Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

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InquilineKea
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Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:02 am

Has anyone done it? Of course, there would have to be a good reason to do it.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby SPat » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:09 am

Did that for all my reaches (and got in most of them). I had 2 from summer project advisors, 1 from ug faculty advisor and 1 from a prof whose class I did well in.

However, some places (eg. Cornell) don't allow you to submit more than 3.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:54 am

Oh nice. Were all of them very strong recommendations? Did the prof whose course you did well in know you well?

Yeah, I'd like to do that too. There were a few classes where my score was the very high outlier that was much higher than everyone else's. But I haven't had much out-of-class interaction with them.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby SPat » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:04 am

InquilineKea wrote:Did the prof whose course you did well in know you well?

I took his reco a) because hes very senior and somewhat famous and b) his course was one of the toughest we've had and I spent a lot of time discussing problems with him

I assume my other recos were also strong.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby tradster » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:20 pm

SPat wrote:Did that for all my reaches (and got in most of them). I had 2 from summer project advisors, 1 from ug faculty advisor and 1 from a prof whose class I did well in.

However, some places (eg. Cornell) don't allow you to submit more than 3.


Same here. I submitted 4 letters for almost all schools except for the ones (Cornell!!*) that don't allow you to submit more than three letters on the application system. I have done research in three different labs, so each of the advisors wrote one letter. I also have a letter from a class professor who knows me really well.

* Side story : Cornell lost all of the letters for some reasons. I didn't get informed of that until like late Feb. Don't feel like hassling my recommenders again, I withdrew my application at the end.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:10 pm

InquilineKea wrote:Has anyone done it? Of course, there would have to be a good reason to do it.


If the school allows 4 and none of the 4 are just acting as filler (i.e. they are all truly complimentary in describing your research potential) then do it.

With that said, I've found that many schools (probably half of the schools I applied to) restrict you to 3 LORs.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:15 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
InquilineKea wrote:Has anyone done it? Of course, there would have to be a good reason to do it.


If the school allows 4 and none of the 4 are just acting as filler (i.e. they are all truly complimentary in describing your research potential) then do it.

With that said, I've found that many schools (probably half of the schools I applied to) restrict you to 3 LORs.


And many that say they accept four only read 3. So make sure that you put them in the order of importance.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:19 pm

For the average student, I would stick to three letters. Even for SPat, I'm sure the reasons he received acceptance to the reach schools were based on the rest of his application, not solely because of the extra letter. Unless you have worked under 4 different people who can greatly attest to your research experience, I wouldn't submit more than three.

-Riley

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:24 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:For the average student, I would stick to three letters. Even for SPat, I'm sure the reasons he received acceptance to the reach schools were based on the rest of his application, not solely because of the extra letter. Unless you have worked under 4 different people who can greatly attest to your research experience, I wouldn't submit more than three.

-Riley


Look. The 4th recommendation at many schools is "just in case" something happens and one of your top three can't send in a recommendation. 3 people is more than enough to vouch for you. I had a reason to believe that one of my recommenders might not manage to send out recommendations to all of the schools (and in fact didn't), so I sent a fourth. But only as a backup. There were people I worked with early in my undergraduate years who I didn't bother asking; there wasn't anything for them to add other than to also say "he's a hard worker who finds intelligent solutions" a fourth time.

Edit: Then again, what do I know. I seem to have been shut out of the top 15 schools, so maybe my way isn't the best way. Maybe I'm not hearing back from U Michigan because the CME professor I worked with when I was 17 didn't write me a letter.
Last edited by bfollinprm on Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby negru » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:27 pm

I wouldn't send any recs who only talk about you doing well in a class. Doing well in a class is pretty much a requirement for grad school. Research recs will get you get you good points.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:31 pm

negru wrote:I wouldn't send any recs who only talk about you doing well in a class. Doing well in a class is pretty much a requirement for grad school. Research recs will get you get you good points.



Agreed. If you want an academically oriented recommendation, go for the chair or another long-tenured professor who can rate you out of the entire body of students the department has graduated, including information about where those students went. And that's only important for lesser-known schools, like a lib arts school or a midwest state school.

Just for clarification, I'm talking about someone who can say "[student] ranked in the top [x]% of the [y]thousand students I've seen graduate from this department. Students of similar calibre have gone on to graduate programs at [insert impressive school names here] and have had successful graduate careers."

