7

Just last month I asked three professors to write me recommendation letters for my graduate school application. They all agreed. Then today I found an internship that also requires recommendation letters.

I am interested in applying to the internship, but I worry whether I would be asking for letters from my professors too frequently, especially since they might need to rewrite the letters to accommodate the nature of an internship.

A related post here, although in that case the two requests are one year apart and the letters are for the same purpose.

  • Make it easy for your professors. Here is what I tell my students: bbrown.kennesaw.edu/recommendations – Bob Brown Dec 10 '15 at 12:44
  • Asking twice is not "frequent requests"--you're fretting over this unnecessarily. If your professors are diligent/experienced they will probably keep copies of their letters for you and they can generate a new one relatively efficiently. – profmartinez Dec 11 '15 at 0:41
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It is fine; don't worry about it.

This is a very common situation: many graduates will apply to more than one program that needs recommendation letters. They almost certainly are going to be asking the same few people for multiple letters, because they are unlikely to have a large number of contacts to draw on to ask for recommendations.

I think the question you have linked very much applies to this case. Particularly the top answer, which points out that this is part of professors' jobs, not some kind of exceptional favor you are asking for.

2

Yes and no, as it depends on circumstances.

  1. Did you get a good grade in their classes?
  2. Did you ask politely?
  3. Did you provide them with everything they need?

That last point is especially important. When I was a student, it was understood that when requesting a recommendation letter, you provided all the necessary documentation already filled out as much as possible, in an addressed, stamped envelope. As I got to a point where I was the one being asked for recommendations and dealing with students asking for them, it astonished me how this basic courtesy seemed to have faded.

That said, some things like med school applications have been moving online, but that's not the rule everywhere by any kind of margin as far as I know. Be polite, but make their jobs as easy as possible. I would also give them a copy of your CV and possibly a short 1 page personal statement to give them something to build a letter around.

But for goodness sake, please don't make the personal statement begin with the words "every since I was a child, I wanted to..." Or "when my grandmother got sick..." Because your professors have had it up to here reading those, believe me.

1

Yes. Writing letters of recommendation is annoying, because (i) they're difficult to write and much thought needs to go into them, (ii) requests for letters of recommendation almost always come with a short deadline.

So yes, I find it annoying to get requests (and I write a lot of such letters). But at the same time, it's part of my job, and so I'm professional about it and do as asked, rather than complain or take it out on the student. I suspect that that is true for most of my colleagues.

In other words, if you need a letter, then you need to go ahead and ask.

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