Should I submit a supplemental letter of rec?Answered
I recently asked two high school teachers of mine to be my main LoR writers. But later I found out that supplemental letter of recs were a thing, and wanted to ask a professor that guided me through a research project for one as well. Would this be a good idea? One of the HS Teachers I asked was the teacher for the 'helper' class for the research I did, but she didn't see the actual research process I went through. Would this be a good idea?
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This is a good question! The answer totally depends on the schools to which you are applying. Some of them may be fine with or even encourage supplemental letters of recommendation, while others may specifically request that you not send any additional recommendations.
I could definitely see asking the three of them to write recommendation letters! At schools that allow supplemental recommendations, you might send the professor's rec letter instead of the one from the teacher for the 'helper' class, and if you need two teacher recs, you could ask someone else. Meanwhile, at schools that discourage supplemental letters of rec, you could send the letter from the teacher of the 'helper' class.
That said, really the most important thing about teacher recs is that you pick a teacher who knows your work, values you, and is truly impressed with you. If the teacher for the 'helper' class doesn't know you that well, I might just ask someone else. You can always speak about your research in your essays, of course!
In most cases, submitting supplemental material is not in the applicant’s benefit. Admissions officers receive so many applications that they spend only a small amount of time on each one. This means that supplemental material will allot less time for the rest of your application.
However, if the teacher writing your supplemental letter knows you very well or under unique circumstances, then it could help you a lot. A research project is a unique experience that allowed your teacher to see a new side of you. Your teacher would likely write an essay that would strengthen your application.
Still, it is best to avoid submitting supplemental material. Weigh your three letters. Is one of the letters that you are submitting as a regular recommendation not as strong as the one from your research project teacher would be. If this is so, then replace that letter with the new one, so you only submit two (no supplement).
If after a careful assessment you believe that all three letters would strengthen your application, then submit all three. This is perfectly okay as a last resort.
Good luck in your applications and future endeavors. Have a great day!
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