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:42 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
WhoaNonstop wrote:For the average student, I would stick to three letters. Even for SPat, I'm sure the reasons he received acceptance to the reach schools were based on the rest of his application, not solely because of the extra letter. Unless you have worked under 4 different people who can greatly attest to your research experience, I wouldn't submit more than three.

-Riley


Look. The 4th recommendation at many schools is "just in case" something happens and one of your top three can't send in a recommendation. 3 people is more than enough to vouch for you. I had a reason to believe that one of my recommenders might not manage to send out recommendations to all of the schools (and in fact didn't), so I sent a fourth. But only as a backup. There were people I worked with early in my undergraduate years who I didn't bother asking; there wasn't anything for them to add other than to also say "he's a hard worker who finds intelligent solutions" a fourth time.

Edit: Then again, what do I know. I seem to have been shut out of the top 15 schools, so maybe my way isn't the best way. Maybe I'm not hearing back from U Michigan because the CME professor I worked with when I was 17 didn't write me a letter.


Look. It's most reasonable to assume that the OP was referring to having 4 LORs submitted with the intention of having all 4 reviewed. If you are submitting 4 with the understanding that only 3 will actually be reviewed (due to a flaky professor or some other issue) then in essence you really only submitted 3 LORs anyways.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:44 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
Look. It's most reasonable to assume that the OP was referring to having 4 LORs submitted with the intention of having all 4 reviewed. If you are submitting 4 with the understanding that only 3 will actually be reviewed (due to a flaky professor or some other issue) then in essence you really only submitted 3 LORs anyways.


My point is hardly anyone looks at 4. The option for the 4th is simply because sometimes bad things happen, and they want your application complete if it does.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:51 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:
Look. It's most reasonable to assume that the OP was referring to having 4 LORs submitted with the intention of having all 4 reviewed. If you are submitting 4 with the understanding that only 3 will actually be reviewed (due to a flaky professor or some other issue) then in essence you really only submitted 3 LORs anyways.


My point is hardly anyone looks at 4. The option for the 4th is simply because sometimes bad things happen, and they want your application complete if it does.


The way you responded to Riley, (i.e. starting the sentence with "Look.") made it sound like you were disagreeing with him or something. I think we all agree that 3 LORs is preferable for all but the most exceptional of students.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:54 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:
Look. It's most reasonable to assume that the OP was referring to having 4 LORs submitted with the intention of having all 4 reviewed. If you are submitting 4 with the understanding that only 3 will actually be reviewed (due to a flaky professor or some other issue) then in essence you really only submitted 3 LORs anyways.


My point is hardly anyone looks at 4. The option for the 4th is simply because sometimes bad things happen, and they want your application complete if it does.


The way you responded to Riley, (i.e. starting the sentence with "Look.") made it sound like you were disagreeing with him or something. I think we all agree that 3 LORs is preferable for all but the most exceptional of students.


I quoted riley because my comments went with his. I wasn't really responding to him (I could never disagree with the second coming of rg). I always respond with the intention of answering the OP, unless I'm making a joke.

And I think for even exceptional cases, a fourth recommendation is not really a good idea. The only instance where it should even be considered is if you have 4 papers with 4 different groups, or if you have 3 and took a class with a nobel prize winner. And in these cases, I would argue that adding another professor's comments about your research is redundant; just go with the most recent/most applicable to your interests in grad school. But, like I said before, don't take my word as gospel; I think my applications underachieved a bit (at least so far).

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:03 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Look. The 4th recommendation at many schools is "just in case" something happens and one of your top three can't send in a recommendation. 3 people is more than enough to vouch for you. I had a reason to believe that one of my recommenders might not manage to send out recommendations to all of the schools (and in fact didn't), so I sent a fourth. But only as a backup. There were people I worked with early in my undergraduate years who I didn't bother asking; there wasn't anything for them to add other than to also say "he's a hard worker who finds intelligent solutions" a fourth time.

Edit: Then again, what do I know. I seem to have been shut out of the top 15 schools, so maybe my way isn't the best way. Maybe I'm not hearing back from U Michigan because the CME professor I worked with when I was 17 didn't write me a letter.


I totally agree with having a 4th letter as a backup, but I had the feeling the original poster was asking if there was any reason to submit 4 letters that the committee would indefinitely read. However, if you're certain your 3 recommendation writers will get them done on time, I don't see a need for a 4th letter.

bfollinprm wrote:Just for clarification, I'm talking about someone who can say "[student] ranked in the top [x]% of the [y]thousand students I've seen graduate from this department.


