he or she just sign it. PDs are not dummies, they have experience more than any creature on earth when it comes to LORs.

3- So, in general, US LORs should be preferably waived as this is the nature of professionalism US physicians like to have among themselves.

4- When it comes to LORs obtained from overseas, waiving or not so really doesn't impact its strength, but its content do. You would like not to waive these LORs if you don't really what your home country mentor is trying to express. At many instances, wrong comments or unevenly written phrases might give bad impression. So whenever you have the chance to double check these LOR before sending them it would be in your favor all the time.

5- Take home lesson from our experience with thousands of applicants, waive whatever you feel will be strong enough and don't waive what you might feel hesitancy on the writer side whether in writing or in your personal experience with that doctor.