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I have been working with a professor (working meaning meeting roughly once a week to discuss progress and problems) for a few years now, but plan to apply for graduate schools in an unrelated field. I have enough (strong) references without needing to ask this professor for a letter of recommendation. Given this, I have a few questions:

  1. Since I plan to list this experience (is this even a good idea?) on my application, will it look bad if I don't list this professor as a reference/ask them for a letter of recommendation?
  2. If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate this? (My main reason for not asking for a recommendation is to avoid having too many letters. Is this even a problem?)
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    There's very little reason to provide more than the required number of letters. Why would you include your weakest letter when it can only lower the average recommendation strength? The only time I would provide extra letters is if the letters provided non-overlapping and crucial, relevant information. – Roger Fan Jun 5 '15 at 16:15
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    @Roger, I disagree. The number of reference letters requested is in many case arbitrary. The authority who decide on the application is not necessarily the same authority who decide on the number of references. Hence, there is no harm in submitting more than the required number of letters. Except, as you rightly say, if the average strength is decreased by adding up letters. – Dilworth Jun 5 '15 at 18:54
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Since I plan to list this experience (is this even a good idea?) on my application, will it look bad if I don't list this professor as a reference/ask them for a letter of recommendation?

Yes, it's a good idea. And no, it wouldn't look bad.

If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate this? (My main reason for not asking for a recommendation is to avoid having too many letters. Is this even a problem?)

It is not a problem to have many references. Certainly having many good references can only help.

Note: having more references than needed, while some references are not good should be avoided.

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