View Full Version : How many LORs

09-28-2007, 03:28 PM
Hi everyone,

The requirement of LORs is 3- can i submit 3-5 LORs? Please help guys.

09-28-2007, 03:53 PM
My opinion is you shouldn't submit more than the required (Most of the universities have a requirement of 3) unless you mean to highlight something substantial not mentioned in the other LORs.

But then again its just my opinion.People on the forum might have better things to add.

09-28-2007, 05:00 PM
UPDATE: Based on my searches, sending an extra recommendation letter may be a good idea. However, as ved said, the important thing is quality over quantity. So if the 4th recommender is just going to say "did well in class" that will not help at all and would be a waste of your time and the recommender's time.

One argument for sending more than 3 is that you don't know for sure how positive a certain recommendation is going to be, though you should certainly "get a feeling for it" by talking to the professor/recommender.

This book recommends sending 4 letters of recommendation if 3 are asked for:

Graduate Admissions Essays: Write ... - Google Book Search (http://books.google.com/books?id=g28gN7qo_OoC&pg=PA273&dq=%22letters+of+recommendation%22&ei=7Ev9RvXYHY-K7QLEitjlDQ&sig=L75PFCDyQJ-_aPUgrHz57pWfcDM#PPA274,M1)

Another argument for sending more than 3 letters is that a weaker recommendation letter will not necessarily detract from a stronger letter of recommendation:

Planning a Life in Medicine ... - Google Book Search (http://books.google.com/books?id=vejdWImEDOIC&pg=PA168&lpg=PA168&dq=%22no+more+than+three+letters+of+recommendation %22&source=web&ots=SZXoKI1Kgx&sig=gyRtfSfPo3QoC3calh3nqynZvB8) (from a book on applying to medical school)

So, if you know you will probably get glowing recommendations (more than "did well in class") from three professors who know you well, and you know your boss at work will give a great recommendation as well, then 4 letters would be a good idea. However, some students may have problems locating even 2 professors who know them well, especially if they never did research or projects.

From a CS dept. website:

What if I want to submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Three letters of recommendation are required; however, space is provided for you to submit up to five. At least two should be from faculty or recent employers. Recommenders should know you relatively well and be able to evaluate the quality of your previous work.
CMU/SCS PhD::Application (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/education/admissions/doctorate/faq.html) Regarding quality vs. quantity:

What the admission commitee are looking for in a LOR is if a professor can vouch/support/give evidence about your research ability/potential/skills. If a professor just says in the LOR that the person got an A in his class. That LOR is a junk.

...3 outstanding recommendation letters is always better than 5 decent reco.
And no.. not all reco will say you are good, hardworking blahblah. If it only says that then that LOR is pretty bad.
An outstanding LoR will usually say something about your research experience with the prof, etc..


A couple of related Google searches seem to indicate that for computer science there is a probably a preference for sending at least 3 letters of recommendation vs. sending no more than 3:

"at least three letters of recommendation" cs - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22at+least+three+letters+of+recommendati on%22+cs&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&pwst=1&start=10&sa=N) (1,430 hits)
"at least 3 letters of recommendation" cs - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22at+least+3+letters+of+recommendation%22+cs&btnG=Search) (155 hits)


"up to three letters of recommendation" cs - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22up+to+three+letters+of+recommendation%22+cs&btnG=Search) (567 hits)
"no more than three letters of recommendation" cs - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22no+more+than+three+letters+of+recommendation% 22+cs&btnG=Search) (only 2 hits)
"up to 3 letters of recommendation" cs - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22up+to+3+letters+of+recommendation%22+c s&btnG=Search&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial) (only 2 hits)

more general search:
"at least three letters of recommendation" - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=oDf&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=%22at+least+three+letters+of+recommendation%22&spell=1)
"no more than three letters of recommendation"
(http://www.google.com/search?q=%22no+more+than+three+letters+of+recommen dation%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a)
BTW, some advice on providing information to your recommenders:

If I am going to write a recommendation letter, I will need some information from you:
All the information about the program you're applying to, including all necessary forms, due dates, web sites, etc. as well as a description of the program itself (or the project, if it's a summer project e.g. a SURF project).
Your full Caltech grades transcript.
The grades for any course you took from me, along with the term/year and the subject (e.g. CS 11 python track, Spring 2005). Sometimes you will have numerical grades that aren't on the transcript (notably for CS 1); I want those too.
Any relevant work experience e.g. a programming internship. You should describe your job in detail, emphasizing the programming-related aspects of the job.
Any relevant hobby work you've done e.g. any open source project you've participated in, any fun program or programs you've done, etc.
Your programming experience outside of the classes you've taken with me.
Any other information relating to your programming experience.
Any other information you think is relevant.You don't have to send me every bit of this information, but the more you send me, the better a recommendation letter I can write, and the more likely you are to get accepted into the program you're applying to.

Mike Vanier: Recommendation Letters (http://www.cs.caltech.edu/%7Emvanier/work/recommendations.html) Similar advice:

Letters of recommendation (http://www.cs.princeton.edu/%7Ebwk/recletter.html)

09-29-2007, 06:57 AM
[clap]Thankyou Calmlogic and Ved [clap]

10-01-2007, 06:53 PM
damn great reply!!