Okay, as some of you who have read my recents posts might know, I am switching from Economics PhD to Sociology PhD, which means that I am doing another round of applications. I applied to 10 economics PhD programs exactly two years ago and now I am asking the same people (my three undergraduate mentors) to write LORS for me one more time. They have agreed. Keeping this in mind, what is the optimum and reasonable number of LORS that I can ask from people who have written 10 for me two years ago? Personally, I can do as many applications as I think is required, but my limitation would be the LORS. How many is totally unreasonable to ask in this context? What do you guys advise?
If you give them addressed stamped envelopes (personally is better), write nice notes to their secretaries if they have them, give them all the information needed and envelopes all at once so they only have to work on it once, and were a good student, then the marginal cost of another letter low enough that they shouldn't mind another 10-15.
Tell them each the situation and that you would like to apply to X institutions, and ask if they would write another letter. You will, of course, need to tell them why you are changing, etc, but I think they will all consent.
They don't usually write 10 separate letters. Most are online and you can upload literally the same file. Once the letter is written, it takes all of 5 minutes each application to upload the letter. My advisor is turning in 27 letters for me in the fall(only 14 institutions, but 8 are econ and law, 2 are econ, business and law, and the NSF)! He is happy to do it. He is the only one, however. My other letters for law schools are not from economists.
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