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Choosing a third letter writer


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Hi everyone! I have a kind of tough decision to make and hope you might be able to help me out.


My Classics department was very small, with only had two full time professors. I'll have really solid letters from these two professors; my issue is choosing a third letter writer. I doubled in History so a history professor would make sense, but I'm not sure which of the following would be my best option:


The natural choice would be the professor I was closest to by far and who knew me best. She was widely known as the most difficult professor in the department, and was very respected by her colleagues. Unfortunately she moved on to another position since I graduated, and is now employed at a community college. Her credentials are very good--PhD from Columbia--but I'm concerned her current place of work might negatively impact the letter? 


My second option is the chair of the history in the department. I only took senior seminar with him and didn't know him especially well, but I know he liked me and marked me highly in his course. Would it be unusual to ask for a letter from someone if you've only had one course with them?


My third option is the history professor I took the most classes with. I know she loved me, but I noticed she tended to be very lazy with her courses, and am somewhat concerned she'd just write a form letter.


Thanks for any help in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd avoid the third option; sounds like you have some wise insight about her.


I think it's fine to ask someone you only had one course with. My major had 60+ teachers, so there was only one teacher I took twice, and I'm not going to ask her for a letter.


Your first option should still be a good one. I don't think it should matter too much since they will know she taught at the school you went to.


I'm just guessing though, still trying to decide who to ask to write a letter myself.

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