Dr McSteamy

sh*tting in your backyard
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Oct 22, 2006
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do 99% of the programs only require 3 letters?

that's all i have. am i safe?
 

Top Gun

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Feb 13, 2007
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Attending Physician

DrDre311

Makaveli
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Sure, I matched with only 3 letters of rec.
Depends on your specialty. At one of my 2 GS interviews the PD pointed out that I had only submitted 3 letters (number 4 hadn't been uploaded yet). For plastics I recommend having 4 letters, all from plastic surgeons. Then again, the Match seriously stressed me out, so I tell all students to do everything in their power to beef up their app (regardless of specialty). So while programs only require 3 letters, I'd say to get 4 if you can.
 

iamcatwoman

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Nov 1, 2007
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For IMGs i would definately recommend 4, especially as the Dean's Letter/MSPE from an IMG is usually pretty useless.
 
Aug 5, 2009
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this is confusing to me...if programs want 3 letters of rec and i give them 3, this is considered a negative? i thought sending more letters than asked for was looked down upon.
 
Sep 10, 2009
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The optimal way to answer this question is to check the program websites for the programs you applied to. Most programs explicitly state their requirements.

Usually, three letters is sufficient.
 

ChocolateKiss

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I was told by someone who reviews applications at my school that it is better to pick your best 3 letters because this will give you a better "average" LOR score. Unless you think all 4 are equally good, he suggested going with 3. He also said that the more letters you have, the more likely people are to skim them rather than read them through.

That said, if each letter contributes new and important information rather than just another person saying how awesome you are (or if each is from someone very important with a lot of influence in your chosen field, AND each says great things), it's probably a good idea to send 4.

This was the advice I was given, and it made sense to me, so I only sent 3 letters to any given program (even though I have 6). Maybe others have different ideas.