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Not sure who to ask for recommendations...problem if I don't submit all 3 that are required?


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i didn't realize I had to ask for 3 letters of recommendations.  I have asked both my managers at work but not sure what to do for the third.  I reached out to one professor that I took a class from last year but he didn't remember me so I don't feel comfortable pursuing it.


Has anyone submitted an app without actually meeting the requirements for letters of recommendation?


Should I be asking other colleagues to write recommendations?

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Don't get a letter from a colleague (in most cases).  Do get another letter.


If you don't meet the requirements of the application, often your application just isn't reviewed.  It's that simple.

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It's generally advised to get 3 letters from professors. You definitely do not want 3 from colleagues, and you definitely do need 3 in total. They want to hear about your research capabilities and your ability to succeed in a graduate program. This is something professors can comment on much better than anyone else. If you don't know any professors well, you should ask  somebody whose class you did well in. There's lots of advice on this forum about how to approach professors (including what information to include so that they will remember you and your work).

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  • 3 weeks later...

At many schools the application system will hold your materials until every required piece of info has been submitted. It is only then that your application will be released and read. If three is "required," I would not read it as optional. 


Why do you say you can't get one from academia? A professor may remember you more than you realize. There are some great threads here with advice on approaching professors. You may have time to do a summer independent study project, or assist in a lab, etc.

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  • 4 months later...

I concur with the other posts. They won't even look at your application with until all your materials are submitted, so don't bother if you don't have 3. 


It'll be a serious problem to not have a single professor or research scientist submit a letter for you. You'd need published work or some other seriously amazing attribute for that to not be a deal breaker. Even then, if you published, why wouldn't you have someone you worked with on it submit for you? 


The only give you really have with this is if you're applying for an MBA (which I doubt you are if you're on here and not poets and quants). 

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