Eh, it's still relative to the school though. One of my recommendation writers for REUs in the past who was chair for 40 years always wrote how I was easily in the top 1% of students he had ever taught. Considering there are only 3-5 students who graduate with a physics degree from my undergraduate university, this statement doesn't hold much weight (it is also very rare that anyone goes on to graduate school). I think in general, people should have research mentors write their letters if possible.

-Riley

P.S. - While writing this you guys had quite a conversation.. =P

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:10 pm

bfollinprm wrote:I quoted riley because my comments went with his. I wasn't really responding to him (I could never disagree with the second coming of rg). I always respond with the intention of answering the OP, unless I'm making a joke.


So how do you respond to someone in a forum if they aren't the OP? Why do you not use the universal convention of quoting the person you're responding to rather than quoting a person who said something similar to what you are about to say?

bfollinprm wrote:And I think for even exceptional cases, a fourth recommendation is not really a good idea. The only instance where it should even be considered is if you have 4 papers with 4 different groups, or if you have 3 and took a class with a nobel prize winner. And in these cases, I would argue that adding another professor's comments about your research is redundant; just go with the most recent/most applicable to your interests in grad school. But, like I said before, don't take my word as gospel; I think my applications underachieved a bit (at least so far).


I don't see how you would conclude that having 4 exceptional LORs would be less beneficial than 3 exceptional LORs. If you did significant research for 4 groups and get to have 4 world class physicists attest to your awesomeness, why would you instead only use 3 of those? I argued, and I believe Riley suggested this aswell, that if you have 4 exceptional LORs, use them. If, however, you are like most people and any 4th LOR you could muster would just be some professor you had a class from, then skip it because it isn't valuable and will most likely be viewed as unnecessary fluff.
Last edited by HappyQuark on Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:21 pm

HappyQuark wrote:will most likely be viewed as unnecessary fluff.


Mmm, now that you mention it I should have had a 4th recommendation writer... myself. I mean, who can attest to such greatness except thou art?

-Riley

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:24 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
So how do you respond to someone in a forum if they aren't the OP? Why do you not use the universal convention of quoting the person your responding to rather than quoting a person who said something similar to what you are about to say?

bfollinprm wrote:And I think for even exceptional cases, a fourth recommendation is not really a good idea.


I don't see how you would conclude that having 4 exceptional LORs would be less beneficial than 3 exceptional LORs. If you did significant research for 4 groups and get to have 4 world class physicists attest to your awesomeness, why would you instead only use 3 of those? I argued, and I believe Riley suggested this aswell, that if you have 4 exceptional LORs, use them.


@ HQ, I'm sorry for frustrating you. I've just always felt that a comment that only applies to one other person doesn't belong on a forum (unless it adds some humor). If I think I can add to the conversation, I do it. If quoting someone helps tie my perspective into the overall conversation, I quote.

I just don't think it's necessary, and adds to the paperwork of a school. If you want to send it, it probably can't hurt. But I don't see it really helping. If you have 3 amazing recommendations, adding a 4th amazing recommendation isn't going to make a difference (those first 3 guys? meh. But this guy too? Oh man! We need this student!).

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby TheBeast » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:18 pm

In the case where a student has something lacking in their profile, an additional stellar recommendation may be useful. The worst thing that happens is that it doesn't get read. Actually, I take that back. The worst thing would be that you send 4, three of which are wicked-awesome and 1 is lukewarm and one of the wicked-awesome ones is ignored. So, sending 4 might only be a good idea if you are certain that all four are amazing references of approximately equal amazingness.

I think that a better approach, if you have 4 or more reference writers, would be to use them selectively depending on which schools you're applying to. It's been said that committees may put additional weight on references from people that they know personally or know of. Figuring out where your references' word may have the greatest influence should play some part in deciding who to ask amongst those 4.
Last edited by TheBeast on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:28 pm

TheBeast wrote:In the case where a student has something lacking in their profile, an additional stellar recommendation may be useful. The worst thing that happens is that it doesn't get read. Actually, I take that back. The worst thing would be that you send 4, three of which are wicked-awesome and 1 is lukewarm and one of the wicked-awesome ones are ignored. So, sending 4 might only be a good idea if you are certain that all four are amazing references of approximately equal amazingness.

