Do I need a 3rd LOR?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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bedefan
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Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby bedefan » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:11 pm

Hey all,

I've got two LOR's lined up, and I'm wondering if, given the circumstances, I need a third. One is from my master's thesis advisor (I just finished a two-year master's this spring). The other is from the director of a nonprofit where I worked for a few years before I did my master's. This director is also a part-time professor at a respectable private university (he doesn't teach law and isn't a lawyer; he has a PhD).

So, that's two strong recommendations--but only one of them is from an academic I worked with in an academic setting. T-14 schools seem really to emphasize academic recommendations.

Is it crazy just to stick with the two recommendations I know will be very strong, rather than throw in a third that would be positive but not impressive? (I don't have any sure-thing "impressive" recommendations in the wings, unless I go back to undergrad, which is 6 years back.) Or is it that important to have another academic voice from a recently completed degree?

edited: for clarity

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2014
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby 2014 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:43 pm

I have the same question.

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beachbum
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby beachbum » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:47 pm

Nope, you're good to go. The heavy emphasis on academic LORs is really geared towards applicants who are still in undergrad. Those with work experience (such as yourself) are fine having a mixture of academic and work-related LORs.

wonkymonkey
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby wonkymonkey » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:11 pm

I am going with one work LOR and one academic as well. I think it shows a more well-rounded candidate. It sounds like schools don't want more than 2 LORs so submitting 3 right away probably won't give you an advantage to your app. You can always use your extra to send in if you get waitlisted, haven't heard for awhile, etc. Good luck!

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maroonzoon
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby maroonzoon » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:09 pm

Yale's dean explicitly wants two academic letters. Other schools don't seem to have this requirement.

d34d9823
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:09 pm

No. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that 2 is better than 3.

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jtemp320
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby jtemp320 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:03 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:No. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that 2 is better than 3.


Can you share some of that evidence - I am curious

d34d9823
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:08 pm

jtemp320 wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:No. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that 2 is better than 3.


Can you share some of that evidence - I am curious

In another thread, two people who had worked in admissions offices for graduate schools (not necessarily Law) said that a lot of adcoms hate it when there are more than the recommended number of submissions. They have to read through hundreds of applications as a day job and don't necessarily find it enlightening to get an additional 2 pages.

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MillerTime
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby MillerTime » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:11 pm

I have a similar question: I have two LORs - One from a professor, the other from the elected official I have worked for for the past year and a half (employee, not intern). I'm nervous about sending in only one academic LOR because I'm still in undergrad. Thoughts?

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beachbum
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby beachbum » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:38 pm

evandm wrote:I have a similar question: I have two LORs - One from a professor, the other from the elected official I have worked for for the past year and a half (employee, not intern). I'm nervous about sending in only one academic LOR because I'm still in undergrad. Thoughts?


If you're in undergrad, two academic LORs is almost always the way to go. If you think this LOR is particularly strong, you might include it as a third LOR.

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bk1
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby bk1 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:06 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:In another thread, two people who had worked in admissions offices for graduate schools (not necessarily Law) said that a lot of adcoms hate it when there are more than the recommended number of submissions. They have to read through hundreds of applications as a day job and don't necessarily find it enlightening to get an additional 2 pages.


While they may not like it, I mean it would be nice for them if every applicant they got was either a 4.0/180 or a 2.0/120 and they could have it easy making decisions, you think that it negatively impacts your chances with a 3rd LOR?

JakeL
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby JakeL » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:30 pm

Unless it specifically states 1, 2, or 3 letters of recommendation, there is no way that sending more in will hurt.

earplugs
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby earplugs » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:49 pm

beachbum wrote:
evandm wrote:I have a similar question: I have two LORs - One from a professor, the other from the elected official I have worked for for the past year and a half (employee, not intern). I'm nervous about sending in only one academic LOR because I'm still in undergrad. Thoughts?


If you're in undergrad, two academic LORs is almost always the way to go. If you think this LOR is particularly strong, you might include it as a third LOR.


Will this seriously hurt you if you're still in undergrad, or say only took a year off? Even if you have the numbers for a certain school?

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bk1
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby bk1 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:51 pm

earplugs wrote:Will this seriously hurt you if you're still in undergrad, or say only took a year off? Even if you have the numbers for a certain school?


Will what seriously hurt you? Having one academic LOR and the other be non-academic? Probably not that much if your numbers are right.

d34d9823
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby d34d9823 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:53 pm

bk1 wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:In another thread, two people who had worked in admissions offices for graduate schools (not necessarily Law) said that a lot of adcoms hate it when there are more than the recommended number of submissions. They have to read through hundreds of applications as a day job and don't necessarily find it enlightening to get an additional 2 pages.


While they may not like it, I mean it would be nice for them if every applicant they got was either a 4.0/180 or a 2.0/120 and they could have it easy making decisions, you think that it negatively impacts your chances with a 3rd LOR?

Well, we're talking about really marginal stuff anyway. But you should still aim to please with the marginal stuff.

The only reason I would send 3 letters is if you have a non-academic letter that is stellar (you should have 2 academic letters no matter what).

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2014
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby 2014 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:55 pm

I have one strong academic one, being a notable professor at my school who I have taken two classes from as well as studied abroad under.
I have one weaker academic one, a teacher from another institution who is known in a field totally unrelated to my major with whom I took one class.
I have one extremely strong personal reference from a dean of education at a large state university.

Which two should I send...or would it be better to do all three? I'm afraid of pissing them off with 3.

d34d9823
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby d34d9823 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:58 pm

2014 wrote:I have one strong academic one, being a notable professor at my school who I have taken two classes from as well as studied abroad under.
I have one weaker academic one, a teacher from another institution who is known in a field totally unrelated to my major with whom I took one class.
I have one extremely strong personal reference from a dean of education at a large state university.

Which two should I send...or would it be better to do all three? I'm afraid of pissing them off with 3.

I would send all 3, although I'm thinking that some schools might consider the one from the dean an academic reference, depending on the context of that relationship.

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Eugenie Danglars
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Re: Do I need a 3rd LOR?

Postby Eugenie Danglars » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:46 pm

I'm in sort of the same situation.
1- letter from prof who knows me well and whose classes I took multiple times
2- letter from TA which is probably good but not stellar
3- great letter (he let me see it) from my public service job boss

I think I'm send in 1 and 2 to places that don't have a PI focus and use the third for places like Northeastern or for PI scholarships.

Thoughts?




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