Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Which should I submit?

Program Director
15
29%
Elective Teacher
15
29%
"TA" letter
8
15%
Employer
14
27%
 
Total votes: 52

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Arbiter213
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Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Arbiter213 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:43 pm

So I've searched and couldn't find a specific answer: If you have 4 excellent LORs, why is it bad to submit them? I have 3 excellent academic references, and one from my 4 year employer who absolutely adores me. Am I harming myself by submitting all four? Should I hold back the employer's for schools that don't rhyme with Fourth best urn?

If someone could either explain the disadvantage to having a 4th LOR (assuming the school accepts 4), or point me to a thread that does, I'd appreciate it.

For the record, my reccomenders:

1) Director of special program I'm in (in my major), explains program, talks about me as a student (had her for a class two years ago and one currently and she interacts with me weekly for the program in an academic setting).

2) Director of the office of fellowships at my uni. and a professor I took an elective class with last winter and taking one this winter. Referred to me (very) publicly as her best student in 13 years (which is how long she's been at this uni).

3) Actually written by a TA I've had for a couple classes in my major, one advanced one and one last winter. She spontaneously offered to write me a letter of recommendation at the end of the last class, and wrote this one and had the professor sign off on it (he may had contributed too, as I've had a few classes with him and am on good terms) . Officially from a tenured faculty member.

4) Boss of my work study job of four years. Loves me. The letter is definitely a panegyric.

Thanks for the input.
Last edited by Arbiter213 on Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

r6_philly
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby r6_philly » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:50 pm

I'd cut out the TA letter. You have 2 tenured academic letters, the TA isn't going to add anything, so there is no upside, but it could possible be negative if she contradicts anything someone else says.

I wouldn't necessarily submit the job one neither, depends on what the job is. I have 1 semi professional letter, and the work was on a research project (I was not a student, rather a consultant to the project). I chose not to send an employment letter because I didn't 100% trust the ability of my employer to articulate the points well so didn't want to take the risk (I worked there for 8 years).

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iwanta170
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby iwanta170 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:52 pm

I haven't heard anywhere it's a bad idea to send in 4 LOR. If anyone can elaborate on this, I am also interested in hearing some thoughts

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kwais
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby kwais » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:53 pm

I just talked to UF. they like 4. can't say for any other school

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$1.99
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby $1.99 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:55 pm

because LORs are not important and they just take up the adcomms time. they dont really add anything after the third one.

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iwanta170
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby iwanta170 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:57 pm

So adcomms at T14 schools actually prefer receiving 3?

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im_blue
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby im_blue » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:58 pm

With your numbers, you're probably applying to UCLA - just keep in mind that they only allow a max of 2 LORs.

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Arbiter213
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Arbiter213 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:58 pm

I should clarify that as far as the schools will see, the letter written by the TA is from a tenured faculty member in the department.

But the input thus far has been helpful and gives me something to think about.


And yah- for UCLA I'm using the obvious two.

vicuna
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby vicuna » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:01 am

r6_philly wrote:I'd cut out the TA letter. You have 2 tenured academic letters, the TA isn't going to add anything, so there is no upside, but it could possible be negative if she contradicts anything someone else says.


+1

The two letters from the professors sound very strong and the letter from the employer could add a different element. Some schools explicitly mention that more than three letters can become excessive. Though adcomms often mention that TA's have written some of the most persuasive letters in the past, it doesn't sound that this one adds a new perspective not already covered in the other two academic letters.

I would save the the TA letter to send with your LOCI for a potential waitlist scenario.

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Arbiter213
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Arbiter213 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:02 am

vicuna wrote:
r6_philly wrote:I'd cut out the TA letter. You have 2 tenured academic letters, the TA isn't going to add anything, so there is no upside, but it could possible be negative if she contradicts anything someone else says.


+1

The two letters from the professors sound very strong and the letter from the employer could add a different element. Some schools explicitly mention that more than three letters can become excessive. Though adcomms explicitly mention that TA's have written some of the most persuasive letters in the past, it doesn't sound that this one adds a new perspective not already covered in the other two academic letters.

I would save the the TA letter to send with your LOCI for a potential waitlist scenario.



Ok this sounds like a good idea. I'm gonna go with that.Thanks.

