Assume a graduate applicant, has who informed two faculty members as referees, for presentation of the acquired Letters of Recommendation.

Every referee mentions some points about the applicant, based on the acquired acquaintance with him/her.

There are two possibilities:

  • Both referees talk about the same points regarding the applicant, approximately. For example, both assert that he is egregious. (The ideas are overlapped and the points are converging.) In this case:

In this case, one could conclude that as two people has asserted the same points, so the applicant would be supposed to possess that property.

  • Referees' points are completely different in a compared manner. As an instance, the first one talk about the applicant's innovation in research and the other one indicates his/her temper to help the others. (The ideas are far from together and the points are diverging.)

Therefore, one could realize more diverse ideas about the applicant's personality.

Now, in view of the admission committee, which of the above mentioned scenario would be more effective and profitable for the applicant?!...

  • 2
    You realize that it's also possible for LoRs to have some, but not 100%, overlap, right? This question seems to present a false dichotomy.
    – ff524
    Oct 13, 2015 at 16:09
  • As a matter of fact, I seek a general analysis in this case... The Divergent and Convergent words and the considered overlapping level within in my question could be interpreted in a fuzzy manner.
    – user41207
    Oct 13, 2015 at 16:11
  • Could you please do some proofreading of your question? This will help it get more attention. Oct 15, 2015 at 3:01
  • 1
    The scenario where both your letter writers don't describe you as "egregious" is probably best. Oct 15, 2015 at 10:40
  • 3
    @matinking Why do you worry about this? You should not have any influence on the contents of the letters, making this a moot point to discuss. Whatever is being written is hopefully true to the experiences of the respective authors, which might agree or disagree. Maybe in one case you showed your experience in the field of research, while in the second, you were new but proved to be a quick learner. Those are different, yet positive experiences. Letters of recommendation are real letters to be read by sentient and often intelligent beings, and not checklists listing your feature set.
    – user42177
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


With due attention to the applied consulting with some experienced faculty members my final conclusion is that a mixture of the convergence and the divergence better be taken into account within the LoRs.

In other words, the investigator of the LoR is not eager to read all repetitive points about the applicant within the different LoRs, neither be distracted by the bombardment of the many non-overlapping points from different referees, will which not lead a coherent imagination from the applicant.

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