Sending more than 3 letters of recommendation

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Sending more than 3 letters of recommendation

Post by Dragan » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:59 pm


Will there be any problem with sending 4-5 letters of recommendation, although the school asks for 3?

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Re: Sending more than 3 letters of recommendation

Post by tbbxl20 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:52 pm

Really nice to see that you have so many nice recommenders. Congrats in advance! :D

Note that some schools are requiring and only requiring 3 letters, so there may not always have an option for you to submit more than 3. However, this is not the majority case, for most schools you may submit up to 5 letters, which I believe is enough.

Another thing I have to remind you is that the quality of the letter makes you stand out, not the quantity. Find someone who really wants to assist your future success is important. 3 letters are actually over-demanding for many students as they cannot find that many research advisors when they are undergrads, so I guess grad schools are not expecting you to have 5 or more recommendations. (if you are the special one, then just ignore this) QUALITY IS IMPORTANT

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Re: Sending more than 3 letters of recommendation

Post by chrisps1992 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:05 pm

I agree, quality over quantity. Almost every place requires 3, if the extra 2 letters are not as good as the first three, then I wouldn't submit. Some only let you submit three, some let you submit up to 5.

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Re: Sending more than 3 letters of recommendation

Post by asterac » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:05 pm

I remember one school's application instructions specifically recommended against including more than three even though they allowed more, unless you had a specific, good reason. (Like, if each one really reveals some distinct and important perspective.) I think it was Northwestern. They explicitly said that including extra for the adcom to read for no reason was more likely to annoy them than to help you.

If you can, I would highly recommend helping interview someone for a job. For me, it really helped to understand what it's like to look over a big file.

Side note: same principle applies with your statement of purpose. You really don't want fluff. If you can trim it down to be somewhat shorter than the max length while still having it be readable and including all of your most salient arguments for yourself as a candidate, that's generally preferable.

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