Jump to content
Urch Forums

How many referees?


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,


Does anyone have any advice about whether or not it's a good idea to add a 4th referee for the universities that give you the option?


I know that Duke recommends that you don't unless you really feel it's necessary which is fair enough, but others like Chicago, Cornell and Brown give you the option of adding up to 5 referees and don't seem to recommend against it.


Is it likely to be an advantage to provide 4 referees for schools like Chicago etc, or is it definitely better to stick to 3 for all of them?


Many thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certain university application forms let you choose 5 referees for the sake of flexibility. There are other departments/degrees where it's common to have letters from work experience or teaching.


In PhD economics, virtually every applicant only has 2-3 letters. You should assume Duke's attitude about 4th letters also applies to other departments mentioned, even if they don't state it explicitly.


If an applicant submits 4 letters, adcoms may (1) ask staff to filter out the least relevant letter; (2) throw away a letter randomly; (3) take the 4th letter into account.


Option (1) would be neutral for you, option (2) would be bad, and option (3) is likely only a small benefit, at best.


You'll also have to justify asking a referee to only write letters for 2-3 programs.


In short, I don't think most applicants should submit a 4th letter anywhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...