LOR questions (more than 3/what if you dont get in) & applying again

Sep 27, 2010
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1. Is it okay to ask more than 3 people for letters? What did you do for application forms that only had three slots to write names/send email reminders (especially if the letters must be done online)? I thought about rotating but really I would only be rotating 2 people around (2 I need every time).


2. What happens if you don’t get in anywhere, or decide not to go where you are accepted if accepted anywhere (either for funding or personal reasons)? Will letter writers generally be willing to write for you again another year (maybe even the following year)? This is of special concern for me.


3. I am exploring other options, including jobs, as I wait to hear about grad school. Is it appropriate to ask these letter writers for recs for jobs etc. also as this is going on? Now I wish I hadn’t asked all four of my supporters to write for grad school...


4. And a bonus question: due to time and money constraints, I’m only applying to top choices. I will not be crushed if I cannot begin next fall hence I am not applying to a lot of places with the goal of just going somewhere next year. If I don’t get in this year, would I be able to apply to any or all of the same places again (if my interests/goals do not shift)?

Thank you!!
 

krisrox

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Mar 16, 2009
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1. Is it okay to ask more than 3 people for letters? What did you do for application forms that only had three slots to write names/send email reminders (especially if the letters must be done online)? I thought about rotating but really I would only be rotating 2 people around (2 I need every time).

Good call. This is exactly what I did.


2. What happens if you don’t get in anywhere, or decide not to go where you are accepted if accepted anywhere (either for funding or personal reasons)? Will letter writers generally be willing to write for you again another year (maybe even the following year)? This is of special concern for me.

If you have PhD's in psych writing your letters, they know how difficult it can be to get into a program. They will absolutely write you another letter, but in the meantime you should do something so they can add to that letter and make you glow even more.


3. I am exploring other options, including jobs, as I wait to hear about grad school. Is it appropriate to ask these letter writers for recs for jobs etc. also as this is going on? Now I wish I hadn’t asked all four of my supporters to write for grad school...

Yes, but be fair. Ask if they can handle the demand you're putting on them and prioritize. Some may flat out tell you, "Nope, too much t do right now."


4. And a bonus question: due to time and money constraints, I’m only applying to top choices. I will not be crushed if I cannot begin next fall hence I am not applying to a lot of places with the goal of just going somewhere next year. If I don’t get in this year, would I be able to apply to any or all of the same places again (if my interests/goals do not shift)?

As long as these people are accepting students and your interests don't change. Just make sure you're applying to enough programs in the first place. Three or four isn't going to cut it...
 
Sep 27, 2010
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Good call. This is exactly what I did.

Sorry, I'm not quick on the uptake today. Did you ask four people and have them all send a letter to all programs, or did you ask four people and only sent three letters to each, rotating the professors?
 

krisrox

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Sorry, I'm not quick on the uptake today. Did you ask four people and have them all send a letter to all programs, or did you ask four people and only sent three letters to each, rotating the professors?
I rotated.
 
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