I think that a better approach, if you have 4 or more reference writers, would be to use them selectively depending on which schools you're applying to. It's been said that committees may put additional weight on references from people that they know personally or know of. Figuring out where your references' word may have the greatest influence should play some part in deciding who to ask amongst those 4.



TheBeast is right (I think), and so I take what I said back. I could see using 4 recs if all of the following were true

(1) you had a hole in your transcript (like a C in a class or something)
(2) There were really good reasons for that hole
(3) A professor (who taught you that class) who doesn't have much else to add offers to write a letter to cover that hole
(4) You are 100% sure that all 4 of your recs will be read

I could then see you sending 3 real recs and the fourth being this professor.

Actually, thinking about ridiculous scenarios, I could also MAYBE see it if you were coming from a different discipline (say math) into physics: You'd need 2 research letters (one from whoever you did math research with and the other from your quickly cobbled-together summer in the physics department), and a letter that attests to your ability to handle physics grad school. If you then had someone else who had significant connections to the school and knew you and your abilities well, but was a math professor (say, mathematical physics) then you might consider asking him, since he'd know more about your overall person than someone in the school's physics department that likely only ever saw you in the 1-2 classes you took over there.

If we're just talking about people who you know think highly of you, though, I don't think it's worth asking for more than 3, no matter how famous they are/how many children they want to have with you. I do agree that cycling recommendations depending on who knows whom is a good idea, though.
Last edited by bfollinprm on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby negru » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:39 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
TheBeast wrote:In the case where a student has something lacking in their profile, an additional stellar recommendation may be useful. The worst thing that happens is that it doesn't get read. Actually, I take that back. The worst thing would be that you send 4, three of which are wicked-awesome and 1 is lukewarm and one of the wicked-awesome ones are ignored. So, sending 4 might only be a good idea if you are certain that all four are amazing references of approximately equal amazingness.

I think that a better approach, if you have 4 or more reference writers, would be to use them selectively depending on which schools you're applying to. It's been said that committees may put additional weight on references from people that they know personally or know of. Figuring out where your references' word may have the greatest influence should play some part in deciding who to ask amongst those 4.



TheBeast is right (I think), and so I take what I said back. I could see using 4 recs if all of the following were true

(1) you had a hole in your transcript (like a C in a class or something)
(2) There were really good reasons for that hole
(3) A professor (who taught you that class) who doesn't have much else to add offers to write a letter to cover that hole
(4) You are 100% sure that all 4 of your recs will be read


It still seems a bit overkill to send an extra rec just because of one grade. Pretty sure that if a prof is willing to write tens of recs just to explain a grade he would've been willing to cut you some slack when you took the course to improve your grade.

And anyway no reason no matter how good will make a bad grade go away. If you did well in more advanced courses no one is going to care about that individual grade. If they care about GPA an explanation for the grade will not do you any good. No one will try to convert excuses to hundredths of points.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby admissionprof » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:44 am

negru wrote:It still seems a bit overkill to send an extra rec just because of one grade. Pretty sure that if a prof is willing to write tens of recs just to explain a grade he would've been willing to cut you some slack when you took the course to improve your grade.

And anyway no reason no matter how good will make a bad grade go away. If you did well in more advanced courses no one is going to care about that individual grade. If they care about GPA an explanation for the grade will not do you any good. No one will try to convert excuses to hundredths of points.


Negru is partially correct. One poor grade in an early course doesn't much matter (especially if it's a C. If it's an F, that's different). But if it's in a more advanced course, and there is a very good excuse, then the committee will want to know the excuse. Whether it comes from a LOR or is mentioned in the SOP is irrelevant--the SOP is a much easier place for it.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:19 am

Thanks for all the nice replies, everyone! :)

Here's another question: What if you took a course with professor X? And what if professor X worked with professor Y at another institution? Certainly, professor X might not know you well enough to write you a good recommendation. But he might be able to write a letter to professor Y at the other institution. Has anyone else asked a professor to do this before? (I've had a professor tell me that he could write a letter for me to a professor at another institution).

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby astrok » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:20 am

InquilineKea wrote:Certainly, professor X might not know you well enough to write you a good recommendation.


If Prof X didn't know you well enough to write a good letter of recommendation, why would Prof X be offering to vouch for you to a friend? If an offer like that is on the table, it seems like Prof X should be writing you a LoR.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:16 pm

Hm, well, it actually did happen with a prof who I didn't have that much interaction with. I don't know why - maybe it just doesn't take much for me to be exceptional in my department, I guess?

