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HELP! Applying for an REU

  1. Jan 11, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm in the process of applying for an REU (undergraduate research experience).

    The application requisites call for TWO letters of recommendation from faculty members. In my excitement, I was able to obtain THREE letters of recommendation.

    - On the one hand, I don't want to appear as if I didn't read the instructions. Maybe they don't want three letters because all the other students will only submit two.​

    - On the other hand, I don't want to tell a faculty member that I don't want his/her letter any more. I would feel rude.​

    I have to submit my application via email (attached in pdf form). How can I word the email so that they don't slight me for having three letters of recommendation?

    Here's what I have right now:

    "Dear REU Selection Committee,

    I have attached my application for your consideration.

    - In my excitement, I obtained the recommendation of three faculty instead of two. I understand if you can only reference two of them in the selection process.

    Thank you,
    [My name here]
    Applied Mathematics
    University of ***** ******"
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2015 #2


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    Education Advisor

    You are worrying too much. The worst thing that will happen is they won't read the third letter. Usually it is okay to send an extra letter, it gives them more information about you. Most of the grad schools I applied to allowed me to send a fourth letter even though only three were required.
  4. Jan 11, 2015 #3
    I wouldn't say that you obtained 3 letters of recommendation due to excitement, that seems a little silly in my honest opinion (though it may be the case). Maybe just attach the best two, or don't say anything at all (I mean really, you think they aren't going to give you the REU because you gave one too many letters? LOL)
  5. Jan 11, 2015 #4
    You're right, it does sound kind of weird. Is this better?

    "I have obtained three academic letters of recommendation, instead of two. I hope this helps in assessing my ability and character."

    Note: faculty have to email their letters to the selection committee - I never see them.
  6. Jan 11, 2015 #5


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    Education Advisor

    I would just say you have an extra letter, that's it. It's a big deal.
  7. Jan 11, 2015 #6
    I think that sounds much better. Really though, unless they explicitly said "DO NOT SEND MORE THAN 2 LETTERS" (which some applications do, so look out for that), I doubt it'll be a problem.
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