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Forgetful LOR, now lazy new LOR ---what to do


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I had to request a new LOR at the last minute since I can't get in contact with my original (my strongest and who offered) . So my new LOR forgot to write mine, then frantically rushed through the letter and forms in less than 2 mins in front of me on the designated pick-up day. The letters aren't terrible but very vague and weak, and contradict the rec forms with specific questions and applicant ratings, which were rushed through and only partially filled out. the deadline less than 3 wks away and I am scared the new LOR could cost me admission to some very competitive programs. 

Should I ask a new reference with this close of a deadline or just send what I have and hope for the best?  advice please. I'm not sure what the etiquette is in the type of situation. Thanks!

masters & ph.D. candidate

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From what I've heard, your LORs are really important. I have heard that many programs want to see letters from people they are familiar with and whose opinions they respect. A hastily (sloppy) LOR doesn't sound as though it will help your application at all. If possible, try to find some professors who will write you good letters. It is not easy to know, when you're asking, who will or will not help you, but I'd like to think a professor wouldn't agree to write for you unless he/she intended to support your application. Given you essentially have to waive your right to see your letters, you could be sending in an application with a weak LOR without knowing it. Here, however, you KNOW you are not getting a great LOR -- and you really do want them all to be very good/great. Why would you knowingly do this to yourself?

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I agree, that is a good point.  I had so much respect for both of these professors until now. Each had worked with me in a variety of clinical and research settings, and seemed like such great choices. I hate being put in this type of situation and having to ask another person at the last minute, but you are right. Given the competitiveness of these programs, I can't risk a sloppy LOR. 

Thank you for the "reality check"!

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I am not too sure how did you get to read your LORs and how do you know the average quality of LORs in your field.  But sure you could try to get a new one if you can. If the student would stand next to me while I am filling out a recommendation/ would read my recommendation I would not be able to concentrate either.

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This is the only LOR I have read; I had waived my right to see all the LOR's. I gave all my references a packet of info with addressed envelopes and a due date well in advance since none of my programs offered online LOR's; some schools had additional recommendation forms.  This reference gave me a designated day to pick up my packet, and even reminded me the day before what time I could pick everything up. When I arrived he immediately rushed through the paperwork, insisting I wait, and even instructing me to explain what some of the forms were without reading them. It was a very awkward and rushed situation. I am applying for competitive clinical and research programs in healthcare. I don't know the average quality of the LOR's in my field, but I greatly respected this reference's opinion and he is normally very honest and thorough; rushing through anything is very unlike him. What bothers me is that the letters and forms contradict each other. 

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