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Thread: Managing 4th letter writer

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Managing 4th letter writer

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    I would like to seek advice on managing a fourth letter writer for econ PhD applications. I think I'm in a situation where three of my letter writers dominate the fourth letter writer. The profile of my letter writers (profs who have agreed to write me an LOR) are roughly:
    A: My thesis supervisor. Relatively younger, but has a pretty good publication record.
    B: A pretty senior prof. I did well on his/her field course. He/She was also one of my thesis graders.
    C: Moderately senior prof. I took his/her real analysis class. But it is not evident at all from my transcript that the class resembled anything close to a real analysis class. Aside from this, the only other math module on my transcript is a "math for economists" type of module.
    D: Fairly junior prof. I did well on his/her field course. He/She was also one of my thesis graders. Slightly below the other 3 in terms of tier of school attended.

    My impression is that if all four letters are roughly equal, then the conventional approach is to mix the letters up. But in my situation, I think that A B and C form a dominant set of letter writers.

    If so, how should I manage D, and what should I tell D? e.g. do I tell D that A B and C have already agreed to write me letters? - but if so, is that not essentially conveying that his/her letter is subpar or unnecessary, which is just not very nice overall?

    Additionally, I think one other relevant consideration is that the two more senior profs B and C aren't the most responsive to emails, and D could still serve as a backup writer if necessary. So I'm hesitant to convey that I don't need his/her letter.

    Appreciate any advice on this, thanks!

  2. #2
    TestMagic Guru Moderator
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    Re: Managing 4th letter writer

    You should ask D about this. Anyone willing to write you a letter should be willing to have a frank discussion about potential better alternatives. If they want you to succeed this should not be a problem.

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