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Extra letter of recommendation


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Hi I have a little situation and I'm not sure how I should proceed.

Making long story short, there's this superstar professor who offered to write me a letter of recommendation when he found out that I am actually applying to graduate school. For various reasons I won't elaborate here, I did not ask him for letter initially so his offer really came as a very big (and pleasant) surprise.

So my situation is, most of the schools I'm applying to do not allow me to register 4th recommender. I can't delete a recommender because my original 3 recommenders have already submitted their letters. So that means I can't make use of the online system to allow this 4th recommender to submit his letters. Yet it is very difficult for me to get a hard copy (and sealed) letter from him because he is currently in Canada (and I am at the other end of the world).

A letter from him will definitely strengthen my application, but I'm not sure how I should go about getting his letter to the schools in a manner that's least troublesome for him. Or should I just let it go and leave things as they are?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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Hi I have a little situation and I'm not sure how I should proceed.

Making long story short, there's this superstar professor who offered to write me a letter of recommendation when he found out that I am actually applying to graduate school. For various reasons I won't elaborate here, I did not ask him for letter initially so his offer really came as a very big (and pleasant) surprise.

So my situation is, most of the schools I'm applying to do not allow me to register 4th recommender. I can't delete a recommender because my original 3 recommenders have already submitted their letters. So that means I can't make use of the online system to allow this 4th recommender to submit his letters. Yet it is very difficult for me to get a hard copy (and sealed) letter from him because he is currently in Canada (and I am at the other end of the world).

A letter from him will definitely strengthen my application, but I'm not sure how I should go about getting his letter to the schools in a manner that's least troublesome for him. Or should I just let it go and leave things as they are?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Some schools/disciplines can be strict about the number of LORs they want. I would first check with the schools and make sure that it's okay to submit a 4th letter - (I say this because I find it unusual that they have a hard 3 letter cap- in my experience if they say 3, but they're open to more they will allow you to register up to 5). If they only take the first three, and the most easily accessible are the ones submitted online, then it's not worth the hassle. If the schools allow it, maybe there's an alternative way for them to allow the prof to submit online ? Or perhaps you can ask your LOR if it would be too much trouble for him given the situation to send it in for you through the mail system.

If I were you I would try to get more information on the situation from both the school and the LOR writer.

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I actually had a very similar situation and got some really helpful advice on this forum. The thread is here:

I got an address for paper submissions and asked prof 4 to mail his, but this might not work for all departments. I think the best bet is to call and also be up front with the writer.

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