Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
leroyjenkins6969
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Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby leroyjenkins6969 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:40 pm

Hi all,

Do you think it's worth it to submit 4 letters of recommendation if you have 4 recommenders?

I haven't read them, but my assumption is that they all say something different about me. Do you think 4 is too much?

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outlawscr10
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby outlawscr10 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:14 pm

Traditional wisdom says it's best to save some for if you get waitlisted.

Ti Malice
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:57 pm

(1) Are they all academic LORs?
(2) Do you feel reasonably confident that certain ones are better than the others?
(3) Are you a realistic candidate for YHS?

leroyjenkins6969
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby leroyjenkins6969 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:08 pm

-1 is from an academic source.
-1 is somewhat academic (from my supervisor at the lab I worked at for 2 years in college. She was a PhD candidate when she supervised me, and was conducting independent research).
-1 is from my supervisor at Organizing for America (Obama's 2012 campaign where I worked as a Field Organizer).
-1 is from a lawyer who directly supervises me at my current place of work.

I am reasonably confident that 2 or 3 LORs are really good, and 1 is a wild card.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 175. My gpa is my weakest factor: a 3.64 from Stanford.

Ti Malice
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:25 pm

Okay, so you do have a realistic shot at Harvard. H doesn't care nearly as much about LORs as Y and S do, but you're by no means a lock with a 3.6x, so you'll want to make the rest of your app as perfect as possible.

You really have three non-academic LORs, which is too much fluff. Can you get one more good academic LOR? To the extent adcomms care about LORs at all, academic LORs are valued far more than any other kind. Two good academic LORs and one strong non-academic LOR would be the way to go.

All else being equal, I'd ditch the letters from the lawyer and the lab supervisor. A letter from your campaign supervisor would seem to have the most potential for providing insights into strengths and abilities that won't come through in academic LORs, but I don't know if this is one of the ones you think is going to be really good. I'd drop whichever LOR is the "wildcard."

leroyjenkins6969
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby leroyjenkins6969 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:45 pm

There is a tenured professor at Stanford who knows me well, and gave me an A+ and A in two advanced seminars (he said I was one of the only A+s he's ever given, and he is 70+ years old).

The thing is, he had colorectal surgery and retired from teaching. He is still a faculty member but I am not sure in what capacity. Unfortunately, he has not answered any of my emails soliciting a LOR (which really sucks considering that he knew me better than any other professor).

I am not sure what I can do to get him to respond, but it would almost certainly delay my application.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:31 pm

I think the lab supervisor would probably be sufficiently academic (in the sense that you were working on their research - if you really did just, say, pipette stuff into tubes, it's probably less helpful). As for the retired professor, I would try calling his department and finding out if they know the best way to contact him. This has become less and less common, but there are still some ancient profs who are anti-tech and don't answer e-mails, especially after retirement. But he may be available by phone and happy to write for you.

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wealtheow
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby wealtheow » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:49 am

leroyjenkins6969 wrote:There is a tenured professor at Stanford who knows me well, and gave me an A+ and A in two advanced seminars (he said I was one of the only A+s he's ever given, and he is 70+ years old).

The thing is, he had colorectal surgery and retired from teaching. He is still a faculty member but I am not sure in what capacity. Unfortunately, he has not answered any of my emails soliciting a LOR (which really sucks considering that he knew me better than any other professor).

I am not sure what I can do to get him to respond, but it would almost certainly delay my application.


if the procedure was recent, you may be out of luck, since he'd likely be busy with recovering and such.
the 60-something year old professors i know all hate checking their email, so i'm sure this guy is in the same boat, and now he doesn't even have to check it for work. he probably was/remains friendly with faculty in his department. is there anyone to whom you could reach out to see how he's doing, and if there is any way to get in touch with him?
perhaps the current chair of the department? if he is still considered faculty, they should have a way to get in touch with him, even if his responsibilities are nil.

also i would NOT risk a wild card, academic or otherwise.


not to thread-jack, but i was wondering about this too. i have four from professors, all tenured, and could obtain 2 more if waitlisted no issue. so i'm thinking i should go ahead and submit the four initially. but i guess i don't want to piss anyone off in admissions.

bp shinners
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Re: Submitting 4 Letters of Reccomendation?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:11 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(in the sense that you were working on their research - if you really did just, say, pipette stuff into tubes, it's probably less helpful).


What do you think research is? :)

As for the retired professor, I would try calling his department and finding out if they know the best way to contact him. This has become less and less common, but there are still some ancient profs who are anti-tech and don't answer e-mails, especially after retirement. But he may be available by phone and happy to write for you.


I would go this route.

As to the original question, depends on the school. If they ask for 2, but allow more, then send in 2 and wait to see if you get waitlisted.




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