I mean, they could look at a student's courses/research experiences and figure out that the student was probably the strongest student in their department.

Or maybe I had a lot of chit-chat with the professor but no substantial research experience with him?[1] By "chit-chat" I mean that I talk with the professor from time to time but don't do research with him.

Or maybe the professors in my department are unusually nice (which actually might be the case here)

[1] Hm, if that is the case, the people at Physics Forums told me that I shouldn't get recs from profs I only had chit-chat with. But there are definitely cases when such profs are willing to vouch for you.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:44 pm

astrok wrote:
InquilineKea wrote:Certainly, professor X might not know you well enough to write you a good recommendation.


If Prof X didn't know you well enough to write a good letter of recommendation, why would Prof X be offering to vouch for you to a friend? If an offer like that is on the table, it seems like Prof X should be writing you a LoR.


I had professors offer to give phone calls similar to this. I just included their email as a reference when I sent out feelers to POIs at schools.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:01 pm

Wow, what does "feeler" mean?

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:36 pm

InquilineKea wrote:Wow, what does "feeler" mean?


According to UrbanDictionary.com, one interpretation...

noun ; someone who feels that he or she is very important when, in fact, he or she is not

"Person 1: OMG! Did you see how negru acted at grae's party?!

Person 2: I KNOW! He`s such a feeler."

-Riley

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby negru » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:58 am

According to the same source:
"A schoolyard word children use when namecalling one another in that immature growth period of around 7-10 years."

Yup, that's Riley alright

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:42 am

I could swear I was at least eleven!

-Riley

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby negru » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:18 am

Don't worry about it too much. We're all kids in our hearts. You just happen to be in the brain too

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:10 pm

negru wrote:Don't worry about it too much. We're all kids in our hearts. You just happen to be in the brain too


You know what they say, better to be a kid in the brain than a kid in the pants...

-Riley

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby HappyQuark » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:47 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:
negru wrote:Don't worry about it too much. We're all kids in our hearts. You just happen to be in the brain too


You know what they say, better to be a kid in the brain than a kid in the pants...

-Riley


I'm not sure who "they" are but I'm going to go ahead and join "them" in saying it.

Negru, your penis is small!

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:17 pm

Hm interesting, when I was looking at the MIT application, I saw that the recommendation forms included checkboxes for "how good is this student relative to the rest of the class". What's interesting is this - you can be the "top 1%" in a class that you took from a professor (where you easily got the highest score in the class, and where the next highest grade was well below yours), but you might not be the top 1% for a professor you did research with. Hm.

Of course, every student is going to have some variance in their grade ranges, and there will be times when each fairly strong student will be among the top in their class.

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Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby llamacheez » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:07 pm

Sorry for the thread revival, but I had this exact question. I'm seeking some guidance on which letters I'll want. I'm mostly applying to physics programs (CM experiment, QI experiment)--a couple applied physics and EE/CS programs as well. I'm from a school no one has heard of. My four candidate recommenders:

1. PI from an REU in 2010. Well known and at a famous school, very impressed with me.
2. Supervisor from an internship at a national lab this summer. It was more of a chemical engineering project--not much physics involved. My supervisor is a chemical engineering Ph.D. from MIT. I exceeded expectations, but the project was kind of lame.
3. Physics professor at my school. I took two junior level advanced lab-type classes last year with him, A's. I've also done research for him for 1.5 years, and I'm doing more research with him in the fall.
4. Physics professor at my school. I took one physics class with him sophomore year, A, and I'm taking a class with him in the fall. I also did a little research with him, programming a simulation, but it isn't very impressive. He's the faculty advisor for our SPS, and I was president last year and did a bunch of little projects there. I'd note that #3 is also involved with SPS, so he could speak to those things, too.

So the question is, should I send all 4 to any program I can? If reviewers will really ignore the 4th letter, it wouldn't make too much sense to leave it up to chance like that. Should I give #2 to applied physics and EE/CS and keep 1,3,4 (the physics faculty) for physics programs?

I really appreciate any input.

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InquilineKea
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Re: Is it ever advisable to submit 4 LORs?

Postby InquilineKea » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:17 pm

If all of them contain novel information about you (in other words, they show that you only violated the norms because you had a *good* sense of *judgment), then yes, send them.

An atmospheric science professor explicitly told me that it's totally fine to send 4 LORs (she volunteered that info to me). But atmospheric science is much smaller than physics so they have more time per applicant.




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