MPeterson
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby MPeterson » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:29 am

I talked to an adcomm at Michigan, and she said they would like to hear as much as possible about you. I sent in three to any school that allowed it, plus two evaluations. If they don't want to read them and were convinced by the first one or two, I figured they wouldn't bother with the rest.

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iwanta170
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby iwanta170 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:03 am

This is an interesting topic so I'm bumping the thread

SupraVln180
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby SupraVln180 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:21 am

hopefully you don't, but save a LOR for the waitlist, just in case.

JOThompson
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby JOThompson » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:36 am

Some schools only accept two or three letters of recc, in which case you shouldn't ignore the rule IMO.

Even if you're allowed to send four, I would keep that last one in reserve. If you're waitlisted, then you might consider sending along that next letter and an LOCI.

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Arbiter213
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Arbiter213 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:45 am

JOThompson wrote:Some schools only accept two or three letters of recc, in which case you shouldn't ignore the rule IMO.

Even if you're allowed to send four, I would keep that last one in reserve. If you're waitlisted, then you might consider sending along that next letter and an LOCI.


I don't think you even CAN ignore the max, and I wasn't planning to.

What is a LOCI, just so I know?

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whirledpeas86
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby whirledpeas86 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:51 am

Arbiter213 wrote:
JOThompson wrote:Some schools only accept two or three letters of recc, in which case you shouldn't ignore the rule IMO.

Even if you're allowed to send four, I would keep that last one in reserve. If you're waitlisted, then you might consider sending along that next letter and an LOCI.


I don't think you even CAN ignore the max, and I wasn't planning to.

What is a LOCI, just so I know?


LOCI = Letter of Continued Interest

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Arbiter213
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Arbiter213 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:52 am

whirledpeas86 wrote:
Arbiter213 wrote:
JOThompson wrote:Some schools only accept two or three letters of recc, in which case you shouldn't ignore the rule IMO.

Even if you're allowed to send four, I would keep that last one in reserve. If you're waitlisted, then you might consider sending along that next letter and an LOCI.


I don't think you even CAN ignore the max, and I wasn't planning to.

What is a LOCI, just so I know?


LOCI = Letter of Continued Interest


Figured, couldn't guess the acronym though.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Just so I don't have to start a new thread, I figured I'd piggyback on this.

I was going to do 4:

1. UG Mentor (this cannot be skipped)
2. Graduate Mentor (this cannot be skipped)
3. Law professor who validates my work (this cannot be skipped)
4. UG Professor who felt I had incredibly analytical skills

I guess the fourth one can be skipped but I feel it can be a huge + and I don't see it being a - at all.

Can you explain how it'd be a -?

vicuna
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby vicuna » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:49 pm

JurisDoctorate wrote:Can you explain how it'd be a -?


1) Some schools seem to prefer three at most. For example:

Yale: "We require two letters of recommendation from professors or employers who have worked with you. You may submit additional letters, and many applicants choose to submit three letters."

Harvard: "Although two thoughtfully selected recommenders are likely to be more effective than several chosen less carefully, there is no strict limit on the number of recommendations one can submit."

Berkeley: "Our preference is for two letters from academic sources who know you and your classroom work well. Ideally, the letters will provide specific examples of ways you stand out from your peers. Examples of academic sources include: professors, teaching assistants (TAs) or graduate student instructors (GSIs), thesis advisors, etc. If you have been out of school for some time, or if you have significant work or other experience, a letter from a supervisor can be helpful."

Michigan: "Although Michigan requires only one letter of recommendation, applicants are encouraged to submit three."

Outside of the T14, Vandy, UCLA, UT, USC, BU, and Emory accept three letters at most. This site will probably be helpful: http://www.appreqs.com

2) If a third or fourth recommendation doesn't add much to your total application package (i.e. doesn't make a unique point or discuss a different experience), then it probably would have more utility coupled with a LOCI for waitlists.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:59 pm

I see. I just felt that the additive power of it speaking to any abilities that have implications for legal study would outweigh any preferences.

"2) If a third or fourth recommendation doesn't add much to your total application package (i.e. doesn't make a unique point or discuss a different experience), then it probably would have more utility coupled with a LOCI for waitlists."

What is LOCI for waitlists?

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Why is it bad to submit 4x LOR?

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:37 pm

LOCI = Letter Of Continued Interest. A letter in which you profess your undying love for the school even though they WLd you and promise to be their biatch if they let you in.




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